Historically, the topics of big data and analytics have been considered “IT” topics, whereas unified communications (UC) has fallen under the purview of the networking teams. Earlier this month, VOSS Solutions made an interesting announcement with a solution that brings these two previously disconnected worlds together.
For those unfamiliar with VOSS, the Richardson, Texas-based company makes management software that simplifies the provisioning of large-scale UC systems by automating many of the repetitive tasks required to deploy a solution. Because of this, VOSS has a wealth of information as to how the solutions are being used.
VOSS’s most recent announcement is a new analytics module that gathers up information about users, devices, services software licenses, and transactions, and then analyzes the data. The information is displayed in a web portal for administrators to quickly “see” what’s going on in their environments.
In large UC implementations, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to understand which users are using what applications, for what purpose, and how often. A lack of visibility can often lead to the operations team constantly playing catch up, or the company giving every worker every feature, whether it’s needed or not. A network management axiom is that you can’t manage what you can’t see, and that’s certainly true for UC.
The VOSS Analytics module for its VOSS-4-UC solution addresses the hurdles involved in gathering data about service utilization, adoption, user trends and license consumption. From the portal, administrators can quickly pull any information in a matter of just a few seconds. From there, users of the solution can drill down and look at the details behind the displayed information or export that data for external use in billing systems or other analytics platforms. VOSS has built a number of canned reports into the solution, but also has a process through which customers can contact VOSS to create custom reports for specific requirements.
As UC becomes more widely deployed, analytics tools become increasingly important, as they enable businesses to understand UC consumption and activity levels. For example, administrators could drill down and look at the sub-set of UC applications that are being under- or over-consumed, ensuring the company is only paying for licenses that are being used, instead of overbuying because of a lack of visibility.
Not all users are created equal, and not all jobs require all UC tools. In fact, giving a user too many new tools at once can actually overwhelm them and make the worker less productive, which obviously negates the value proposition of UC. Line-of-business managers can use the data to do some interesting analysis by correlating UC utilization with productivity. For example, a manager of a sales engineering team could overlay the use of chat and video with the productivity of sales engineers (SEs). If the data shows that SEs who use UC close cases faster or are more productive, training can be set up to bring the other SEs up to speed.
The majority of the UC industry has been focused on the next cool application, but it’s important that companies get a decent payback on the tools already deployed. The Analytics model from VOSS can help customers understand exactly which services are being used and not used, and then make a more informed decision on how to allocate their resources now and in the future.