Unified Communications (UC) management requires obtaining both visibility into application performance, as well as the managing of day-to-day administrative tasks including provisioning, inventory management, and moves, adds, changes, and deletions. Absent specialized tools to support these requirements, UC management is largely a manual process requiring extensive (and expensive) resources and time.
Unfortunately, many organizations still operate their UC platforms without adopting UC-specific performance and administration management tools. In our latest Cost-Benefit Analysis: Workplace Collaboration and Contact Center 2020-21 global study of 564 organizations across Australia, Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia, we found that just 29% of participants use UC management platforms to support day-to-day operations. A plurality of 42% only rely on the capabilities provided to them by their on-premises UC vendor or cloud-based UCaaS provider. Additionally, 37% only use their existing network management tools to monitor voice performance, but lack any capabilities for optimizing UC administration.
1/ What happens if you don’t use a provisioning tool?
Without such tools, IT staffs face numerous potential issues including:
- Inability to proactively identify and quickly troubleshoot performance-related issues
- Reliance on manual, costly, and more error-prone manual processes for initial provisioning and on-going management rather than automated provisioning that frees engineer time to focus on more strategic activities
- Inability to delegate tasks to local administrators, leading to increased operational costs
- Lack of reliable asset management for devices including phones and headsets
- No integration of UC provisioning with workflows for on-boarding and off-boarding employees as they join and leave the organization
- No means to distribute administrative tasks to lines of business
- Limited provide self-service capabilities to enable employees to make changes to their own profiles, or to perform tasks such as password resets
- Potential inability to provision services in accordance with security, compliance, and governance policies
- In multi-vendor environments, no ability to create a consistent approach to administrative management across all platforms and a need to learn and operate within separate vendor-specific administration environments (e.g. Microsoft PowerShell)
2/ Consequences also on the ROI
As noted, the lack of UC management tools comes at a cost. Nemertes’ data shows that organizations who have adopted specialty tools for UC management spend on average $933 per endpoint per year in operational costs, versus $1,303 for those who only use the administration tools available from their UC platform provider.
We also find a correlation between investment in UC management tools and ROI on UC spending. Those with the highest UC ROI (in terms of measurable improvements in productivity, lower operating costs, and/or demonstrable revenue improvements) spend 49% more on UC administration tools than those with below average, or no ROI. The data is clear: Investing in UC administration tools not only reduces OpEx, but is correlated with a positive ROI for overall UC spend. This is especially true as organizations have increasingly shift to work-from-home environments that require rapid provisioning of users at new locations.
In addition, UC administration tools are increasingly being used for more than just provisioning of telephones. Our success group, again defined as those with the highest ROI for their UC spend, manage on average about 3.2 apps with their specialty tools, versus 2.4 for those with lower or no success. Individual apps include not just voice, but video conferencing, team collaboration, instant messaging, and contact center services.
Optimizing UC management provides demonstrable opportunities to reduce operational expenses, deployment time, and achieve the highest levels of business value by maximizing end-user satisfaction. Consider adopting UC administrative tools as part of your overall strategy to streamline administrative management tasks.
By Irwin Lazar