Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
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Eric Krapf | October 27, 2011 |


How Self-Service Management Saves Money

How Self-Service Management Saves Money How automating voice mail passwords saves tons of time, and automating MACs saves tons of money.

How automating voice mail passwords saves tons of time, and automating MACs saves tons of money.

Password resets are not a particularly sexy topic. But saving money is a sexy topic, or at least it should be. And it turns out that even in the world of basic enterprise telephony, you can save a lot of money if you pay attention to password resets.

I learned this fact in the Enterprise Connect webinar that we did yesterday. Steve Mifsud of Royal Bank of Canada was one of our speakers, and he did a terrific case study of how the bank saved money by implementing end user self-service management for the firm's telephony systems, working with Unimax. (You can view a replay of the webinar by going here.

The bank has a mixture of Avaya Octel and Cisco Unity voice mail systems, running with Nortel and Cisco PBXs. For its population of 35,000 voice mail users, the telecom staff performs 16,000 password resets a year. Or at least it used to.

First of all, that's an incredible number to me: the equivalent of half the users re-set their passwords at least once in a year. (Or one guy who's like me, and always forgetting his password, has done it 16,000 times. Or something in between.)

In the first year the system was automated, RBC did more than 11,000 resets via self-service, saving 751 staff hours, Steve Mifsud reported. The remaining 5,000 resets continued to be done manually, often for policy/compliance reasons, he noted.

In addition to the password resets, RBC was able to automate many move/add/change (MAC) processes, helping to deal with annual increases in MACs of 15%-24%. In addition, automating "custodial" changes, i.e., phone ownership, saved another 459 hours of staff time just in the first 3 months.

Over the next 3 years, RBC expects to automate 75% of MAC activity as well as 1,200 annual voice mail disconnects, the latter saving another 160 hours a year. All told, just the MAC changes will save the bank $800,000 a year, according to Steve Mifsud. RBC will save 1 FTE just thanks to the automation; there won't be direct layoffs, just an ability to absorb the ongoing growth without new hires.

Network management is one of those topics that doesn't get the respect it deserves. It's usually an afterthought when companies are procuring systems, and so it also becomes an afterthought when vendors are building their systems. It makes a business opportunity for companies like Unimax, but it poses a challenge for enterprise telecom/IT folks who'd like to have better tools from the outset.

Especially as the universe of managed end user devices becomes more diverse, expanding to include mobile devices and PC-based softphones, self-service management is going to be more of a boon than ever. It's also very complementary to the BYOD trend, which emphasizes giving users choice and putting more of the responsibility on them to provision what they need. Obviously, the enterprise still needs to keep some control over those devices for compliance, security, and cost control, so tying mobile device management (MDM), IP-PBX/voice mail management, and enterprise directories together makes a lot of sense.


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