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Using Mobility to free you from the desktop – What we’ve gained by deploying Cisco Unified Mobility

April 18, 2011 - 1 Comment

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.

Positive User Response Delivers the Power of Unification

We asked our employees, through a user survey, what they thought of our Cisco Unified Mobility deployment. As expected, nearly all users gave high ratings to Single Number Reach. Employees report their productivity has increased by up to 30 minutes each week, by being reachable more quickly and easily, and by having a single voicemail service to check each day.  My guess is that the people with the greatest productivity gains were not the people who configured SNR themselves, but the people who were calling them and got them on the first try.

Our users also reported these other benefits:

  • They reduced or stopped using phone-based call forwarding, pagers, and voicemail greetings that ask the caller to dial another number
  • They no longer needed to check mobile or alternate voice mailboxes to retrieve Cisco business messages
  • They no longer needed to distribute multiple contact numbers, just their Cisco business number

For me, the biggest benefit is the ability to be always accessible to the team without trying.  It used to be standard practice to proactively tell everyone you were going to be on your mobile during a certain window, or reachable at this number for time off, etc. Keeping the group up to date as where you were at any given time was a little distracting.  Now, people just call you at your regular office number and they reach you… it is as simple as that.

Next week, I’ll describe how we deployed Cisco Unified Mobility for Cisco around the world, and what we learned about how to deploy the service.

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  1. Chris, well stated. I am a SNR user. The ability to give a single number for reaching me, and confident that calls will also ring on my cell phone, has improved my one-time call connections and, allows me to stay connected while mobile. Not clear to me why anyone would not use this capability.