Managing Unified Communications and Lego Bricks: Drawing Parallels

Mike Frayne, CEO, VOSS Solutions
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Mike Frayne, CEO, VOSS Solutions

Many of us enjoyed playing with Lego®, building bricks when we were kids. Back then, you'd buy a box of Lego and let your imagination run wild. Have you ever tried to buy Lego bricks recently; for your kids or maybe your grandkids? You may have noticed that it has changed quite a lot. Nowadays, you mostly find pre-packaged, organized kits that remove some of the complexity but allow you to achieve amazing results. You want to build a pirate ship? Here are the exact pieces and the step-by-step instructions. You want a fairytale castle? Let us show you, piece-by-piece, how to put the pink bricks together!

So let’s turn our attention to the unified communications industry, increasingly referred to in the broader term as business communications. In order for a business communications environment to run efficiently and effectively, a set of operational management tools or capabilities are required. This is called a Business Communications Operations Management (BCOM)solution. In the “good old days”, if you wanted a BCOM solution, you built it yourself, brick by brick, more or less without an instruction leaflet . It was home grown, very painstaking to create, completely unique, and maybe a bit clunky too.  

Today, much in the same way that Lego has evolved, so has BCOM. A modern day BCOM solution takes the pain away from building your business communications platform. A BCOM solution allows you to dictate what you want to build, what you want your business communications environment to look like, and what you want it to do. The BCOM solution should come with pretty much all of the building blocks ready and pre-configured to do whatever you require; a simple assembly of the building blocks in the way that makes sense to you and your organization, and you get a “custom” solution with the quality an off-the-shelf product.

  We abstract the workflow and configuration templates so changes no longer require a code change or a development team 

This is exactly what VOSS-4-UC does. With VOSS, you get a BCOM solution that can  handle UC planning, fulfillment and management out of the box, and then using our modular “building block” architecture, we help you build it piece by piece to make it a perfect fit. The result is a platform that does exactly what you want it to do… and it works perfectly. All in a fraction of the time it would take to develop a completely bespoke platform and all at a fraction of the cost of a completely bespoke platform too. 

If you have not yet had the chance to watch our latest 2-minute video: VOSS-4-UC - One Size Does Not Fit All, you should check it out now. This video explains that VOSS definitely feels your pain! We know that a rigid, inflexible BCOM solution will not suit everyone. No two companies are the same, so why should all BCOM solutions be exactly the same?   

Unfortunately, many BCOM solutions focus purely on standardizing as much as possible in order to achieve high levels of automation, but you sacrifice function for the cost of this standardization. This might have worked in the voice-only services world, but in the modern world of business communications where we live, one size does not fit all companies. 

With the VOSS-4-UC management framework, pretty much anything is possible. With flexibility and agility at the heart of everything that we do, we can easily configure a management solution to fit your company's size, scope, processes and UC preferences. We abstract the workflow and configuration templates so changes no longer require a code change or a development team—they can be made in a matter of hours, not months. Just like building with Lego bricks, if you can imagine it, we can build it. 

Sounds interesting, but how does this look in real life? 

New or change user scenario: 

Let's say that you wanted to fully automate all of those highly repetitive, mundane tasks, like adding a new phone with all of the required services, features (voicemail, single number reach, etc.) each time a new hire is on-boarded. Maybe you use an external business process management solution (e.g. Help Desk portal, CRM, etc.) and would like a way to automatically deploy new users, changes to users and other daily tasks? Right now, these relatively minor, but hugely time consuming tasks get funneled through one or more 'tickets', which are handled by highly trained engineers and the turn time is usually measured in many hours to days, plus the risk of human error is high since this is all manually performed. 

Daily operational scenario: 

What about existing users who require PIN resets, or when a user upgrades their personal mobile phone and wants to update their single number reach settings, call forwarding, etc.? Right now, these fairly trivial tasks need a ticket to be generated too, and an engineer needs to log into a PBX and make the change, which means the operating cost of these very simple tasks are very high and your highly skilled staff are occupied with trivial tasks when they could be better deployed working on say testing new productivity tools. 

The answer: 

The answer is simple. VOSS-4-UC allows us to rapidly implement fully automated BCOM workflows, thanks to its highly adaptable and extensible BCOM framework. 

VOSS-4-UC's powerful UC orchestration engine allows us to take the scenarios described above and turn them into automated user deployments that can be triggered to run by them selves. Picture an automated process that starts with a help desk ticket, where the user is automatically deployed, and then that automation workflow self-closes the help desk ticket upon completion. 

The modular "building block" architecture of VOSS-4-UC allows us to rapidly launch a highly intuitive, mobile friendly, end-user self-service portal where end users make their own PIN changes, their own password resets, SNR changes, call forwarding, or other changes you elect to push to them to manage themselves. Again, the building blocks are already there, we just assemble them into YOUR solution. 

The possibilities are limitless. 

From a security perspective, consider a workflow that sends an email and/or SMS message to the user to notify them that a PIN reset or password change has occurred, informing them of the new PIN or warning of the password change. In the same vein, a forced PIN or password reset could be added to the workflow to force the user to update their PIN and/or password on a regular basis. 

VOSS-4-UC is a real-time, multi-user, multi-tasking, operating environment for enterprise communications systems, providing a business layer on top of the complex UC technology to match an organization's business hierarchy and its business processes. 

VOSS-4-UC's intuitive graphical user interface, or "business portal", provides a central point of management for the complete enterprise communications platform comprising multiple UC servers, gateways, trunks, session managers or session border controllers, not to mention a way to organize and manage all users, devices, services & features, internal and external numbers and a lot more. Dial plan and call routing settings are configured automatically across the complex UC infrastructure including gateways; all fully customized for whatever your relevant business requirements may be. 

If you want to reduce the complexity of operating your unified communications platform or you want to take advantage of new productivity tools like automation and VOSS-4UC's modular "building block" architecture, then contact us today and we'll show you how easy it is to build a business communications environment to match your unique requirements … just like a modern Lego kit!

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