When it comes to the overall strategy of upgrading and moving collaboration architecture toward the cloud with Cisco, many organizations have decided that upgrading to Cisco's new flex licensing makes the most sense from a business value standpoint. This license allows a gradual transition to cloud-based components (e.g., Communication Manager) down the road for hybrid environments that still have many on-premise components.
Although the cloud transition will unavoidably introduce some complexity in the short term due to the mixture of various vendors, customers can rely on monitoring tools like IR Prognosis to help manage the upgrade process and gain complete visibility of what is happening across the entire ecosystem.
For anyone looking to make the Cisco UC upgrade go smoothly, the first step is to get a precise idea of the current environment.
Assess the Current Ecosystem
In addition to the increased flexibility in video conferencing provided by the Cisco upgrade, your organization may be leveraging tools like Verint or NICE. All these pieces of the puzzle need to be accounted for in order to get a clear idea of the potential bandwidth, server, and security requirements needed in the upgrade. You must also consider where the units are registered and how they may be used in the cloud.
Those variables will impact network activity taking place on the edge, and must be taken into account right along with all the other vendors in this complex setup. This is where it becomes critical to have a single dashboard to ensure all parts of the implementation and upgrade will go smoothly. If any issues arise, they can be identified proactively instead of spending excessive engineering hours after the fact.
Pay Attention to Endpoints
Aside from determining the requirements for the upgraded architecture, this is the opportunity to take a look at the network endpoints. Now that you are upgrading, it will be possible to support features like video on the desktop to provide more effective collaboration. (There is a marked increase in knowledge transfer that comes from actually seeing the person you are communicating with. We cover this in more detail in another blog post.)
As Cisco brings Broadsoft onboard post-acquisition and continues their open architecture approach, they will provide support for phone software across multiple platforms. To take full advantage of the multi-platform support and all the other parts of the cloud that Cisco offers, you must investigate whether your endpoint devices will support these features.
Be Prepared to Tame a Complex Environment
The majority of IR customers are large enterprises with complex multi-vendor architectures spanning the globe. However, there are also smaller companies with mission critical requirements and UC environments that need to be understood at all times. The more complex the collaboration architecture, the greater value IR brings.
While upgrading Cisco, you must investigate everything in the UC system to ensure that it's solid and ready to handle increased demand. Whether it's Polycom devices, session border controllers, or other components supporting the contact center, you must understand their current state as you transition through the upgrade process. It is critical to understand if they are taking any additional stress, and if they are capable of working in the faster upgraded environment.