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What's New in Cisco HCS 10.6? A VOSS Perspective

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What's New in Cisco HCS 10.6? A VOSS Perspective

Bill Dellara

I was delighted to see the official announcement of Cisco HCS 10.6 this week. It's not just Cisco that has been busy; a new HCS release means a lot of work from the VOSS team as well, to design, test and deliver the required enhancements to the VOSS UC management platform; known as CUCDM (Cisco Unified Communications Domain Manager) in Cisco HCS.

2015 has been a big year for CUCDM. In March we announced the general availability of CUCDM 10.1.2, known in the industry as the cloud communications "game changer". This was a major milestone for VOSS and Cisco, as it was the first iteration of VOSS' entirely re-architected UC domain manager.

The re-architected CUCDM introduced 5 core principles to improve delivery of the latest unified communications services and devices, within an efficient and low cost cloud model, while finally breaking the concept of "one-size-fits-all". These included customizable design, standardized deployment and operations, agility, advanced service management, and the lowest total cost of ownership.

So what's new in CUCDM 10.6?

Building on the success of CUCDM 10.1.2, in this release, our key feature enhancements focus on administration and self-service.

Administration

You'll be pleased to read that CUCDM 10.6 has been updated to support all the new feature and functions included in the recently released Cisco UC apps releases (10.5.2).

Bulk administration capabilities have undergone some significant improvements, to make completing bulk tasks in Cisco HCS even easier. For example:

  • The ability to export populated spreadsheet loaders based on existing data, allowing you to model additional users on an existing setup and also provide the basic data for a bulk modify load.
  • The ability to specify a configuration template to use with a bulk loader. By introducing the portal concept to the loaders there is now a powerful way to simplify and reduce the amount of data input required in the bulk loaders, saving time and considerably increasing usability.
  • The ability to load and schedule bulk loaders, to provide more flexibility in execution.

We're pleased to announce that CUCDM 10.6 supports localization in both the administration and self-service interfaces; a set of language packs are available for self-service and these can be installed and released independently of product releases.

We've also listened to - and incorporated - feedback from a number of HCS partners and early adopters around usability, to improve the operational use of the CUCDM platform.

This has resulted in a number of overall usability improvements to the CUCDM GUI, as well as changes to some of the workflows and template adaptation tools to improve the operational experience and make administrators' lives even easier. Some highlights here include:

  • The ability to edit and re-submit a failed transaction without needing to start over and re-enter all the data making it far quicker and easier to correct errors.
  • More powerful search and filtering capabilities around the list views providing the ability to apply multiple filters simultaneously to make finding data in the system easier and faster than ever.

We continue to focus on the foundational elements of the system, such as security and performance, to ensure we continue to improve in these areas. Some highlights from this activity for this release include:

  • Security - user credential policies in CUCDM 10.6 enable granular controls around the rules applied to user credentials.
  • Performance – there have been general improvements across the system such as provisioning performance (for example up to 25% improvements for subscriber provisioning), as well as other areas such as GUI navigation responses, device sync performance, and bulk load processing.

Self-service

At VOSS, we see a huge difference between reactive end use "self-care" and proactive "self-service". The CUCDM end user portal is most certainly a self-service interface and we have worked hard to introduce more new features in CUCDM 10.6.

Administrators now benefit from improved flexibility, allowing the end user interface to be tailored to specific requirements, such as changing field labels and online help text. This ensures administrators have control over the access that the end users have while also giving them the tools to ensure the best usability by providing environment specific help and naming conventions.

The self-service portal also expanded to cover additional services and attributes in this release including:

  • Expanded personal phones (SNR) settings management, including schedules, per line controls, and timers.
  • Expanded unified messaging settings include alternate extension, caller input, and notifications.
  • Busy lamp field is now supported, alongside traditional speed dials and also now include user feedback on phone button appearance.
  • Additional endpoint settings, which incorporate "do not disturb" settings and Hunt Group Login/out.

We have enhanced password management, by integrating the credential policy rules, including a password strength meter, and recovery capabilities.

Finally, the bulk action capability allows end users to dynamically apply setting(s) across multiple devices and lines making it far easier and faster to coordinate settings across multiple devices.

How can the VOSS Global Services team help?

At VOSS, we recognize that customer designs needed to be more agile, while still not sacrificing the product scalability required to support extensive deployments and operations. Device and service configuration templates, along with advanced dial plan models, could now be adapted by VOSS design teams, but within an advanced CUCDM framework that still enables the customer on-boarding process to be fully automated, while staying within the Cisco HCS support structure.

VOSS is highly skilled in rapidly adapting CUCDM data and device models, configuration templates, orchestration workflows and IT integrations, all within the highly agile, core product framework, to better match your business requirements.

The adaptation of CUCDM will not only increase the level of end to end automation of your operational processes, genuinely lowering your TCO, but it will also allow your communications platform to be much more dynamic. The ability to introduce new services or improve features will be much easier, faster and can be achieved in the knowledge that these business changes can be incorporated into the companies standard operational use cases without the need for manual workarounds.

To learn more about VOSS Adaptation Services or to find out how to transition to CUCDM 10.X, please get in touch.