Cisco Business Edition: Protect and Grow Your Legacy by Communicating Wherever You Work
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Updated:March 13, 2015
For your business to succeed, your employees must be able to work together as productively as possible - to collaborate. Collaboration happens through communication. The Cisco
® Unified Communications Manager Business Edition is designed to engender collaboration in medium and midsize businesses.
The Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition enables your employees to find each other and collaborate in the office or on the road from desk phones, PCs or Macs, mobile phones, business tablets, or any combination of these devices - even initiating person-to-person video calls directly from their phones. In addition, the application offers features especially for contact centers. The system works with Cisco Unified IP Phones to give you an effective combination of voice and data based on your converged voice and data network. The leasing and sales provisions are attractive, too.
Collaborative Communications Make Your Business Effective
No matter what your business and what its size, your employees need to follow their work-and they need their communications to follow them. Consider the following examples:
• TBL Networks, Inc., a reseller and Cisco partner in Glen Allen, Virginia, can meet service-level agreements (SLAs) of 1 hour for its customers because of unified communications - with just a small but focused staff.
• Fresh Direct, a produce importer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, can track imports from 25 countries and take advantage of fast-changing market conditions by enabling its employees to be highly mobile.
• Western Technical College in El Paso, Texas, combined two campuses into a virtual one so people can call just one number rather than two to reach either campus. The new network permits growth.
Some of the communications capabilities that these three organizations use are available on the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition:
• Presence: Learning who is available and exchanging instant messages or calling with a simple mouse click
• Single number reach: Calling employees anywhere on any of their available phones simultaneously
• Conferencing: Collaborating no matter where employees are located
• Mobility: Being able to move from desk to the road to the home office with wireless services
• Unified messaging: Accessing voice and fax messages as email messages
Mobility, Flexibility, and Uniformity
You can describe today's business environment with phrases like "one time zone", "real time all the time", and "working moments" rather than regular office hours. To thrive, a business needs to be built around rich unified communications that expedite business processes so employees have the flexibility to work in real time, across all time zones, whenever they have a working moment.
Unified communications begins with a converged IP network that conveys voice, video, and data along with multiple features such as presence and single number reach, and combinations of them. The ability to use this IP network as a platform for delivering employees the information and contacts they need is crucial. No matter where you are, you have the same user experience with your communications, the same features, and the same ability to collaborate with your colleagues.
Building a unified communications solution atop the network (Figure 1) enhances a company's agility and response time, reduces cycle time, helps get products to market faster, resolves problems sooner, and improves the quality of interactions among team members.
Figure 1. Cisco Collaboration Architecture
Some of the benefits, as cited by a survey done by Sage Research in 2008, include:
• Percentage of users who save up to 20 minutes a day in reaching co-workers using presence availability: 40
• Percentage of users who save 11 to 20 minutes daily using mobile unified communications: 50
• Percentage of users who report increased productivity with conferencing: 76
• Percentage of users who save up to 20 minutes daily with unified messaging: 50
Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition
With each new release of the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition, Cisco has added features and improved the ways we serve your business. Two new models in this family are designed specifically for midsize companies to help you consolidate servers and reduce your operating costs. Created for companies of 75 to 1000 employees distributed between headquarters and remote sites, these modular, upgradable systems are easy to install and manage.
Each of the models is a combination of multiple applications installed on a single appliance server. The Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition
5000 model is comprised of the Cisco Unified Communications Manager voice and video call processing application and Cisco Unity
® Connection voice messaging. The Business Edition 6000 model comprises up to four applications: your choice of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Unified Presence, and Cisco Unified Contact Center Express, or get all four applications through our cost effective Cisco Unified Workspace Licensing (CUWL-BE) starter bundle.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 5000
Among the features in the 5000 model are point-to-point video calling, integrated voice messaging, mobility, and a call connector to your business applications. The system resides on a Linux application server for security and ease of management.
With a Cisco Unified IP Phone or desktop-based soft phone equipped for video, you can call any other similarly equipped Cisco IP endpoint and establish a video call. You no longer need to go through video conferencing software or set up the call ahead of time - and you can escalate to video during a voice call.
Video improves collaboration. Seeing people is better than just hearing them - witness the liveliness of video calls among friends or the engagement of office-based teleconferences among business people. Seeing also helps people of different cultures understand each other. Estimates are that 80 percent of the communication in a face-to-face meeting is nonverbal. Now you can see people you do business with and get that level of involvement through your phone system.
Phone endpoints that work with this feature include:
• Many Cisco Unified IP Phones are equipped to handle video calls, among them members of the Cisco Unified IP Phone 3900, 6900, 7900, 8900, and 9900 Series models. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7942, for example, delivers video in conjunction with the Cisco Unified Video Advantage application and a USB camera attached to your PC.
• The Cisco Unified IP Phone 9971 also lets you video conference with colleagues, but you see them directly on the 5.6-inch high-resolution color display on your phone and hear them in high-definition audio freeing up your computer screen to display other applications. This phone also supports Wi-Fi networking, so your video phone can now move with you around the office (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Cisco Unified IP Phone 9900 Series
Two consulting firms, Forrester Consulting (in 2007) and Chadwick Martin Bailey (in 2008), canvassed business decision makers about the value of various unified communications capabilities. Among the results:
• Surveying people in banking, Forrester Consulting found that 89 percent believed collaboration tools including video conferencing helped improve customer support and satisfaction
• Seventy-nine percent believed these tools accelerated project completion
• Forrester reported similar numbers from parallel studies of people in manufacturing and education
Unified and Integrated Voice Messaging
Cisco Unity Connection enables you to combine the storage and access of voice, fax, and email messages you receive into a single inbox. Also available is the complimentary Cisco SpeechView, which transcribes your voice messages to text and delivers them to your email inbox, taking advantage of voice and data convergence. You can access your Cisco Unity Connection voice messages the way you prefer - from an IP phone, smart phone, web browser, email client, or desktop client such as Cisco Jabber for PC or Mac.
Integrated voice messaging is another way the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition makes it easy for you to be within reach and for you to reach others.
Survey results indicated the following:
• Chadwick Martin Bailey found that unified messaging ranked highest in terms of effect on productivity
• Seventy-five percent of respondents said unified messaging resulted in savings per employee of 10 to 40 minutes per day
Mobility includes the obvious - wireless service. But in the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 5000, it also includes features from Cisco Unified Mobility such as a single business voice mailbox, single number reach, and coordination between desktop and mobile phones. You can begin a call on your mobile phone during your commute and with a simple call hand-off finish it on your desk phone when you get to the office. Or conversely, you can hand-off a call to your mobile phone if you need to leave the office. Both TBL Networks and Fresh Direct use the power of single number reach to contact workers virtually anywhere.
Endpoints that work with this feature include:
• The Cisco Unified Wireless IP Phone 7925G-EX is designed for demanding environments such as oil refineries and chemical, utility, and manufacturing plants. It is yellow, for quick recognition in emergencies, and it has several certifications for use around explosives.
• The Cisco Unified Wireless IP Phone 7926G includes a barcode scanner, making it the ideal phone for retail store and warehouse employees who are mobile.
• The Cisco Unified IP Phone 9971 also has wireless connectivity, including 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi radio built in. This feature can reduce the cable drops needed to support these office phones, and it allows for easy transport within the office. This phone also supports Bluetooth connections, letting you pair the same "hands-free" headset you use with your smart phone.
Survey results follow:
• Chadwick Martin Bailey says that one in four clients employing unified communications reports savings ranging from 16 to 30 minutes daily.
• Reaching co-workers on the first try saves up to 15 minutes daily.
• Fifty-seven percent of nonusers expect to save at least 20 minutes a day as a result of being able to reach colleagues through instant messaging (IM) from either a computer or an IP phone.
• Forrester Consulting reports that in banking applications, 68 percent of respondents estimate the ability to reach the correct loan officer - in the office or out - quickly for a customer would enable the bank to process a loan 10 to 20 percent faster.
• Among manufacturing employees, 61 percent of respondents estimated that using features such as conferencing, coordinating calendars, and email would make them from 5 to 20 percent more productive.
Cisco Unified CallConnector
Both models of the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition work with the Cisco Unified CallConnectors to link with Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics, so your sales staff can benefit from integrations with leading customer-relationship-management (CRM) software from these and other developers.
Linux Appliance Server
The Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition comes as a Linux appliance on a Cisco MCS 7828 Media Convergence Server with the operating system and software preloaded. Because the Linux appliance model is rooted in open source, your communications benefit from the broad capabilities of the Linux development community. In addition, the Linux operating system offers a high level of security. And the appliance is scalable, so it can expand as your business does.
If you decide to move up to the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 6000, the applications of your choice come on a Cisco Unified Computing System
™ (UCS) C-Series Server. You can use your existing 5000 model Cisco Media Convergence Server as the back-up server to provide full feature failover call-processing redundancy and protection for your initial investment. Additionally, all your licenses, phones, voice gateways, and Cisco Unified Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST)-enabled routers can carry over in service when migrating to a Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 6000 system.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 6000
This iteration of the product family builds on all of the standard features of the Business Edition 5000 model with many additional, very useful features, including those discussed in the following sections.
Presence allows you to see who is available and when. It also tells you where people are at any given time by dynamically checking their calendar information, registering when any of their phones is in use, and extending this status availability to the Cisco Jabber client. You can also exchange IM messages with colleagues, even during meetings and even with groups of them simultaneously (group chat). In addition, you can extend your presence capabilities to external organizations by connecting with a host of IM applications that support the Cisco Jabber Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). These pieces all work together through the Cisco Unified Presence application.
One significant benefit is faster decision making because you can reach co-workers, partners, and customers in minutes - or learn that they are tied up and you can wait until later.
A TBL Networks employee recounts receiving a customer call while working at another customer's premises and being able to resolve the calling customer's problem by using Cisco Unified MeetingPlace
® Express to create an impromptu conference and take control of the calling customer's computer remotely. He diagnosed and fixed the problem remotely in just 15 minutes.
Survey results follow:
• Some 72 percent of the bankers whom Forrester Consulting interviewed stated that being able to reach a subject matter expert (SME) for a customer immediately would positively affect sales opportunities.
• Eighty-four percent said it would improve customer service.
• Fifty-four percent said that being able to locate managers using multiple modes of communication including desk and mobile phones, email, and instant messaging would save branch-office employees from 10 to 20 minutes per day.
Desktop collaboration requires a strong foundation that the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition provides. Based on this system, you can link phones to PCs or tablets and take advantage of presence, integrated voice messaging, IM, and audio and video conferencing in calls from your desk - even when the "desk" is in a car, airport lounge, or hotel room. Desktop collaboration also encompasses features such as multipoint meetings, text messaging, desktop and application sharing, and recording.
A major benefit lies in the fact that it gives your business a way of distributing the expertise of critical personnel around the world, without their having to leave their desks. And having critical people get together-from their desks can get them out of the airport, saving your company travel expenses and saving time otherwise spent traveling.
Endpoints that work with this feature include:
• The Cisco Unified IP Phone 9971 is the ideal tool for desktop collaboration from your office. When working together with the Cisco Unified Video Camera attachment, it conveys H.264 standard-based video for satisfyingly high resolution - of VGA quality. The phone also offers premier sound.
• You can also use all of the models of the Cisco Unified IP Phones 9900 and 8900 Series for desktop collaboration.
• All of the models of the Cisco Unified IP Phones 6900 and 7900 Series can provide a more value-based traditional telephony experience for those worker types and business scenarios where a more mainstream endpoint would be better.
The Cisco Unified Contact Center Express application can help you take better care of your customers. It gives your contact center agents powerful automatic call-distribution features typical of much larger contact centers, such as conditional routing, call-in-queue and expected-wait-time messages, enterprise data displays, real-time data, and historical reporting.
It also gives your staff sophisticated call-routing and comprehensive capabilities for managing interactions - they can employ voice, email, and chat.
Cisco Unified Contact Center phone models include:
• The low-cost two-line Cisco Unified IP Phone 6921
• Other members of the Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 (Figure 3), 7900, 8900, and 9900 Series models
Figure 3. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series
Survey results follow:
• Chadwick Martin Bailey reports that of those companies interviewed, 46 percent use contact centers, 80 percent for customer support and 66 percent for internal support.
• Thirty-three percent believe an infrastructure upgrade would lead to an average 11-25 percent reduction in call times.
• Four percent believe that it would lead to a 6-10 percent improvement in first-call resolutions.
Support for New Endpoints
One of Cisco's newest endpoints is the Cisco Cius business tablet, an innovative tablet that comes packed with technology to give your employees a portable, powerful, reliable, and secure communications, computing, and mobile collaboration device. The tablet is available with Wi-Fi or coming soon Wi-Fi plus 3G/4G connectivity. In the office, you can insert the tablet into a high-definition media station dock to have a traditional desktop computing experience. The media station also supports dual displays, so you can push high-definition streaming video or your desktop from the 7-inch tablet display to any connected large screen LCD monitor. (Refer to Figure 4.)
Figure 4. Cisco Cius Business Tablet
Then, when you want to go mobile within your company's campus 802.11a/b/g/n wireless network, you can remove the tablet from its docking station and take it with you. The tablet recognizes your connectivity state and chooses the right connection.
When you leave the campus, you simply put the tablet into a protective cover that doubles as a tablet stand. Off campus, you can maintain in-office productivity through your third- or fourth-generation (3G or 4G, respectively) cellular network service provider.
Of course, the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 6000 supports all of the advanced Cisco Unified IP Phones 8900 and 9900 Series models as well as the mainstream Cisco Unified IP Phones 6900 and 7900 Series models. It also supports PC and Mac based Cisco Jabber IM/communications clients and the Cisco IP Communicator soft phone. You can choose the endpoint that is right for any individual and purpose, whether it is someone who needs just a one-line phone with basic features such as a teacher or machine operator, a team leader who uses both audio and video conferencing and also needs a multiline phone to back up other team members, or an executive who needs to meet "face-to-face" in the home office or on the road.
Cisco UCS C-Series Server
The Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 6000 is housed on a Cisco UCS C-Series Server, a two- or four-socket rack-mounted system powerful enough to support all four separate communications applications in this model: Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Unified Presence, and Cisco Unified Contact Center Express.
Designed to be an application server, this system is also designed to take advantage of virtualized deployment models.
The Cisco UCS C-Series Server employs virtualization based on a VMware vSphere ESXi hypervisor. The multiple applications, each with its own operating system, reside on a single server, making the server four virtual machines. This setup reduces your total cost of ownership (TCO) - both capital and operating - and simplifies system management. There is also room for you to add additional applications to your unified computing environment (Figure 5).
Figure 5 shows how you can apply virtualization and the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 6000 in your network to reduce the number of servers to deploy and manage, with support for up to 50 sites.
The Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 6000 can bring to your business:
• Robust technology platform with support for growth
• Unified communications and collaboration applications
• Secure and highly available communications
• Improved productivity
• Reduced decision-making time
• Reduced TCO
• Planned migration paths with investment protection
• Simplicity of operation for IT staff and end users
In addition, Cisco Capital
® has a variety of leasing programs that can minimize your initial outlay by converting your purchase to a low monthly lease payment and help you manage your cash flow over time.
Stay Ahead of the Competition
In the business world you face today, changes can happen very quickly, and you need to make your service as good and reliable as TBL Network's 1-hour SLAs. Your competitors will.
You must stay ahead of your competition and protect your business legacy. Your people must be able to communicate and collaborate as effectively as possible. The Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition product family is underpinned by Cisco's 25 plus years of information technology leadership and innovation in IP voice, video, and data networks and has all the capabilities you need to make your vision for the future work out as planned.