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Essential Skills for Today’s Unified Communications Operations Staff

Just a decade ago, supporting enterprise voice services was simpler, our voice operations support scope was smaller, and one person could be proficient in everything you needed to know for voice operations. But as IP telephony capabilities grew into Unified Communications, the skills our engineers had to be proficient in grew exponentially.

Today, we support UC systems and collaboration platforms, both on traditional hardware and now on virtualized server platforms (Cisco UCS). We still support phones and softphones, but now we also support mobility services, video phones and mobile devices like the Cisco Cius, voice and video conferencing, menus of phone-based services, and ever-more sophisticated customer support tools in our contact centers. There are now so many things within the scope of the UC systems that we manage that it would be extremely difficult in an enterprise the size of Cisco to be an expert in everything. So, individuals on our voice operations team need to specialize.

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Grow Your Business with the New Partner Readiness and Support eBook

I guess the age-old saying is true, great ideas come to those who “think outside the box.”

The Worldwide Partner Readiness and Support team did just that and incorporated the old “Partner Enablement (PE) in a Box” PowerPoint slides into a new, interactive eBook to help increase your productivity and sales. Not only is it packed with useful information to help partners successfully and profitably sell, deliver, and support Cisco Architectures and Solutions, but it’s also easy to use.

The eBook separates partner programs and tools into five convenient sections organized by selling stage. Each section includes: Read More »

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Cisco IT’s Strategy for Cisco Unified Communications Manager Upgrades

Cisco IT maintains about 21 Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) clusters to support  150,000 hardware phones and 51,000 software phones used by our global employees, contractors and contact center agents.  In general, Cisco IT likes to stay up to date, and upgrades to most major releases of the Cisco UCM as soon as possible – frequently this occurs before the code is available to our external customers.  We do this to take advantage of new features and to help the product developers identify needed improvements before the release is made available to customers.

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Kudos for Cisco.com’s Support “Mega Menu”

As you’ll remember from Bill Skeet’s post the other day, we recently rolled out a new menu for Support that focuses on the top tasks our customers do on Cisco.com.  This menu is available on virtually every page — it’s that little window that appears when you hover your cursor over the “Support” menu link.

new support MegaMenu

Well, web analysts SiteIQ have been watching, and have some very nice things to say in their new blog post about the Support Mega Menu.

My favorite quote in the article hints nicely at the balance we try to achieve on Cisco.com:

“Support is a different animal than marketing. It is truly task-based. More access is key—the quicker the better. That requires functionality, scannability, and a nod towards popularity. This is where Cisco.com gets it—and the gold.”

Congrats to the Support web team for this very nice (and on target) review.

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The Myth of Basic Warranty: Myth # 5 of the Good-Enough Network

In this week’s installation of the Myths of the Good-Enough Network series, Mike Rau explores misconceptions that surround the basic warranty.

Mike points out that all service contracts and warranties are not created equal, especially when it comes to networking. As a rule of thumb, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, you never realize how good a service contract is until you need it.  His recommendation:  Be prepared and look at the fine print.

Here’s a quick recap of the article.

Basic Questions Only: With “good-enough” vendors such as HP, a warranty service call is limited to answering only the most basic questions. More often than not, they will ask questions along the lines of, “Have you tried rebooting your switch?” If that doesn’t work, the vendor simply ships a replacement.

No Troubleshooting: The majority of warranties do not include troubleshooting at all. Yet network and configuration issues account for 70% of support center calls where service is often provided on a first-come first-served basis, with no effort to prioritize calls.

TCO Calculations: If a company makes that narrow calculation of upfront discounts on products and maintenance, they are not looking at the total operating environment that they’re actually creating and overall TCO.

Impact of Downtime: Companies lose an average of 3.6% of revenue per year to downtime, according to an Infonetics Research report “The Costs of Enterprise Downtime.” Unplanned downtime also damages the reputation of the business, a significant cost even if it is difficult to quantify.

Smart Services to the Rescue: To provide customers proactively identify and address network problems Cisco has invested aggressively in smart services capabilities.  These software-enabled technical and professional services proactively seek out, diagnose, and remediate issues before they even become problems. This can dramatically improve the uptime of networks as well as the user experience.

Sound interesting?  Read the full article on Silicon Angle:  Myths #5 of the Good-Enough Network:  “Basic Warranty” Myth


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