Executive Summary: Every communications touchpoint in a retail company is important to organizational effectiveness and customer satisfaction. In-store, online, customer service – it all matters when building a collaborative culture in a hybrid work environment and a loyal customer base that will help you grow your business.

Seamless collaboration is critical to your retail operations. A unified communications (UC) provisioning automation solution is key to effective collaboration. Automated provisioning saves time for your IT team, assures UC applications are deployed consistently and keeps your platform secure and free from service disruptions and outages. In this post, we break down the retail business UC provisioning landscape and what you need to consider.

The Situation – A Complex Retail Environment

With tons of internal and external communications applications, moves, adds, changes and deletes of user and device information in these environments can be a time-consuming challenge.

The retail environment has never been more complex and multifaceted than it is today. Shopping is no longer a simple trip to a brick-and-mortar store. It’s now a longer, more complex journey with customers shopping more frequently online, moving items in and out of their shopping carts and visiting many different physical locations. Between in-store, online and customer service options, today’s retail companies need to maintain excellent customer touchpoints at every step.

Going beyond the customer, retail companies must also prioritize the well-being and satisfaction of their employees. That means creating and facilitating a hybrid work environment that empowers employees to do their jobs well while maintaining work-life balance.

As staffing issues continue, over 40% of retail workers say they are more likely to switch to a more flexible job even if that means taking a pay cut. On top of that, contact center leaders expect that nearly half of all agents will be working remotely in some capacity. Today’s workforce expects a hybrid tech environment that works and makes their job easier.

The Challenges for UC Engineers

Provisioning users in a diverse array of UC applications across many locations creates numerous challenges for your IT and UC teams.

The sheer amount of users across a retail company’s UC tech stack means a high volume of move, add, change, and delete (MAC-Ds) tickets to handle each day. This work is time-consuming. Plus, it distracts from higher-priority projects and initiatives.

When done manually, provisioning users in a retail environment can lead to numerous mistakes. On top of that, if you have a large team of UC professionals, each person could be setting up your UC applications differently leading to inconsistencies.

While these mistakes and inconsistencies may seem minor, they can have major effects on your UC environment and connected applications. Collaboration between teams and sites will suffer, plus it could result in outages and service disruptions that impact your employees as well as customer-facing systems.

That’s a big deal when your brand’s reputation and ultimately your bottom line hang in the balance of every customer service touchpoint. Nothing ruins a customer relationship like unresponsive or unhelpful customer service. And nothing frustrates employees more than technology that doesn’t work or make their jobs easier.

Solution – Automated Provisioning for the Retail Industry

Despite these challenges, there are solutions out there that can benefit retail companies.

An automated provisioning solution – like Akkadian Provisioning Manager – can help get rid of those costly provisioning errors and inconsistencies. On top of that, it can reduce provisioning times from hours to just seconds.

This software helps your UC team work from a single pane of glass, simplifying the onboarding process, for example. Additionally, by streamlining provisioning workflows engineers can use their time for more strategic projects, rather than repetitive manual work.

It also includes contact center integrations for UCCX and UCCE environments. Large contact centers have unique challenges when it comes to user provisioning. They must account for high turnover, agent skilling and location.

Other helpful features of Akkadian Provisioning Manager include:

  • Full-cycle, zero-touch automation via integrations with Active Directory and ServiceNow
  • Real-time directory number management
  • API Triggers to extend provisioning actions outside of Cisco
  • Bulk provisioning
  • Role-based access to securely off-load provisioning tasks to a HelpDesk
  • Remote phone control to access Cisco IP phones to test, place calls, and change settings
  • High availability for automated roll-over to maximize uptime
  • Multi-cluster support across all your CUCM clusters
  • Detailed reporting using SQL database queries to generate reports from CUCM

Another relevant solution for large retail enterprises that are constantly opening and closing CUCM sites is Akkadian Site Builder. While this Day 1 provisioning tool is not as frequently used as a Day 2 automated provisioning solution, Site Builder allows retail enterprises to leverage templates to quickly roll out CUCM to new store locations.

Site Builder is a great solution for fast-growing retail brands opening new locations across the nation or across the globe. Implement all your Day 1 provisioning requirements in minutes, including configuring device pools, partitions, CSS, route patterns and more.

Expected Outcomes

Using an automated provisioning solution will ultimately create new efficiencies and cost savings across a retail environment.

It takes only hours to go from implementing Akkadian Provisioning Manager to achieving zero-touch, full-cycle provisioning. Once your provisioning solution is up and running, your teams can focus on strategic projects that will have greater impact on the business. Your UC teams and engineers will be happier too, doing less tedious provisioning work. You can even offload provisioning tasks, no matter how complex, to a HelpDesk.

Your UC system will also experience less downtime from errors, meaning your entire organization can communicate and deliver great service without interruption. That will go a long way towards ensuring your contact center agents and store associates feel satisfied and empowered in their jobs.

All these improvements will result in seamless collaboration between teams and more satisfied employees, which in turn, will lead to better service delivery and a smoother customer experience.

Conclusion – Provisioning Matters

Provisioning can be easy to overlook, but retail companies shouldn’t undervalue an automated provisioning solution for their UC environment. When working with a complex tech-stack, you need to take advantage of every efficiency you can find. Akkadian’s provisioning solutions can do just that.

Looking to streamline the provisioning of the UC applications used in your retail company? Talk to Akkadian Labs to schedule a demo today.