To accelerate deployments and ease infrastructure management, BITS turned to Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager.
Banking Infrastructure and Technology Services (BITS) is a nationwide managed service provider for voice and data connectivity, exclusively serving community banks.
BITS provides voice and data communication services, which allows community bank IT departments to focus on delivering the products and services demanded by their current and future customers.
A major challenge was to speed up deployment of voice over IP (VoIP) infrastructures in managed banks. When banks consolidate, some become branches for existing BITS-managed banks. There is often little time to plan migrations from legacy voice environments to the BITS network. Many banks have no cohesive voice plan and cannot even call directly site to site.
Another challenge was to help ensure consistent infrastructure configuration deployments while performing moves, adds, and changes (MACs) for more than 60 banks and more than 5000 subscribers.
There was also a need to deploy a tool to provide limited site management to individual banks, through a simple-to-use GUI interface for individuals with no telecom or unified communications background. "We wanted an easy-to-use help desk interface that can be used by our customer banks that does not require telecom knowledge to operate," says Michael Dury, IT director at BITS.
Before implementing Cisco® Unified Provisioning Manager, the IT team did all management through Cisco Unified Communications Manager/Unity® GUIs or used multiple provisioning tools. BITS IT needed to unify the provisioning process and chose Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager as a single provisioning tool for their managed service offering. Besides unifying provisioning, Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager offers a simple business-rule-driven interface that bank admins could use without significant unified communications provisioning training and knowledge of underlying network components and design.
Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager provides a more automated provisioning solution. It offers the infrastructure and MAC automation needed, plus supplies the simple-to-use MAC interface, controlled access, and an audit trail.
"Everything is done in a consistent, repeatable way with an audit trail to look back on. Without Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager, there was no practical way to do this" says Dury. BITS IT staff found configuration templates a great improvement over manual provisioning and greatly cut down errors in the configurations. 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. "I had two banks with two service areas up in minutes," says Dury.
Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager is used to deploy branches rapidly and with consistent configurations. Each branch is put into a Unified Provisioning Manager Domain. This approach provides a policy-driven, manageable location in Unified Provisioning Manager and allows different administrators to manage one or more branches. "Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager will allow us to distribute local subscriber management to individual banks. This lowers our management costs and provides banks the flexibility to manage their own users," says Dury.
"Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager provides good return on investment (ROI) since we don't have to upsize staff as the network gets busier," says Dury.
Overall, ROI for Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager has been met, because it:
• Reduced time to deploy VoIP in new banks and existing bank branches
• Yielded fewer network problems, and allows easier troubleshooting
• Allows access privileges and audit capability for provisioning changes
• Allowed individual banks to manage local subscribers
Management for individual banks has been set up in management domains. This capability allows the option to offer individual banks the ability to do local MAC changes themselves. This feature is in the pilot stage based on the Cisco Unified Provisioning Manager 2.0 major release.