Communications Blog • 6 MIN READ

IR Collaborate – Above and beyond Cisco PCA

Mark McPake

Written by Mark McPake

I’m sure you know by now that Cisco’s Prime Collaboration Assurance Analytics (PCA) tool is coming to its End of Sale date, and Cisco is not currently offering a native replacement for this mission-critical tool.

To keep your Cisco communications environment up and running, and performing optimally, you need a tool that can not only do everything PCA does, but go above and beyond.

In a previous blog, we talked about IR’s role as a long-standing Cisco preferred and recommended solution partner, and how IR Collaborate can help fill the Cisco PCA gap.

Today we’ll go into more depth about how Collaborate can greatly simplify the increasing complexity of modern UC ecosystems. We’ll show why it’s a far more robust, flexible and user-friendly tool that covers your entire multi-vendor, and multi-platform UCC environment.

Solution Architecture

Handling today’s complex UC environment

Cisco Prime was, and still is, a great tool. However, the first and most obvious reason to use a third-party solution is that Prime is a Cisco-only tool. This might not have been too much of a problem if your entire UC environment consisted of Cisco devices and applications. However, today’s communications stack is usually much more complex and diverse.

Today’s IT leaders would rather use a variety of “best of breed” tools that fit their specific needs, rather than unify everything under a single vendor platform.

Best of breedSource: Wainhouse Research

So, you could be using Avaya for your contact center solutions, Webex by Cisco for your video conferencing, but there may be other communication platforms like Microsoft Teams or Zoom in the mix for remote workers. You might have some of your UC on premises, and some in the cloud. You may even have hundreds of endpoint users, and countless devices, in multiple locations. How will you monitor performance, how will you manage when things go wrong – and most importantly, how do you set metrics, gather analytics and decipher all this information? The truth is, it would be an operational nightmare having several different monitoring tools to keep track of it all.

Teams and Zoom

IR Collaborate: your one-stop shop

Collaborate has been designed to give you access to all the information you need throughout your entire UC environment, but it’s tailored specifically for your organization. It also gives you the ability to access data and information at your fingertips through a user-friendly dashboard, where you can drill down to get deeper insight with one click.

It pulls everything together – Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft, Zoom, SBC, devices, connections, and other applications – in one place. There’s no need to jump from tool to tool, logging into different platforms, and trying to piece it all together yourself.

Whether it’s on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid environment, Collaborate is a performance management solution with the deployment flexibility most enterprises can only dream of.

Deployment Flexibility

What else can Collaborate do?

The key to optimizing your UC environment, is having the ability to look at all the information you need, and that includes every component of your UC system, without having to do anything. Sound impossible? It’s not, because with Collaborate, it’s all automatic.

Cisco Cluster

Alerts and notifications to uncover fast, actionable insights

Collaborate provides not just alerts and notifications, and other valuable data, but it has the ability to extract that data and put it into a user-friendly format, making easy to uncover clear, actionable insights. This is valuable information, not just for help desks, but everyone in the entire organization responsible for capacity planning, strategic planning, license usage, troubleshooting etc.

Complete call quality testing

The capability to carry out communication, collaboration and contact center testing within one, all-encompassing solution is not something you find in every tool. It gives you call information, including calls currently active on the system, by category – inbound, outbound call quality, etc. as well as system operation.

Cisco Call Details

Device information for ear-to-ear visibility

It also provides information on every device in the system, including routers and ports, and their location, as well as a clear-cut view of how those components are put together. You can isolate a specific problem on an individual port, and see the path that a certain device takes. For example, you have full visibility into how specific routers are connected, and you can see where there’s packet loss, and whether it’s misconfiguration, or another problem.

How difficult is Collaborate to deploy?

Not difficult at all. From a deployment perspective, Collaborate runs from a Windows server, so once you determine where that Windows server is to be located, i.e. on premises on your own environment, or in the cloud, the software itself is as easy as loading an MSI file onto a windows server.

The real value in what we do is customization around alerts and alarms, tailoring displays, giving you what you need, and getting the environment functional to your own specifications.

IR Collaborate can not only replace Cisco PCA but give you added value going above and beyond, without missing a beat.

Want to find out more about how you can migrate from Cisco PCA to IR Collaborate? Click here to find out about our exclusive exclusive Cisco Prime Migration Offer.

Topics: Communications Performance management Migration, deployment and adoption Cisco Collaborate PCA

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