In 2020, one in five companies plans to deploy a new set of communications and collaboration tools to help them with the development of a more collaborative work space (1). It’s also important to mention that growth in the number of remote employees (17% are teleworking (2)) will impact the ways in which companies communicate. So the deployment, provisioning, and management of this type of solution, with all the different components of a typical Unified Communications and Collaboration Ecosystem, could take center stage in the decision on how best to commit a company’s resources.
When we discuss Unified Communications and Collaborative software, it’s easy to forget how complex and uneven the management and provisioning of these solutions can get. Creating, modifying, and deleting users and configurations from the different platforms can become a challenge, even when deploying solutions from a single vendor, often requiring a level of expertise that impacts the bottom line.
Typically, each communications or collaborative solution will have its own administrative interface or software, allowing for a variety of platform-specific configurations and requiring different levels of expertise. For example, a voicemail solution will have its own database and require a dedicated provisioning action for each voicemail being set up, regardless of how the same users are configured on a different platform; while an Active Directory will have its own, separate, and very different interface, without the worry of choosing a voicemail configuration for the users it manages.
As pointed out by Bruno Guirardel, Head of Products at Kurmi Software (a provisioning software for the administration of collaborative Unified Communications tools): “behind the Unified Communications tools, there’s a puzzle of disparate solutions. I don’t know of a single vendor who can provide a Unified Communications solution that includes 100% of all possible services.”
The admin tools are here
The result of this technical and functional diversity? Provisioning turns out to be a real headache.
An administrator who’s creating a new user has to interact with several administration platforms, which can be complicated. It’s also hard to delegate these operations to non-experts, since relationships between platforms can create even more complexity. Adding to this, providers of Unified Communications solutions and collaborative tools don’t just offer one interface for administering their tools. Nor do they manage other publishers’ interfaces. So in practice, creating a user and assigning them all of the services available and required for their job can take between 15 and 30 minutes of human effort! The time spent on these repetitive operations is a cost for the company, and these experts could be working on more relevant projects. Lastly, the human aspect of these operations can generate a risk of error which should also be taken into account (a misspelled name has repercussions throughout the databases, impacting terminal display, voicemail greeting, caller ID, or directory search).
These challenges in administering and provisioning collaborative Unified Communications tools are the reason Kurmi Software was born. “Our goal,” says Guirardel, “is to make these solutions easier to manage and deploy, and optimize their use.” With automated provisioning, employees end up with quicker access to the tools they need to do their jobs, which means a real return on investment for the company.
But what exactly do we mean by automation? How far can a software like Kurmi Unified Provisioning go? Beyond the management of each of the different platforms that make up a typical Unified Communications and Collaboration solution, and their interdependencies, Kurmi also enables integration with ITSM (IT Service Management) solutions such as ServiceNow, so that every employee’s data is collected directly from these applications – creating a complete workflow that integrates the business process with the tools it requires. This eliminates the need for manual entry, reducing the risk of error and saving quite a bit of time. Kurmi software can also be integrated with different kinds of business directories, so a user can be provisioned and ready in a matter of seconds. With Kurmi, you can manage all types of Unified Communications solutions, whether on Premise (with traditional IPBX), hosted in the cloud (Office 365), or a combination. And you can take control of all the associated services.
Specific features of the operator's job
While large companies have a great interest in using this type of provisioning solution, service providers and operators can also benefit from it, as they’re exposed to the exact same challenge as their end customers: managing a complex Unified Communications and Collaboration Ecosystem.
With their UCaaS packages, operators rely on a set of solutions (Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya, etc.) to address their target market. So it’s critical for an operator to be able to simplify product and service management without having to switch between different administrative tools. That’s how Kurmi can provide significant impact on the operator’s time-to-market and operating costs. In addition, a solution like Kurmi will also help reduce customer onboarding by simplifying the creation and deployment of a new location. Kurmi helps operators capitalize on their know-how by optimizing their business procedures.
(1) Source: TechTarget IT Priorities 2019
(2) Source: Government report
The complexity and diversity of a typical Unified Communications and Collaboration Ecosystem can create a burden for companies and Service Providers, increasing the resources and time needed to maintain such solutions. Kurmi Software offers the expertise and tools to simplify, automate, and improve the efficiency of those systems. This means companies can focus their resources on their core activities.