A FORTUNE 500 company, Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), is a premier provider of diversified business process outsourcing (BPO) and information technology (IT) services and solutions to commercial and government clients worldwide delivering a full range of services and end-to-end solutions to the public and private sectors. ACS supports a variety of industries including education, energy, financial, government, healthcare, retail, and transportation.
Business Needs and Challenges
ACS provides ongoing management of the Cisco® Unified Communications infrastructure for Walt Disney Company, supporting the rollout of 30,000 Cisco IP Phones over three cities in the United States. The voice team at ACS has one IT manager, four engineers, and 12 technicians to manage Walt Disney Company's distributed locations from the ACS network operations center (NOC) with a current deployment of ~15,000 Cisco IP Phones. During the planning stages of the deployment, ACS realized that a major part of the success of the service offering would come from efficient fault and performance management as well as fine-tuning and optimization of its client's Unified Communications (UC) deployment.
ACS had business needs and challenges to address:
• Detect and resolve UC fault and error conditions efficiently with a minimum of false alarms
• Manage phone status, location, and inventory for instant access to version, connection information, and other key phone operational details
• Understand trunk and route group traffic patterns for better load balancing, capacity planning, and trunk bandwidth cost control
• Detect and resolve call quality issues before a phone user is affected
• Identify overutilized and underutilized media resources in conferencing and music on hold (MoH) servers; this is important to determine which servers and resources can be consolidated for greater efficiency and to control server costs
ACS deployed Cisco Unified Operations Manager (OM), Unified Service Monitor (SM), and Unified Service Statistics Manager (SSM) to address these business challenges. The company began the UC rollout with the 2.x release and now has the latest 8.5 release, installed as part of the OM, SM, SSM beta program now managing the production network.
Fault Notification and Diagnostics
OM provides prepackaged alerts to monitor the UC network. At ACS, OM's real-time alerting is integrated with IBM Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus, which is tied into its trouble-ticketing system, the starting point for problem notification. The actionable alerts in OM eliminated several false alerts that ACS had previously seen coming from UC.
Phone Inventory Management
With the various IP Phones reports provided by OM, ACS is able to manage the IP phone inventory efficiently. Since Walt Disney Company is distributed across several remote locations, tracking phones is critical to help ensure that every phone is accounted for, providing a solid inventory report. An ACS engineer regularly checks the unregistered phones report to identify unused phones, which must match the list of phones at the client's warehouse.
Effective Capacity Planning
ACS is using SSM to generate trunk and route group utilization reports. These reports identify the top overutilized and underutilized trunks and route groups in the UC deployment. Armed with this information, ACS IT engineers can then reconfigure trunks and route groups to achieve better load balance. This can save money through more efficient usage of the bandwidth already available instead of adding more.
Call Quality Trend Monitoring
Proactive voice quality monitoring reduces potential downtime and increases end-user satisfaction. Using SM for Mean Opinion Score (MOS) collection and notification to discover voice problems with SSM for long-term call quality trend reports, ACS gains valuable insight into the overall call quality trends on a cluster or device pool (site) basis and can determine if there are emerging call quality issues over time. With these quantifiable quality measurements, ACS personnel can focus their attention on the resolution of call quality issues before they affect service. OM is then used to test the network devices and circuits to isolate the indentified quality problems quickly.
Optimize Server Resources
ACS has a number of conferencing and media resource servers in use, and it uses SSM to generate conferencing and media resource utilization reports. This data helps enable them to make more informed decisions regarding server loading and consolidation to control costs.
Both the voice team at ACS and the IT personnel at the Walt Disney Company are able to see positive benefits from using the UCMS assurance applications. Some of the tangible business benefits derived by using the Cisco UCMS products include:
• Instant NOC notification with Tivoli integration and ticket creation of Walt Disney Company UC network and voice quality alerts
• Real-time phone connectivity and inventory reporting to support financial tracking and help with physical location for repairs
• Effective trunk/route group capacity planning by generating trunk/RG utilization reports and determining over- and underloaded trunks and route groups for fine-tuning and optimization
• Helping to ensure end-user satisfaction by detecting emerging call quality issues over time before they affect users and services
• Reduction of server costs and increased efficiency by using the USSM reports on media resource utilization to drive server consolidation for the conferencing and media resource servers