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How Cisco IT Organizes Its Voice Operations

How many people does it take to manage the service infrastructure supporting over 150,000 hardware phones, 50,000 soft phones, and 10,000 room and desktop video devices. That’s the size of our UC infrastructure at Cisco, and today we manage all our voice, voicemail, and video services with an integrated voice and video Tier 3 operations team of 25 people, and another 5 people supporting contact center applications and services. We do this by continually finding new efficiencies – learning new ways to support existing services so we can spend more time learning how to support the new technologies.

My team is operationally responsible for the voice and video infrastructure and platforms behind all Cisco IT services for voice, video, and contact centers. Our scope includes the underlying Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco UCM), Cisco Unity, contact center and video platforms – all the voice and video services. A separate team manages the user endpoints within the company, including our IP phones, Cisco TelePresence meeting rooms, and desktop video endpoints. We work with them very closely, as well as with the teams providing network connectivity, and data center services, since many changes in their areas will impact us, and vice versa.

We decided on this logical separation of operations for the infrastructure and endpoints when we began to manage more video units. We realized that we could simplify operations if both voice and video endpoints were managed by a single team, and this single point of contact would also make it easy for our employees to get help. A few years ago this didn’t make sense: there were voice devices, and video devices, and not much in between. Over the past few years we’ve seen our voice endpoints like IP Phones handle video, seen mobile devices that merge video and voice together, and seen our video and voice platforms integrate and merge together until the dividing line is impossible to draw any more. So merging voice and video infrastructure into one team, and voice and video devices into another, seemed the obvious next step.

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