Lessons on Unified Communications & Collaboration

What I learned from fixing a tire

In a recent, unplanned trip to an auto repair shop while visiting upstate New York, I had a sort of a “time traveling” experience that brought up comparisons to the Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) industry.

While driving through a picturesque, small town in the Adirondacks, I ran over a nail and had to find the nearest gas station for a quick diagnosis and (hopefully) repair. To my amazement, the garage attendant went straight for the old fashioned tire iron and began working my left rear tire’s lug nuts. It must have taken him at least 20 minutes, and a lot of elbow grease, to remove my tire before dropping it in the dunk tank and looking for those tiny air bubbles that always mean trouble.

I remember thinking about a recent oil change and tire rotation I had back home, where the mechanic had used an air gun to accomplish the same task in roughly 15 seconds. My mathematical mind took over; I wondered how much more productive the upstate garage attendant could be on a day-by-day, week-by-week basis, had he used the pneumatic tool. At a higher level, I pondered how one mechanic knows about a quicker way to do things, while the other does not. Was the gentleman performing the flat repair on my car going home and doing his own research on how to do his job faster, easier and perhaps with more precision? Perhaps the air gun salesperson bypassed the little garage in upstate New York, and the old-school mechanic never learned about the revolutionary pneumatic tool.

My thoughts drifted to my own role at Akkadian Labs. So often in sales, we look at our job as burdensome or as a nuisance. None of us like rejection; yet, it is a thrilling moment when our client sees the value of our product and is ready to adopt the new technology. Recent conversations with channel partners and end users alike regarding their struggles with provisioning in Cisco came to mind.

Provisioning users and devices for Cisco’s UCC environment is a very similar experience to that which I endured in an upstate NY tire shop this summer. In my story, the “tire iron” is Cisco Prime Collaboration Provisioning, and the “air gun” or pneumatic tool is akkadian Provisioning Manager Express (aPME) by Akkadian Labs. Anyone who’s ever had the task of performing a move/add/change or delete (MACD) with Cisco’s collaboration software can attest to the fact that it is time consuming, prone to human error, and takes a lot of “elbow grease” to get the job done. Ironically, the typical MACD in Cisco takes about 20 minutes to perform, whereas performing the same action with aPME, much like the pneumatic tool in the story, takes about 20 seconds. I challenge you all to take a close look at aPME to see and experience the “air gun” of MACDs. Once you try it, you’ll never go back–I promise.