Unified Communications (UC) systems are large and complex features of most modern organizations.
They require skilled individuals to design, deploy, and maintain; they are expensive, and time and resource consuming. But, their steady and efficient operation is essential to the business.
Is this something we just have to live with, or is there a way to lessen the impact of UC on the company budget, hours and skilled staff?
Delegation – giving the authority and responsibility to less skilled (and less costly) employees to perform specific UC tasks – can help you.
1. Which UC tasks can we delegate?
In the lifecycle of a UC system:
- Day-0 work – designing and building the system
- Day-1 work – migrating endpoints and applications onto the system, are best left to the specialists.
- Day-2 work – the day-to-day administration and operation of the UC system – is where the recurring tasks that are candidates for delegation occur. These are the moves, adds, changes, and deletes (MACD) that form a large part of the work required on a UC system. Also found in this day-2 work are low-value tasks related to users (like call forward management, password reset, presence status, mobility settings, and phone remote control). You can delegate these too.
2. Why should we delegate these tasks?
I said the MACD tasks make up a large part of a UC system’s work; that’s probably an understatement.
The numbers and drudgery of these ongoing tasks can easily overwhelm and dishearten a small highly skilled engineering team.
Additionally, necessary turnaround times for some of the low-value end-user tasks cannot be met by a ticketing system queuing jobs.
There is a need to shift some of the UC workloads from the engineers to help-desk staff, local administrators, HR assistants, and end-users.
And who, given the right tools, are quite capable of performing these tasks and sometimes better positioned to do so.
Delegation spreads the UC workload among more people; it frees up valuable IT workers (saving money) to concentrate on more specialized and demanding issues where their skills are put to better use.
3. How do we delegate these tasks?
Automated UC provisioning is key!
It is fundamental to have a system that eliminates human error and also ensures the integrity of your UC to delegating UC tasks to non-expert staff.
This system must ensure a task meets all dependencies, creates no conflicts, leaves no orphaned elements, and provides a comprehensive audit trail.
Workflow templates, created by UC engineers, contain the critical elements for successful task execution, and guide operators – with prompts and validations – through data entry. The system ultimately does the provisioning – according to the template.
Non-technical staff should not make changes to the underlying structures of a UC system (such as adding, removing, or modifying IP PBXs, gateways, or voicemail and contact center servers).
Role-based access control (RBAC) should, therefore, limit the tasks they are able to perform; engineers can make this as fine-grained as needed; delegating only specific tasks to each role.
For low-value tasks, not likely to compromise the system, and mainly related to a user, delegation can be accomplished with an end-user self-care product.
An interface to a limited set of tasks an end-user can perform to control and manipulate their UC environment.
In addition to the above, there is the possibility of auto (zero-touch) provisioning – delegation of UC tasks to software – whereby a change in one part of the system automatically triggers the tasks needed to maintain integrity. The system may then submit these workflows for approval or execute them directly.
For instance, adding a user entry to a directory application can generate the workflows to add that user to the call control and voicemail servers.
This is more accurately described as automation but achieves the same result – relieving skilled IT staff from performing mundane recurring UC tasks – as delegation does.
In conclusion, the ability delegate UC tasks to staff who have little technical UC knowledge or understanding is not simply a nice-to-have feature that can save time and money, and it is a necessity for a smooth functioning and efficient UC system.
Kurmi Software designed and built its products, Kurmi Unified Provisioning, and Kurmi Unified Selfcare, with these needs in mind; they offer the UC management team the ability and peace of mind to safely delegate certain of their UC tasks to staff in other teams.