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Organizations across industries rely on unified communication (UC) platforms that include features like voice calling, video conferencing and instant messaging to enable seamless collaboration, drive workforce productivity and effectively conduct business through a single, streamlined interface. 

To employees, the experience is effortless: they have the right tools on the right devices, and everything just works. But to the UC teams responsible for manually provisioning and monitoring these tools, it's anything but effortless.

IT personnel spend countless hours provisioning, deprovisioning and monitoring legacy UC tools and services every time an employee onboards, switches roles, leaves the company or has a support issue. Not to mention the additional strain put on UC teams by hybrid work models and the increase of remote collaboration applications. According to a recent survey, IT professionals reported spending up to 25 percent of their time on UC user management. 

For large enterprises with thousands of employees, automation platforms can provide far-reaching benefits for the UC team and the rest of the organization. Let's take a closer look. 

1. Increase efficiency

Traditional UC provisioning and monitoring requires IT staff to work across disparate platforms and navigate repetitive, multi-step processes to setup devices, add services, pull reports and troubleshoot employee issues. By automating these mundane tasks, IT staff can free up time to work on transformative projects that add business value while delivering a faster time-to-resolution for employees. 

Through automation, what once took hours and dozens of steps is now completed in a matter of minutes and a few clicks. Multiply those time savings by thousands of workers and multiple support requests, and it becomes clear why automation is a critical component for any organization interested in increasing efficiencies.

2. Cost savings 

Reducing the time required to provision and monitor complex UC environments naturally leads to fewer costs. However, what many organizations don't realize is that process simplification can unlock further cost savings through improved efficiency. Because automated UC provisioning and monitoring takes just a few clicks, UC teams can assign lower-level help desk staff to tackle requests rather than bogging down top-tier technical talent. UC teams can also save by spending less time correcting and troubleshooting configuration errors, which leads us to our third reason.

3. Minimize errors and reduce risk

With traditional provisioning, it's more likely that IT staff may make manual configuration errors or accidentally select the wrong settings, especially when there are several steps within multiple complex platforms. By leveraging an automation platform, UC teams can simplify this experience and create standardized policies that:

  • Prevent human errors
  • Ensure devices are correctly provisioned with the right applications and tools
  • Drive consistency across employee job roles and locations
  • Avoid orphaned phone numbers and devices
  • Quickly deprovision devices and block access to terminated employees

The ability to mitigate risk is especially important in the public sector and other highly regulated industries, like financial services and healthcare, that must meet strict compliance standards. Providing the wrong access to an employee (or ex-employee) in such industries has the potential to be disastrous for an organization. 

4. Increased visibility for better reporting and insights

Whereas traditional UC monitoring provides siloed views into applications, modern monitoring platforms allow IT staff to take a holistic view of their UC environment so they can better understand the overall health of their systems. From there, they can dive into individual applications, office locations and even specific employees to automate reporting and identify trends. 

This capability is especially helpful for capacity planning and right-sizing software licensing. For example, an organization might discover it can reduce the number of telecommunication lines in its offices with more employees working from home but needs to increase licensing and capacity for external access. 

5. Enhanced employee experiences 

The rise of hybrid work means more employees are working outside of the office. UC tools are an important component to enabling remote collaboration, and are increasingly relied on to provide seamless, high-quality experiences whenever and wherever they are used. With increased visibility and automated reporting, IT personnel can proactively monitor these tools, as well as the hardware and hypervisors they reside on, to ensure consistent voice and video call quality and prevent disruption to the digital employee experience

If something does go wrong, modern UC monitoring platforms make it easier and faster to identify and troubleshoot issues than manual trial-and-error processes. IT staff can conduct synthetic traffic tests to simulate employee activity and determine the source of the problem, whether it's related to bandwidth, latency, packet loss or another issue.

Additionally, automated provisioning enables more convenient self-service options. Organizations can empower their employees to make minor modifications, such as updating speed dial numbers or configuring single number reach, without calling the IT help desk. 

Get started today

The path to automating UC provisioning and monitoring can be daunting. Many organizations struggle with identifying where to start — and that's OK. Keep in mind that you don't have to automate everything at once. Start small. Consider prioritizing processes that involve your primary UC tools and specific office locations or employee personas to see immediate impact and savings. 

Leveraging a partner like WWT can help you get up and running with your new automation faster. We work with leading automation vendors for UC provisioning and monitoring, like Kurmi, Akkadian, IR, Nectar and Vyopta, to advise on best practices, platform features, use cases, integrations and large-scale migrations across vendors, such as Cisco and Microsoft. 

Meet with our UC experts today to understand your automation options. Request briefing