To deploy VoIP services in new offices rapidly and reliably, DB Schenker turned to Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager.
With the merger of BAX Global and Schenker Inc. into DB Schenker, the new business subsidiary of Deutshe Bahn AG was challenged with migrating many traditional private branch exchange (PBX) networks to the new DB Schenker voice over IP (VoIP) network.
Challenges included dealing with different voice technologies and independently managed offices and difficulty finding replacement parts for the older PBX gear. In the past, each office operated as an independent profit center and had custom configurations based on available PBX features and local administrators. It was decided to collapse the individual voice infrastructures into the Schenker Global VoIP network, based on Cisco® Unified Communications Manager (UCM), and decommission the older PBX equipment.
The costs to plan out a new site was around US$65K and $15K to $20K per site to implement. DB Schenker investigated oursourced voice management and realized the costs and deliverables varied greatly, with prices ranging from over $150,000 to $225,000 per year just to manage the first eight sites. A company was settled on to handle day-to-day MACs for the initial VoIP subscriber base, and DB Schenker chose to do the infrastructure deployment in-house.
Several things quickly became apparent. There was no enforced consistency in the way UCM servers were configured when configured by different installers. This made it difficult to troubleshoot installation and voice service problems. Deployment pace was slow due to the amount of manual configuration needed. When MAC changes were needed, the voice team would have to create a significant amount of documentation for the outsourced provisioning group. The DB Schenker Voice team could see that better tools were needed to solve these problems. This need led them to look at Cisco management tools for a better solution.
Steve Sielaff, senior network engineer specialist at DB Schenker, looked to the Cisco Unified Communications Management Solution for tools to speed up deployments, bring consistency, and replace the outsourced management. Two products were purchased and implemented in the DB Schenker VoIP network: Cisco® Unified Provisioning Manager (UPM) and Cisco® Unified Operations Manager (UOM).
The DB Schenker VoIP network team is using Cisco UPM to quickly cut over subscribers from the older PBX network to the DB Schenker VoIP network.. Since the beginning of 2008, the VoIP network had grown to 1600. The goal is to cut over 38 of the approximately 150 Schenker sites to VoIP by the end of 2009, bringing the total to 2000 phones.
Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager is used to deploy branches rapidly and with consistent configurations. Each branch is put into a UPM Domain. This approach currently provides a policy-driven manageable location in UPM and could later allow different administrators to manage one or more branches. "Provisioning Manager allowed us to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and bring support in-house," says Sielaff.
The DB Schenker voice network team has found that the old method of adding a subscriber and basic services took about 30 minutes to complete. With Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager, this task has been reduced to one or two minutes. "Without Provisioning Manager, we would not have been able to deploy new branch offices at this rate," says Sielaff.
The powerful template and batch functionalities are leveraged to speed infrastructure and subscriber provisioning in a consistent manner. Templates are generated at the branch level and at the department level, utilizing the keyword replacement features. Templates and batches are used to bulk add new users and move users to different departments. Everything is done in a consistent, repeatable way with and an audit trail to look back on. Without Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager, there was no practical way to do this.
Overall ROI for the Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager has been met. "Bringing in Cisco's management tools, UPM and UOM, has paid for itself in about four months and requires less overhead than using an outsourced management solution," says Sielaff. Moving the management of the Cisco voice network in-house has yielded faster deployments, fewer network problems, and easier troubleshooting. The staffing for the current infrastructure management and ongoing deployments consists of four people. One additional person is dedicated to day-to-day subscriber MAC work.
For DB Schenker, the Cisco UPM has eliminated VoIP network management outsourcing costs, saving more than $150,000 per year. It has also reduced the time from incident to resolution by 20X, greatly increased the efficiency of the network maangement tream, and reduced the time to add a phone and voicemail from 30 minutes to 1-2 minutes.
The remaining PBX-based offices will be migrated to the DB Schenker VoIP network.
DB Schenker is expecting to migrate their four Cisco Unified Communications Manager clusters from version 4.1.3 to 7.x by the end of the 2009. Subscribers on two other satellite UCMs will be moved to the UCM cluster.