• Technology

Automating UC Provisioning: What You Need To Know

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 6 min read
Automating UC Provisioning: What You Need To Know

Intro

Across different industries, companies rely on unified communication (UC) platforms with different features. Those include voice calling, video conferencing, and instant messaging for seamless collaboration. It also helps drive workforce productivity and conduct business through a streamlined interface.

To employees, the experience is effortless because they have the right tools and devices. It all just falls into place for them but you can’t say the same for the UC team. The UC team is responsible for manually provisioning and monitoring those tools.

Manual UC provisioning is anything but effortless and IT personnel spend countless hours doing it. They also deprovision and monitor legacy UC tools and services every time an employee onboards. They do it when the employee switches roles, leaves the company, or has a support issue.

Not to mention, since the implementation of hybrid work models, there’s been an additional strain on UC teams. Therefore, large businesses shifted to automation platforms to provide benefits for their UC teams too. Let’s go over how UC came to be and how its automation gives benefits all parties involved.

What is Unified Communications (UC) Provisioning?

UC provisioning and tracking is a process that ensures UC tools are functioning at optimal capacity. Monitoring their usage is often performed by IT staff or UC service providers. They help ensure that UC apps are always available and in top shop shape. With how many companies used it, you can imagine how busy IT staff became in hybrid work environments.

User provisioning software helps firms manage and track user accounts in UC management. Used with other software, it includes identity management and access control systems. The software can help companies automate the process of auditing user accounts.

This process helps the IT staff save time and effort, increasing productivity and uptime. Hence, it’s called automated user provisioning because they don’t need to check individual accounts manually. The IT staff is given accurate data, on what they need to troubleshoot, so they only need to help with urgent matters.

The software also helps companies improve security and aid in troubleshooting user-related issues. Hence, firms can gain valuable insight into user activity which helps in marketing strategies.

What is the History of Unified Communications?

What is the History of Unified Communications? (Source: Pexels)

Understanding one’s history will help you find out more about its meaning and etymology. Even tools have their origins and how they helped an industry succeed. They say that words came about arbitrarily so how did the term “unified communications” come to be?

In the 1980s, there was a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) telephone system that most companies used. Local phone companies offered and managed those with analog lines that routed calls from the central office to the customer.

By the 1990s, emails became more widespread and businesses opted for Internet Protocol (IP) based networks. There were also developments in voice technology known as Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems. They’re known to transmit voice traffic across data networks. Their popularity and cost-effectiveness led to the decline of traditional PBX systems.

The advancement of IP telephony allowed for phones to live on the same network as computers which opened more possibilities. Thinking of advanced integration between computers and phones led to the idea of “Unified Messaging”. This includes streamlined voicemail, email, and other text-based messaging systems.

In the 2000s, the demand for IP telephony led to the modification of traditional PBX phone systems. They created circuit packs that could connect the phone system to an IP network. Others made equipment that allowed voice calls in company networks to connect to multiple locations. At some point, UC solutions evolved with the integration of real-time communication services.

By the 2010s, Microsoft released the major player in the business communications space, Lync. There were many options but Lync integrated best with the environment that most companies used.

Cloud technologies evolved and a new model called Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) emerged. UCaaS became more mainstream and the provision of UC services shifted to the Cloud. Cloud-based UCaaS reduces capital expenditures associated with deploying traditional VoIP systems.

At this point, UC systems have become automated which means the IT staff doesn’t need to manage everything manually. The system can take care of most core tasks and ensure your employees working from home have a smooth experience. And the IT staff is only needed to troubleshoot any issues that crop up within the system.

6 Automated Unified Communications Benefits

6 Automated Unified Communications Benefits (Source: Pexels)

1. Automation is Cost-Effective

A business will always find ways and jump at chances to reduce its costs. One of these areas is the automation of their UC systems. By automating the provisioning and tracking of their UC systems, they can save more money. It will remove the possibility of human error and the need for manual processes.

Earlier, we mentioned how IT staff were overworked in managing UC systems since the shift in work environments. As a company, you have to pay the IT staff and increase their benefits. That way, they’re properly compensated for all the trouble they’re managing for you. However, automating your UC provisioning lightens their workload which saves you costs.

2. It Improves the Company’s Efficiency and Productivity

Automation has been a hot topic for various industries recently, accompanied by several questions. Will automation replace workers or will it only make the workload lighter? In the realm of SEO, there are keyword finders and SERP checkers that assist them in their jobs. And when they’re dealing with backlinks, they have backlink checkers and monitors.

One thing’s for sure, tools and automation will improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace. Essentially, automation is appealing because it helps companies boost their bottom line.

By automating processes, firms can free up valuable resources that can be allocated elsewhere. That way, you can focus on improving your company’s products and services. For example, because they have more time, your staff can meet and suggest improvements. And you can fit the process until its accomplishment into your schedules.

Regardless, automation is a proven solution that can help your company save and compete in the market. It’s been done by companies across different industries so it won’t hurt to try it too.

3. You’ll Get Greater Visibility Into Your Network

Traditional UC monitoring gives siloed views into applications, but modern monitoring is different. Its platforms enable IT staff to have a holistic view of their UC environment. That way, they have a better understanding of the overall health of their systems. If you need to check in on your company’s SEO health, Ranktracker has the tool to help.

From that point, they can dive into the different applications, office locations, and specific employees. Then, they can automate reporting and identify trends based on that data. This capability is helpful when capacity planning and right-sizing software licensing.

For example, your company found that it can reduce the number of telecommunication lines in its offices. It’s because more employees opted to work from home but that means you need to increase licensing. You’ll also have to increase the capacity for external access in this setup.

4. Automation can Help You Scale

Being able to scale is vital for growth in the business world. And automation is one of the most effective ways to do it. As mentioned earlier, automating processes helps companies free resources. And it allows them to allocate those resources elsewhere, giving room for improvement.

Provisioning automation also helps companies level up processes best suited for business. It can range from simple jobs to complex processes, like data entry and marketing. It hardly matters what area of business it is because almost anything can be automated now. And that means there are more ways to help achieve your goals.

5. Automation Reduces Risk and Minimizes Errors

With traditional provisioning, there’s a high chance that IT staff will make manual configuration errors. They might also accidentally select the wrong settings when there are many steps within complex platforms.

But UC teams can simplify this experience and create standardized policies by automating the UC. Those policies help prevent human errors and drive consistency across employee roles. They also ensure that devices are correctly provisioned with the correct applications and tools.

Being able to mitigate risk is important in the public sector and other highly regulated industries. For example, financial services and healthcare need to meet strict compliance standards. After all, providing the wrong access to an employee or ex-employee in those industries can be disastrous.

6. Automation Enhances Employee Experience

The rise of hybrid work means more employees are working beyond the office which requires UC tools. Otherwise, the remote collaboration won’t be seamless and employees will have a low-quality experience. But with increased visibility and automated reporting, IT staff can monitor those tools.

They can keep an eye on hardware and hypervisors to ensure that voice and video call quality is consistent. This will prevent disruption to the tasks and experience of the digital employee. But if something does go wrong, modern UC monitoring platforms make it easier for the team to troubleshoot.

For example, the IT staff can do a synthetic traffic test to simulate employee activity. That way, they can determine the source of the problem whether it’s about bandwidth or latency. There are many problems they can identify beside the given examples.

Conclusion

The idea of a unified communications system goes way back and it has evolved into what it is now. Technological developments keep making tools better and life more convenient for employees. Before hybrid workspaces became a norm, IT staff didn’t have a problem keeping UC provisions manual. But now, it’s extremely stressful to manage everything manually, hence the dawn of automation.

Many benefits come from automated user provisioning and provisioning software as a whole. For example, it’s cost-effective and it increases efficiency and productivity at work. You’ll also have better insight into your network which helps reduce the risk of errors. And all of this helps enhance the digital employee experience so their work will go smoothly. All the while, automation helps your company’s growth scale, ensuring you keep up with the competition.

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