​Why unified communications ‘stealth’ is a growing headache for IT managers

​Why unified communications ‘stealth’ is a growing headache for IT managers

Business communications gremlins set to rise as unified communications flies under the IT radar.

IT managers can expect more end-user complaints related to dropped calls and garbled telephone conversations thanks to unified communications growing footprints going largely unmanaged in IT environments.

Following a company study of businesses and partners in North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, Kiwi-based unified communications provider Virsae claims most organisations have adopted some aspects of unified communications, but struggle to manage all the components and connections critical to its performance.

“The majority of businesses already use components of unified communications and expect to adopt even more,” says Ross Williams, COO, Virsae.

“However, configuration, capacity and other data essential to unified communications uptime doesn’t flash on the IT radar. Unified communications is an ecosystem, and understanding network interdependencies is essential to uptime.

“Capacity matters just as much here as it does in IT, and network managers must be sure that every component is working within manufacturer specifications and that there are sufficient resources to support workloads.”

Poor visibility of unified communications’ relationship with the IT network was behind a rising number of issues, including dropped calls, garbled speech and slow uptake of applications.

“There is no unified communications without a network, and when network managers can’t see what’s happening at the application level they’re unable to adapt capacity and configuration to the requirements of users.

“That’s when calls drop and unified communications applications turn to sludge.”

Williams believes the legacy of unified communications was also “partly to blame.”

“Unified communications isn’t rooted in IT - telephony grew up outside the IT network,” he adds.

“But PABXs have migrated to IP and yet often remain unseen on IT networks. And as more communication services and unified communications applications find their way into IT environments, the job of managing them gets tougher, because network managers don’t have access to tools that can see all the elements critical to unified communications performance.

“And that’s why break-fix behaviour dominates unified communications operations, and why IT best practices - like automatic problem analysis, problem recovery processes, predictive capabilities and root cause analysis – remain out of reach.”

Earlier this year, Virsae cemented re-sales agreements with large international technology providers, including Arrow Electronics subsidiary Arrow SI, California-based communications provider Altura, and UK-based Azzurri Communications.

The company also signed up global distributor Westcon Group to distribute Virsae Service Management to resellers in Europe, the US, Middle East, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Williams says local customers include government agencies, large manufacturers and retailers, and insurance provider IAG.

“However, Virsae’s sights are firmly set on the global Unified Communications Services Management market, worth an estimated US$2 billion,” he adds.

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