An introduction to UC provisioning and UC fulfillment
Unified communications (UC) improves inter-company collaboration, fueling efficiency. But, when it comes to UC, organizations are faced with at least three dimensions to navigate: UC applications, multiple vendor options, and multiple network elements. Every organization needs a provisioning engine to control all of the moving parts in this UC environment, to make it all work in a unified way. UC needs automation and administration to support its complex needs. Some people call this UC provisioning; others call this UC fulfillment; others call this UC management. No matter the name, UC simply cannot function without it.
Making UC Work
There are some essential processes and elements that are required to make a UC environment work, in order to deliver the capabilities expected by an organization
- A dial plan to route call flows in the system and to external interfaces (e.g. PSTN)
- Integration of multiple UC applications to provide the required services
- Initial provisioning of the UC applications and devices to implement the chosen design
- Development of the business processes and procedure to deliver services to users
- Ongoing Moves, Adds, Changes, and Disposal of services (MACDs)
- Migration of an existing environment to UC demands careful consideration with regard to how existing business processes and systems will integrate into the new solution.
As the list above outlines, there is a wide range of requirements and complexities involved in deploying and operating an effective UC environment. This is where UC management tools that provide automation and simplification of these tasks are key to a cost-effective UC environment.
Options for UC Provisioning and UC Fulfillment
When it comes to provisioning a UC environment, there are two approaches that an organization might consider:
- A manual path: Highly skilled engineers carry out the UC provisioning tasks manually. This is a difficult model to scale, and can be quite expensive in terms of man power.
- An automated path which has two options:
- A basic level of UC provisioning and UC fulfillment, which caters for simple workflows and a limited set of UC applications
- An end-to-end UC provisioning or UC fulfillment solution, which covers all dimensions of the UC environment
- Basic Level Provisioning / Fulfillment
Standard provisioning applications can support UC implementations by providing automated processes for deployments, and limited operational functionality for basic administration tasks, such as additions or changes. These provisioning / fulfillment tools help speed up basic administration of subscriber moves, adds, and changes. The overall aim is to lower day-to-day operational costs by reducing the need for skilled resources to operate voice and messaging applications. This is done by simplifying the delegation of UC services and managing workflows. This automation also reduces errors allowing focus on higher value activities.
- End-to-End Provisioning / Fulfillment
A deeper level of UC provisioning or fulfillment provides integrated management and full automation over the complete lifecycle of a UC platform. The covers management of the design phase, through deployment, through operational day-to-day MACD delegation and management, as well as on-going upgrade and maintenance.
Included in these management systems is the ability to introduce advanced automation to the administration of the dial plan and the entire UC infrastructure suite of applications and devices. This can range from workflows for the creation and mapping of network elements through to the deployment and management of users with their devices and services. This is all supported with a flexible access control mechanism to ensure different user types can access and work with the system according to their privileges and capabilities. The end result is an agile and flexible UC platform that can quickly respond to change.
The main advantage of end-to-end UC provisioning and UC fulfillment is that it truly offers an overall management experience with extensive and flexible automation and simplification. This drives the ability to deliver the extensive benefits and lower costs of management throughout the UC platform lifecycle, and it makes UC work.
Read more: An Enterprise Guide to UC Management
Want to know more?