When it comes to UC migration, who is taking care of big data?
Christopher May, VP Business Development, VOSS
At VOSS we’ve been helping organizations to migrate to IP telephony and more lately to unified communications for more than ten years. We know the pain of a large complex migration, especially if not well planned or well resourced. Traditional automation helped to lower the cost and risk of migrating large numbers of users and sites to a new communication platform, but the fact remained that migrations were still largely a manual process. You just weren’t able to automate many of the steps, as every site and customer is different.
The recent development of “big data” technologies has completely changed the opportunity to automate migrations, even with significant customer differences. ETL transforms and business logic now enabled UC migration to achieve much higher levels of automation, which in turn allows many of the migration issues to be removed completely.
Here at VOSS, we spend a large amount of time telling people that the key to a successful migration is the ability to load massive amounts of data through bulk-loading processes, and then efficiently cut-over multiple sites in a highly repetitive process. But, for organizations that are in the process of transforming their UC environment, loading the data is only a relatively small part of the challenge.
For UC migrations, data sourcing and data transformation are much more of a challenge for organizations wishing to adopt UC. And, when it comes to UC migration projects for large, sophisticated enterprises, we are talking about very large amounts of data, where only a small portion of that data exists in legacy systems. For example, thousands of users will require many different configuration settings that span all of the voice, messaging, presence/IM, collaboration, video, and mobility features; not to mention the fact that users now have multiple devices, including hard, soft and smart phones. You simply can’t configure new UC services without having defined all their configuration settings….and these settings do not exist in any legacy system; they have to be created out of elements of existing data records according to certain business rules and big data ETL transforms are the best way to access this information.
VOSS solves this problem today, and our solution is being so well received by service providers and large enterprises in the migration phase of a UC deployment, we decided to enter it for Best in Show at Enterprise Connect 2014. The great news is that the judges agreed, and we have been shortlisted as finalists. The results will be announced on March 19th at the show in Orlando, so fingers crossed!
But, back to the matter in hand.
At the heart of the VOSS UC migration solution, is an on-boarding toolset that harnesses the latest technology developed for “big data”, and applies it to the UC migration project. This sophisticated ‘Extract-Transform-Load’ (ETL) data warehousing logic pulls data from multiple data sources, such as XLSX and CSV spread sheet files, PBX queries, Voicemail server queries, and LDAP/AD directories.
VOSS then uses the customizable ETL logic to transform and enrich the data, which includes cleaning the data against an accurate “source of record”, and normalizing the records where data from different sources has to be aggregated (e.g. the PBX data may not correspond accurately with the voicemail data). The data can then undergo the necessary transformation process to create the new configuration data to support the new UC features such as mobility, presence, video, collaboration and social.
In the process of gathering this massive amount of non-trivial configuration data, VOSS allows customers (or their systems integrators) to stage and view the fully transformed data in a web portal, where it can be filtered and edited online. Various access profiles can be created to allow end-customers to be able to self-edit their own data safely.
VOSS then automates the batch-loading of locations and all user and phone services via direct API-loading into the new UC platform. Use of API-loading allows 100% tracking of provisioning transaction successes and failures, and fast fixing and reloading of any failed steps.
As a result, UC customers can be migrated significantly faster, by smaller, more productive deployment teams. In addition, there is an overall improvement in data accuracy, which significantly reduces project risk and decreases re-work costs, whilst improving customer satisfaction levels.
Our customers believe that the VOSS UC migration solution revolutionizes the way they are able to approach a complex UC deployment. At every stage of the migration process, VOSS provides a faster and less complex migration solution that directly reduces the cost and risk of adopting UC services.
The financial benefits are easily measured in terms of reduced total project time and total project cost, migration cost per seat, and savings by way of minimized support calls and lower error costs.
From an end customer perspective, users can make use of the new UC features and capabilities sooner, while increasing their own business productivity, when they are brought on-board without complications.