Optimized unified communications can convert into largely increased sales, positive impacts, and better time management. Nevertheless, video, VoIP, instant messaging, and email can also make difficulties in services that include higher bandwidth requirements, inter-service dependencies, and complicated troubleshooting. To provide positive end-user experience, IT teams need a comprehensive unified communications monitoring (UCM) and analysis solution that gives actionable insights from within the context of all system components and interactions.
Why UC Monitoring is Important
We live in a world filled with highly technical industries. Every organization is working to find new ways to access real-time information so that they can perform their work more efficiently.
By implementing, optimizing, and monitoring UC Communications, you’re taking your company ahead. Not only are you enhancing business communications, collaboration, and productivity, but you’re also helping every employee succeed.
What Kind of Performance Issues Commonly Occur with UC?
Various things can negatively impact UC performance, including dropped packets, latency, and retransmissions. Take the popular Microsoft Skype for Business/Teams: IT managers who use only Microsoft’s built-in monitoring for quality and performance might think they’re getting a complete and accurate picture of what’s happening at the end-user level.
In reality, however, the end-of-call statistics that Microsoft provides will only show the weighted average of the call quality. Complicating matters even more, not all clients or endpoints report quality statistics back to the UC Platform for Business monitoring server, leaving the organization blind.
If the UC Platform doesn’t know and the monitoring tool doesn’t have a separate component analyzing packets, how does the monitoring tool communicate what happened?
Which UC Monitoring Tools are Essential?
Monitoring a unified communications network is the same as monitoring in any network setting. You begin by understanding that a monitoring setup may produce problems if it is done improperly.
One method is to enable Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and review the findings at an earlier defined gain. Not all hardware will have SNMP capabilities, and because of this, there are limits on the types of UC monitoring that can be performed.
Understanding the types of errors that can arise in a UC environment is essential for the effective use of UC monitoring tools. You will find that latency, dropped packets and retransmissions can be either hardware-related or cable-plant-related.
If the cable plant passes test parameters and is set up in the right way, the next step is to look at the transmitting and receiving equipment. You should individually check the switch, server, or workstation network interface card. These tools to do this will be included with your smart hardware in some cases.
Even if your hardware doesn’t support error monitoring, you can look for solutions such as Nectar Diagnostics which talks to network analyzers to discover issues real-time. It may be as easy as the process of elimination to figure out where problems exist. How you find the issues will also depend on your environment. Simple tools like a cable tester, a network protocol certifier, or a traffic monitor will go a long way toward helping you to understand your network paths.
UC in a Collaborative Workforce
Work isn’t just a place that we go to anymore, but something that we do. Today, there’s a growing need to enable workers to effectively collaborate with colleagues, with customers, and with partners, regardless of location.
Previously, we relied on face-to-face meetings that often required costly travel. Remote teams can now work together in real-time using current collaboration tools. Using systems that include components like rich media or web conferencing in addition to digital whiteboards, even at short notice, have simplified working in many business environments. UC is a win-win for teams that are placed regionally and internationally.
Being able to bring critical stakeholders together allows them to make decisions and move business processes ahead quicker and better. Improved collaboration tools take the expense and time out of the cycle.
Knowledge Retention is Directly Related to Collaboration Tools
The work environment should facilitate the highest level of information transfer and retention if we want to bring teams together to reach their goals more quickly. Better collaboration tools directly lead to a higher level of execution. When given the ability to view and listen to a video or web conference, knowledge transfer rates rise to 70% – from 20% for audio availability only.
Team performance is a necessary component of growth. We used to give employees the capability to grow their performance. Unfortunately, tools and individual work can only result in so much value before it levels off.
A study from a survey of CIOs explains that if you invest in optimizing both individual and team performance, it will lead to higher overall growth of revenue per representative. By allowing staff to access the needed resources in real-time, your organization will have a significant competitive edge.
Customers Communication Choices are Evolving
The way people buy in the marketplace has gone through a significant transformation in recent years. If your target market is made up of Generation Y/Millennials, picking up the phone to make a call is their fourth choice in communication. It follows behind electronic messaging, social media, and smartphone apps, according to recent research.
So, it isn’t only the way we work that is changing. When we look at enhancing our collaboration architectures, a multichannel strategy is necessary because the way our customers want to reach us is changing.
What Do Today’s Customers Want?
As a general rule, there are a plethora of solutions possible for end-users and business owners to enhance their communications. The value of UC is shown in the way you successfully set your company apart.
Here are a few ways that you can do this:
- Quick and rapid deployment
- Flexibility in your solution
- Display success stories on how UC adds value to a business
- Emphasize ways that your UC system removes communication barriers and makes collaboration more effective
Customers don’t want to be convinced anymore. What they want more is to be educated on the value of the system. How it will help them and their business’ processes and workflows.
Why is Optimized UC Needed?
Communication is the top priority of every company in today’s business world. We are finding new ways to communicate almost daily, using more channels, more devices, and definitely, with more adaptability. All of these requirements rely on a new generation of technology operating in real-time.
There are many risks if that technology isn’t reliable, if digital service to clients is unreachable, phones stop working, or video conferences crash. Getting to the root cause and a resolution quickly is a top priority. You must make sure you have reliable and optimized unified communications across your network.
Optimized UC holds the communications channels open. Weak communications and collaboration skills, slow product development, and decision-making putting your employees at a competitive loss. Reliable communications and collaboration infrastructure that assists employees to work efficiently permits your organization to breathe.
Moving Toward Operational Efficiency in UC Optimization
Putting the right monitoring tools in place is an essential step in getting to operational efficiency. You don’t want to spend your days merely putting out fires. Building a strategic plan should be in your short term plans.
Every business is in a different place in the operational maturity spectrum. The trick is to get ahead of issues, become proactive in spotting potential problems before they happen. In this way, you can move away from being reactive (putting out fires) in solving problems as they occur. The goal should be to gain real-time in UC monitoring and troubleshooting and not solely depend on historical reports.
Some businesses focus on combining separate systems into a unified view, virtually, a single pane of glass. When this level of visibility is accessible, IT teams benefit from a much quicker turnaround on problems.
The other general category businesses can fall into is when they are deploying or migrating to a new system. As you can guess, if you implement a new system and it performs worse than the current one, the results can be critical. When you have clear goals on what success looks like throughout the process, and after migration, it makes it easier for everyone involved.
Changing Goals Over Time
When a business begins in a chaotic environment dealing with constant outages, their initial goals will shift. They will want to be more proactive: focus on stopping the outages, preventing repeat service interruptions, and getting early warning alerts. At this point, they may move into rolling out the same goal changes to other regions.
Getting to the point where you can focus on future strategies means “you’ve got this.” When you are there, it is a good thing. The business can then focus on increasing revenue using the UC system that is in place.
Reporting and UC Monitoring
Reporting and UC Monitoring work together. You need reporting to tell you what happened. In the same way, with the right monitoring tools, you can know what may happen and proactively resolve the problem before it happens.
You should try to make your overall UC environment management simple. Look for a monitoring tool that can provide a combined approach to reporting, monitoring, and correlated diagnostics.
UC Monitoring done right helps businesses become more profitable and grow. Contact us to learn more about our Unified Communications monitoring products and how they can help you.