Provisioning automation: By using software that automates the deployment of applications, organizations can save time and cut down on errors. Look for a solution that offers the following automation capabilities:
- Identity (user) management across multiple applications.
- Predefined templates for quick provisioning.
- Deployment/import tools for bulk provisioning.
- Application health monitoring.
- Efficient capacity allocation and tracking.
- Analytics and business intelligence.
Delegated administration: The best communications management solutions enable administrators to delegate administration and control to other administrators based on their location or function. A system that can offer automated self-management options via Web portals allows for the creation of multiple types of administrators based on role, location and user access rights.
Self-service: Self-service Web portals automate and simplify common operations, giving users a convenient and cost-effective way to troubleshoot and manage their own services. Junior IT administrators can take over the management of mission-critical applications without interacting directly with back-end servers, while employees can manage basic tasks, such as changing passwords, configuring Outlook or mobile devices, installing new applications and overseeing their own distribution lists. A user-friendly, Web-based management portal with online support also helps eliminate the need for extensive training.
Device management: A unified communications management solution should offer device management capabilities to ensure control and safety as well as increased efficiency and less device downtime. Some solutions allow device updates to be done "over the air," without requiring time or effort on the end user's side. They also allow the contents on a lost or stolen device to be "wiped" so sensitive documents do not fall into the wrong hands.
Security: The best solutions do not require disruption to the enterprise infrastructure, but rather sit on top of the existing infrastructure, leaving it unchanged. Furthermore, it is critical to provide IT administrators, managers and employees with a comprehensive yet user-friendly management user interface that automates tasks and ensures that the proper IT policies are followed.
Extensibility: With continually evolving technology and changing company requirements, it is critical to utilize a solution that will easily grow with changing needs. It is best to choose one that is extensible to third-party front-end and back-end applications, preferably using industry-standard API and SDKs, which allows the customer to make additional extensions if necessary.
By deploying a single solution that unifies unified communications applications, enterprises can improve productivity, lower cost of ownership and reduce strain on the IT department.
Depayras is vice president of marketing and alliances at Ensim in California.