Akkadian Provisioning Manager Makes EM Services Easy
Wherever an end-user goes, their Cisco IP phone service extension can go with them—an ideal tool for mobile employees. Akkadian Provisioning Managers’ Extension Mobility feature makes it easy for UC Admins and end-users to leverage the benefits of Cisco Unified Communications Manager Extension Mobility.
Value to the UC Administrator: Configuring CUCM Extension Mobility
We streamline the process of configuring users for CUCM Extension Mobility as part of automated job workflows during the on-boarding process. Provisioning Manager’s logout service also automatically signs users out of all devices to end CUCM Extension Mobility during a user delete (as part of off-boarding).
After Admins have configured extension mobility, it’s simple for the Help Desk to login and logout end-users of any Cisco IP device or phone.
Value to Cisco IP Phone Service End-Users
The end-user can sign into any Cisco phone with their username and PIN to apply their device profiles and personal settings (including extensions, line appearances, services, and speed dials).
Sometimes, end-users may find it difficult to use the Cisco phone keypad to enter their CUCM credentials. In that case, they can give the Help Desk the MAC address of the phone they want to log into and the Help Desk can use Akkadian Provisioning Managers’ Extension Mobility feature to easily log them in or out.
Employees working away from their normal office
Multiple employees working different shifts on the same Cisco phone
“Hoteling” employees and flex office working
Instituting social distancing measures in office environments
Easily replacing damaged phones
Service Parameters and Requirements
The Provisioning Manager Application user must have “Authentication by Proxy” rights
The CUCM Extension Mobility service must be activated and running
The user and phone must be properly configured to support Extension Mobility
The benefits of provisioning automation for Cisco Collaboration go beyond the operational benefits of workflows to streamline MAC-Ds. Akkadian Provisioning Manager™ can help engineers use the software licensing efficiently to prevent the needless expenditure of IT budgets that could be allocated elsewhere.
Cisco CUCM Licensing at a Glance
Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) licenses—user-based (UBL) and device-based (DBL)—are broken down into four classes, in increasing order of cost:
Enhanced Plus (UBL)
While user-based licenses are more expensive than device-based licenses, they can also be more cost effective. Leveraging the cost-effectiveness of user-based licenses can yield tremendous cost-savings for IT departments. However, without an automated provisioning solution that helps to monitor end-user licensing, these savings are often lost.
3 Common Cisco Collaboration Licensing Inefficiencies
These licensing inefficiencies occur in three ways:
Inefficient use of device-based licenses
Neglecting “orphaned” devices
Under-utilization of existing user-based licenses
Inefficient Use of Device-Based Licenses
Devices associated with an end-user are designated automatically as UBL, while the reverse is also the case—those without an end user are designated as device-based. These include common area phones in break rooms, conference rooms, lobbies, and entryways to restricted areas. This means, for example, that for every single common area phone, a DBL license is issued. What many Admins do not realize is that these common area devices can be more efficiently grouped and registered under a UBL with associated local end users. For example, 100 DBLs could be reduced to 10 UBLs—a tremendous licensing efficiency that is too often overlooked.
Under-utilization of Existing User-Based Licenses
When a knowledge worker is on-boarded into an organization and allocated a user-based license for all their applications and devices, some of the license capacity for these application and devices may go unused. Time passes, the employee realizes they need an additional device, and they are issued an additional license, despite already having one within which this new device could be allocated. In this instance, the license capacity and potentially money is wasted by both neglecting the available space on a license and in the additional expenditure for a new license.
Neglecting “Orphaned” Devices
Devices may be “orphaned” when a knowledge worker departs from a company, a device is broken (and taken out of service) or has gone unregistered for too long. Because these are not immediately visible within Cisco Collaboration, this licensing space will often go unutilized despite remaining valid and usable.
The Solution: An Automated System for Identifying and Correcting Licensing Inefficiencies
Akkadian Provisioning Manager—the industry-leading automated solution for Cisco Collaboration administration—can optimize CUCM licensing in the following ways:
License Pool Feature
License Pool Feature
To help correct the inefficient use of device-based licenses, licensing pools should be used to aggregate multiple DBLs into a more limited number of UBLs. When a device is not directly associated to a user, our license pool feature helps minimize the use of licenses by automatically aggregating common area phones for licensing purposes. For instance, 100 common area phones with 100 DBLs can easily be aggregated into 10 UBLs, yielding significant efficiencies related to device license units.
To prevent orphaned devices which occupy idle space on a Cisco Collaboration license, Akkadian Provisioning Manager’s auto-delete feature can monitor the registration status of phones and delete phones that exceed a configured term of being unregistered. Admins can use this feature to automatically identify orphaned devices that may be utilizing a license and deprovision them to free up licenses for other needs.
Akkadian Provisioning Manager’s job templates, that ensure consistency in Cisco UC management workflows, also help to avoid costly under-utilization of licenses. The preset job templates are designed to roll out new applications and devices to users in a consistent fashion. Because Akkadian Provisioning Manager is “license aware” and can act as a license manager — our templates can determine if there is an existing UBL under which a new device or application can be assigned under – instead of allocating an entirely new production license. Without Provisioning Manager, such information may not be readily visible to Admins, who may then be tempted to allocate an additional license from the license file for that new device or application.
Conclusion: Akkadian Provisioning Manager Yields a Strong ROI
Cisco UC Admins love Akkadian Provisioning Manager for saving them valuable time and effort. In addition, Chief Financial Officers will love it too for the improved ROI based on license compliance to optimize the total number of licenses available. Either through reducing the need of new licenses required, or streamlining the use of available licenses, Akkadian Provisioning Manager can help optimize Cisco Collaboration licensing to reduce costs and allocate that spending to the strategic needs of your organization. Learn more and schedule a demo today!
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
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.
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.