IT Manager managing a large network

This week lets talk about the IT Manager managing a large network, perhaps with global resources deployed. You have a difficult task, with so many hands involved in the management of your Cisco UC environment, many things can go wrong. And of course your infrastructure is critical to the success of your organization.

We’ll start with the low hanging fruit, that being containment of problems and rapid resolution of the same. This is can be difficult and time consuming if you don’t know from where and from whom these events originated. It may be the President of the company who can’t get his conference bridge to work, it may be a case in which one of your own staff broke something that brought down the entire voice network, or maybe HR simply needs reports on traffic from a certain device. Until now, these issues all required a shift from what your team normally does in the day, to what more closely resembles a fire drill.

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In our first scenario, we have an end user that is struggling to make what should be a simple task work. Whether it is something related to the phone itself, or perhaps a group of phones, you don’t want to send an engineer half way across campus, let alone the world to solve a common problem. They have more important things to do! What if I tell you that in no longer requires a Cisco trained individual to fix these things AND that your staff can fix the issue from their own desk? Can changing a task that may take an hour into one that takes 2 minutes make a difference to your overall practice? It definitely can, especially if these issues are coming up repeatedly for your team. Now imagine using the same tool to train these end users, so that they don’t have these problems any longer. Teach a man to fish…

Now let’s move on to an issue that is probably coming up for your team often. This is about the most relevant and mission critical data that can be expected from the Unified Communications infrastructure, CDR data or call accounting. As time goes on, the little details that are so useful, yet hard to extract, can become a headache for your team. You don’t want to have to shift one of your highly trained Cisco experts to let the HR team know when Suzy is making 3 hour personal calls to Spain. The same goes for reports that the Client Services team is requesting. They can’t make sense of what you are providing them and it’s a pain to create and share these reports when they need them. And what about the bill from your carrier? It seems like you are paying way more than you should for their services, how can you justify this and be sure that you are trunked appropriately?

Last but not least, you need to know what is changing in your CUC environment and who is making these changes. Your organization can’t afford screw ups that affect the network. Your team is large and while there are a couple of folks that are expected to do the heavy lifting, sometimes mistakes happen. And you may also have contractors making changes, upgrading the system, etc. Would it be nice to walk in every morning and see a report of all the MACD’s and who made them? You bet it would, cutting down the incidence rate of mistakes and respond rapidly and effectively when they do happen.

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