Do you work on your way into the office in the mornings? Many business professionals make phone calls on their mobile devices as they are commuting into their offices. Cisco enables collaboration tools that allow a user to take the same mobile voice call and transfer it to a video device without having to hang up and call back in. Read More »
I use my desk phone only about once a day, but most callers still reach me on their first try. How is this possible? With Cisco Unified Mobility: Single Number Reach (SNR), a feature that allows me to control how incoming calls are sent to my desk, mobile, or soft phones.
Although this SNR feature has been supported on Cisco Unified Communications Manager for many years, recent versions that we’ve been testing on the Cisco ACE network extend it to all of the phones and video endpoints I use in my work.
Most ACE network users are salespeople, so SNR is a great tool for helping them stay in touch, especially when traveling, working away from the office or during the holidays. With this in mind, we conducted a study that showed that Cisco could potentially gain the value of more than US $130 million per year from improved productivity by adopting SNR — and that is only taking salespeople into account!
Using Mobility to free you from the desktop – What we’ve learned about deploying Cisco Unified Mobility
Last week, I described what Cisco Unified Mobility is and what it does for me and the other thousands of employees at Cisco. Today, let me tell you about the deployment process and what we learned.
Cisco IT Implementation
Cisco Unified Mobility requires our Cisco Unified Communications Managers to be on version 7.1 or above, and we started deploying the service soon after we’d upgraded to 7.1. We deployed Cisco Unified Mobility in each of our 13 Cisco Unified Communications Manager clusters, rolling out the service on a site-by-site basis. This gradual transition process helped to smooth the impact of supporting users and the potential for spikes in outbound calls as employees began working with the SNR feature. At first, we worried that a large number of calls going out to mobile phones from Cisco sites might overwhelm smaller outbound trunks, but so far we haven’t seen any problems there. Also, our gradual site-based rollout made it easy to avoid countries that do not allow outbound calling from our private VoIP network to the PSTN (primarily in the Middle East, and in India).
One implementation decision may be a surprise:
A lot of our employees, especially salespeople, seem to work everywhere except at their desks. Reaching them used to mean making multiple calls to multiple numbers, and leaving messages at each one. And waiting for an important phone call sometimes meant that you were tied to your desk until it came through.
Now, with Single Number Reach (SNR) — a feature of Cisco Unified Mobility — I can receive business calls wherever I want to be reached at the moment--at my desk, at home, or on my mobile phone. And if I can’t answer, Cisco Unified Mobility gets all my messages sent to a single voicemail box. There’s also a Mobility feature that lets me transfer calls from my office phone to my mobile phone, and back again – without anyone on the other end knowing I’ve changed phones. This helps when I pick up an important call at my desk, but need to take care of something that takes me away from the desk phone. Sometimes I’ve got to get in the car and can use my Bluetooth headset to finish the conversation.
My current SNR profile is configured to route calls to my mobile inside of normal working hours, and then to push them to voicemail on weekends. I even have an access control list (ACL) to allow my manager’s calls to pass through to the mobile number at any day/hour. He does respect normal work hours but we do know emergencies happen from time to time and it is important to be accessible.
All of these Cisco Unified Mobility features were made available to 80,000 phones in our company, by activating them on in our eighteen production Unified Communications server clusters around the world. The truly impressive thing about the Cisco Unified Mobility service is that it can scale to companies of any size. The benefits to the individual user apply no matter if you are an 8 or 80,000 person company. Mobility benefits the individual most.
From our deployment activity, we learned valuable lessons for our customers about implementation decisions, feature adoption by users, and the resulting business benefits.