Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) Self-Provisioning

Drive efficiencies with UC Self-Service

Out-of-the-Box Self-Provisioning from Akkadian Labs

A knowledge worker without Unified Communications (UC) capabilities is largely unproductive. UC refers to the portfolio of voice, text messaging, video meetings and other collaboration tools that have become essential in the modern corporate workplace. The IT department or telecom support team is responsible for provisioning UC, which typically comprises the on-boarding, off-boarding and making changes to applications available through the Cisco collaboration suite.

The telecom team is often overworked and may not be able to respond immediately to end user requests. This potentially causes poor SLAs and reduced productivity. A solution emerges with CUCM self-provisioning along with comparable self-provisioning on other elements of the Cisco UC suite. Self-provisioning enables the worker to take care of many administrative tasks on his or her own.

What is CUCM Self-provisioning?

Cisco provisioning for UC is the process of moves, adds changes and deletes (MACDs) for Cisco UC applications for a user. The Cisco collaboration suite contains several different UC Call Manager applications, including Voice-over-IP (VOIP) communication (i.e. a Cisco IP phone), Jabber instant messaging, Unity Connection voicemail, Webex Meetings, Webex Teams and various call center products. Self-provisioning of Cisco UC means the end user can configure his or her own settings. Specifically, Cisco CUCM self-provisioning covers:

  • Call forwarding – this well-known feature lets the user forward calls from his or her CUCM-provided number to other phone numbers, such as a mobile or home line.
  • PIN Resets – CUCM users may need to reset their Personal Identification numbers, or PINs. Self-service lets them do it quickly and on their own, without having to ask IT to help.
  • Cisco Single Number Reach (SNR) – SNR is also known as Cisco Unified Mobility application or “Mobile Connect.” This allows CUCM users to be reached at a single phone number that rings through to both the IP desk phone and a mobile device at the same time.
  • Visual Phone Editing – provides the ability to visually edit a phone or device profile. It generally supports the following functions: [drag and drop vs. a lot of buttons]
    • Change phone button template for device
    • Associating existing lines to the device
    • Edit Line on Device settings for lines on the device
    • Rearrange lines using drag and drop
    • Rearrange speed dials using drag and drop
  • CUCM extension mobility – with this CUCM extension mobility feature, users can temporarily access Cisco IP Phone configuration settings like line appearances, services and speed dials from other another Cisco Unified IP Phone.

Avoiding Complex, Risky Setup of Self-Service

Self-service is great for users of the Cisco UC suite. It comes with a catch, however. Setting up the self-service of user provisioning software on the Cisco servers can be a challenging and risky proposition. Getting self-service up and running from scratch involves a lot of in-person configuration on the back ends of the various Cisco UC tools. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it’s costly and the outcomes are uncertain. Plus, exposing the back end creates security risks. It’s a good security policy to avoid direct access to the back end in all but the most serious situations.

The Akkadian Provisioning Manager solves this problem. It has preset, automated workflows to set up and manage self-service for your Cisco UC users. You configure self-service through its admin portal and Provisioning Manager takes care of all the complex back end configurations. This approach is scalable. You are not relying on Cisco-certified technicians or consultants.

For the end user, Akkadian Provisioning Manager provides an intuitive self-service interface into CUCM from Cisco. Our experience has shown that end users prefer not to perform self-service tasks using the relatively complicated buttons on the Cisco VOIP phone, which is the norm. Having a portal of this kind developed from nothing by consultants would be cost-prohibitive and, in all likelihood, create an inferior outcome.

Conclusion

Cisco collaboration self-provisioning is a time saver for end users and the IT support staff. It enables workers to get to work as soon as they can take care of configuring their UC applications, including Call Manager from Cisco . The support staff is freed from the chores of every provisioning task for their end users. There is some time investment in implementing self-provisioning on the back end, but that is more than worth it due to later time savings.

Cisco partners like Akkadian Labs offer solutions such as their Akkadian Provisioning Manager. This automation engine for Cisco UC streamlines the setup of a self-provisioning portal and enhances the end user experience of self-service provisioning of UC applications and devices.

 

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