FCAPS Now Applies to Advanced Workplace Communications
October 19, 2021
Christopher May, Co-Founder, VOSS Solutions
In the early 1980s, the term FCAPS was introduced by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to cover systems management. FCAPS was primarily focused on the operational management systems for network and IT frameworks.
FCAPS is an acronym for the following operational systems:
- Fault management
- Configuration management
- Accounting management
- Performance management
- Security management
The whole purpose for ISO’s FCAPS initiative was based on everyone understanding that the full suite of FCAPS was necessary to maintain your IT and network systems to a high level.
What about workplace communications?
FCAPS was never considered relevant to unified communications (UC) and collaboration because it was always too complicated to enable the full FCAPS suite. Networks/IT have 10-20 settings to configure, whereas UC has thousands of settings, covering multiple applications, each with multiple features. Individual management tools have been created for UC, but no one has been able to create a fully integrated FCAPS suite of management tools for workplace communications to date.
But all of that has now changed with UC as a Service (UCaaS).
UCaaS providers (e.g. RingCentral, 8×8, Fuze, etc.) are now offering the full FCAPS suite of management tools, all from a single web portal, to enable their customers to better manage and monitor their entire communications services. Even Cisco recently announced their own suite of FCAPS management tools via the Webex Calling Control Hub.
However, the problem today with FCAPS for UCaaS is that it only covers the single vendor and “one-size-fits-all” model, without feature parity (i.e. the UCaaS portals are for basic configuration which don’t cover the more advanced UC settings).
Whether you are a hospital, or a bank, or a manufacturer, or a university, or a retail organization, or a government agency, the current UCaaS solutions offer you a “one-size-fits-all” solution that cannot be customized to your specific vertical industry requirements. For example:
- A hospital may want different settings between the emergency department and regular wards … but sorry, they cannot make this configuration through the UCaaS portal, or even get the UCaaS provider to manually make the customization.
- A retailer may want an advanced workflow to enable potential customers to be automatically linked to a relevant tradesman to install their new product … but sorry, new operational workflows cannot be added to the UCaaS platform.
- A university may want contractors to be added and deleted from the UCaaS system during the annual demand cycle, while retaining each contractor’s numbers and settings (i.e. not having to give each contractor a new number each time they re-join the organization) … but sorry, this is not possible with the current UCaaS providers.
- A government agency may need a more efficient process to monitor call rates and convert appropriate employees (with the correct skills-group classification) into contact centre agents to meet rising call demand from customers. To do this manually today on your UCaaS/CCaaS platforms is a multi-step process and can take many hours; which cannot be fully automated.
- Many large banks would like to enable their ITSM ticketing system (e.g. ServiceNow) to automatically trigger both IT and UC configuration (FCAPS) through a single ticket, covering multi-vendor environments (i.e. Traditional UC vendor, plus Microsoft-Teams or Zoom collaboration). For example, on-boarding a new employee shouldn’t need multiple tickets … why can’t a single ticket be created from HR? Unfortunately, UCaaS providers cannot enable complex UC workflow processes to be triggered from ITSM. They assume the ticket will always be sent to a help-desk and multiple tasks will be assigned to multiple engineers.
And there are many, many more examples for each and every vertical industry … “one-size” does not fit all!
Which is why the current UCaaS platforms work reasonably well for small to medium sized businesses (i.e. in any industry … where they are happy with a more standardized approach), but it doesn’t work for large, complex organizations that have specific communication requirements to meet their unique industry needs.
The good news is the ISO FCAPS is absolutely now available for advanced vertical industry organizations for both IT/network and UC, following our recent acquisition of LayerX.
More complex organizations can now acquire the full FCAPS management tools for their own multi-vendor, hybrid cloud UC environment by using the VOSS FCAPS suite of tools:
Fault management – VOSS ensures that call quality issues and/or network faults can be more easily identified, more effectively “trouble-shot” to isolate the cause, and issues more quickly and efficiently resolved … across all multi-vendor and hybrid-cloud communication and collaboration tools (including working from home practices).
Configuration management – VOSS provides feature parity for its configuration management, with advanced role-based access to allow non-technical administrators to perform basic moves, add and changes; while technical engineers can access the advanced features and settings to perform design optimizations. VOSS also introduces “zero-touch” workflows for configuration and management, automating mundane day-to-day admin tasks and complex multi-step workflows, to remove the risk of manual error and to free skilled staff to work on more challenging projects. What’s more, this zero-touch configuration can also be fully triggered from a single ITSM ticket.
Accounting management – VOSS provides full data feeds to your accounting system, all based on your organization’s hierarchy to enable to you effectively track costs against budget for each region, business unit, location, or sub-department. Optimization of licenses utilization can also easily be achieved through manipulation of linking standalone devices to users.
Performance management – VOSS gives actionable intelligence into the UC platform, helping organizations visualize and actively manage the quality and performance of their communications and collaboration services. Importantly, utilization rates can also be monitored through advanced analytics to ensure that adoption rates are meeting expectations.
Security management – VOSS provides advanced log analytics of network and UC devices as well as NetFlow analytics of the data traffic flows across each step of the network. These two compelling data acquisition and processing capabilities enable potential security issues to be rapidly identified and warnings generated for the organization.
With the proliferation of digital workplace technology, with multiple UC and UCaaS vendors jostling for your business, and with an increasingly remote workforce to support, your UC platform will need to constantly evolve to meet business needs. Importantly, the FCAPS management suite will also need to evolve to match the changing requirements of the underlying UC systems. Your FCAPS tools must be up to the challenge of supporting this ever-changing business environment … again, something that UCaaS providers cannot do today, but VOSS Solutions can absolutely provide a highly agile FCAPS framework.
At the heart of the VOSS technology is a highly agile middleware framework. Traditional FCAPS systems hard-code all the management logic, whereas VOSS fully abstracts the business, operational and portal elements from the hard-coded product framework. This approach unlocks unprecedented levels of flexibility for your business in a matter of weeks, without the need for a new product release (which can take 12 months).
What does this mean for your large, complex, organization?
Whatever the size of your organization, whatever vertical you operate in, and however complex your digital workplace environment, the VOSS suite is highly flexible so it can adapt to your business environment, address your specific business drivers, and evolve as your business grows.
VOSS is the only FCAPS provider for the UC and IT environment, with support for multi-vendor, hybrid-cloud, and full feature parity; and with the ability to integrate totally with enterprise IT systems, such as ITSM, HR, accounting, etc. But more importantly, VOSS is the only FCAPS provider with a highly agile framework to allow for rapid changes to the operational workflows and UC effectiveness.
VOSS is seen as a real game-changer for large, complex, organizations who are looking to transform their business operations and achieve significant competitive advantage.
Contact us to find out more.