Here’s Why UC Provisioning Makes Your IT Staff Groan

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On a scale of 1-10, how happy are your IT professionals right now? Admittedly, that could change depending on what’s happening with your business at the moment. However, if you’re going through a systems upgrade with new technology, your IT person is going to be one of the real backbones for the process. They’ll help to make that transition as smooth as possible. Indeed, much of that comes down to Unified Communications or UC provisioning. If you’re not sure what that is, you’re in good company.

For the laymen, IT professionals can appear like magicians. Meanwhile, at other times you’re left wondering if they’re actual worth the expense. Shows like The IT Crowd certainly don’t extend a level of confidence that your IT department is worth it. But trust us; having skilled IT professionals on call is necessary. And one of the things that may be driving them up the wall on a regular basis is provisioning.

What is Provisioning?

At the most basic level, provisioning is what occurs when your IT professionals are preparing your new technology and network systems. Provisioning covers a wide variety of scenarios. Quote often, this includes network provisioning where the entire network is planned and built from the ground up. However, it can also include UC provisioning. This is where your IT professionals are working to prepare a UC system for all of the active and future users.

If you’re like 60% of small business owners, chances are you’re not handling those technology implementations yourself. The word “provisioning” may then be something you’ve heard about, but not something you actually understand. It’s not entirely simple, either, but as a whole concept, it’s something everyone can grasp. No network or communications system completely sets itself up. Even the most sophisticated systems require some amount of human effort on the backend, not only to provision, or set up the system when first implemented, but continuously over the course of its lifecycle.

For example, when your business either gets new employees or upgrades to technology, such as purchasing a host of new IP phones, computers, mobile devices or even upgrading to a new unified communications system, all of your devices will need to be set up, or “provisioned”. Depending on the size of your business, or the number of incoming employees, this can be an extremely timely affair for your IT professional.

What makes UC provisioning so difficult?

The real problem with UC provisioning is how many moving parts are involved in the setup process. Provisioning a single piece of software or a single type of hardware for use with an established network can be time-consuming, but less complicated. But UC provisioning demands much more from the IT staff. UC provisioning involves setting up an entirely new system spanning mobile devices such as phones and tablets, IP phones, conference and telepresence equipment, laptops, desktops, email clients, collaboration tools and more. The list of what gets included in a UC environment only seems to be growing as more and newer technologies become adopted. What resources users want for productivity and communication only seem to increase with time.

According to akkadian labs, IT activities like UC provisioning can take 30 minutes per user with some systems. That’s on a good day when you haven’t tasked your IT professionals with building out an entirely new architecture. All told, UC provisioning can be a bit of a gargantuan task, even for the most capable IT professionals.

How to Ease the Provisioning Pain

Just as valuable as UC provisioning is to your business, making the process easier for professionals is also necessary–especially if you want to help keep your own IT crowd from getting spending too much time on the process. Thankfully, Cisco’s UC can be more easily provisioned using a variety of useful tools. That includes the akkadian Console Operator, which can help bring down those provisioning times to under 10 minutes, and at times even down to 5 minutes per user.

Cisco UCS also offers the ability to provide self-service provisioning, further reducing operating costs and freeing up your IT professionals to accomplish other more pressing needs.

Fidelus is a leader in helping businesses set up UC systems, including handling the sometimes arduous UC provisioning tasks. Whether you have an in-house IT staff or need those services accomplished for you, Fidelus can help make the process easier for everyone involved.

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