4 Steps to Solving UC Interoperability Challenges

One of the real challenges in implementing UC systems is interoperability. Most organizations today rely on disparate UC platforms from any number of vendors.

For instance, a company might have Cisco in its contact center and use Microsoft Skype for Business in other parts of the organization for real-time communications. This sort of diversity is a chief obstacle to success. It raises interoperability concerns and adds expense, time, and complexity to any UC deployment.

The correct approach can mitigate interoperability challenges. Here are four essential, non-negotiable elements you need to have in place to optimize management of a multivendor UC environment:

  1. Visibility across all vendors. Every UC vendor offers some kind of performance-management tool. But each vendor's tool only provides visibility into its own system. These tools don't provide a holistic view that includes all of the various applications, servers, endpoints, and network devices that are part and parcel of every UC deployment. That's why a third-party tool that can provide a comprehensive view of your entire environment is vital. A good performance-management tool will enable you to see across all of your various UC technologies so you make sure they're working as they should and that users are having a good experience. This is critical because your various UC platforms aren't able to see each other.

  2. Ability to troubleshoot.The ability to identify and resolve issues in a timely manner is crucial. Yes, your vendor-supplied tools can troubleshoot their own platforms, but that's not good enough. Today, UC systems are interconnected and dependent on each other, and that means you need the ability to go into each of your systems and troubleshoot across the entire platform. For instance, employees in your organization might use UC clients from both Microsoft and Cisco to communicate with each other. So how do you troubleshoot communications that cut across platforms? Having a tool that spans multiple systems and can troubleshoot across vendors can save a great deal of time and trouble by helping IT quickly find the root cause of a problem.
  3. Clarity in the cloud. The UC industry is moving inexorably to the cloud. Even enterprises once reluctant to make the shift are starting to use cloud UC. Some are going full cloud, but most are taking a hybrid approach, keeping some UC systems on premises while moving others to the cloud. This hybrid approach adds complexity and introduces questions of who owns what. Does a call fail due to an on-premises application or is it a problem in the cloud? Proactive performance management is more important than ever in a hybrid environment, because you need to know about potential problems immediately to maintain an efficient workforce and a positive user experience. A holistic experience-management solution that can accommodate a wide range of UC systems is vital as you shift from one platform to another and transition more and more of your UC operations to the cloud.
  4. Assistance from expert partners. The core infrastructure needed to power a digital transformation is often quite costly and complex, requiring solutions from many different vendors up and down the technology stack. This is where a trusted partner with a proven track record is indispensable. Expert partners can help your organization minimize deployment headaches and increase delivery speed by conducting thorough analysis and planning. For example, I've seen customers spend millions on a Skype for Business rollout, then cut corners with low-end, uncertified headsets that result in poor call quality and an awful user experience. A good partner will ensure the best decisions are made and the user experience is top of mind.

Increasingly, a successful UC rollout depends on the ability to monitor, manage, and optimize a multivendor environment. A holistic experience-management tool that can accommodate various technologies and interoperate with all the major platforms will enable your organization to simplify its UC life -- and thrive in the digital age.