Enabling the Workforce with Cisco Webex Cloud-Connected UC
The last ninety days have transformed business operations, globally. Enterprises are adjusting to the new “work from home” reality and are working around the clock to enable their workforce with the tools they need to be successful. Customers and partners are looking for an easy way to understand how their unified communications usage pattern is changing and how their network is handling the increased traffic load. The need for a single-pane view of business and operational insights is more important now than ever.
This is the first, of a two-part blog series where we will discuss how Cisco is meeting this need, through the introduction of Cisco Webex Cloud-Connected UC, a suite of cloud services that provides global business and operational visibility for our unified communications (UC) customers.
The Unified Communications Landscape
Cisco is the market share leader for on-premises UC, in large part because we have the broadest and deepest UC portfolio. We have helped many on-premises customers migrate their calling and messaging workloads to Cisco cloud offers – Cisco Webex Calling, Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), or Cisco Unified Communications Manager Cloud. For a variety of reasons, many customers intend to continue to operate their UC applications on-premises on their own or their partner’s data centers. We continue to invest and innovate to deliver compelling values for these customers.
Cisco Webex Cloud-Connected UC is one such innovation that enables on-premises customers to reap the benefits of cloud-delivered services while retaining their on-premises investments. For them, it is the best of both worlds. Powerful, agile, innovative management, delivered from the cloud, serving their own secure, reliable, private UC platform.
What is Cisco Webex Cloud-Connected UC?
Cisco Webex Cloud-Connected UC is a suite of cloud services that allow Cisco Unified Communications on-premises customers & partners to connect their UC deployments in their data centers to the Cisco Webex cloud and consume value-added services from the cloud. These services include:
- Management services, that improve the experience of the UC administrator, and
- UC supplemental services, that improve the experience of the enterprise end-users.
In this blog, we will focus on management services. We will cover supplemental services in part two of this series.
UC Management from Webex Control Hub
Our UC customers have been asking for an administrative tool that gives them a centralized, single-pane view of their entire deployments, across regions, in order to simplify their administration. Cisco and other industry vendors offer various UC management products. While these tools were fine for handling management requirements in simpler times, they fall short, when compared with the latest cloud technologies and the rapid innovation cycle offered by cloud services.
Cloud-Connected UC addresses this by centralizing and simplifying the on-premises management workflows on Cisco Webex Control Hub. Now, Control Hub can bring you the “single pane view” for on-premises deployments, in addition to the centralized management it already provides for Webex cloud and edge services.
The initial release of Cloud-Connected UC offers the foundational ability to connect on-premises systems to the cloud to get a rich, global cloud analytics service dashboard. We will build upon this foundation by adding various operational workflows to simplify the life of the UC administrator.
Webex Cloud-Connected UC Analytics
Webex Cloud-Connected UC Analytics provides historical insights into business and operational metrics that will serve customer and partner IT administrators, as well as the IT buyer. Cloud-Connected UC Analytics serves the IT mission by answering the following questions:
For IT Administrators:
- What is the operational health of my clusters & servers?
- What is the Quality of Experience for my users?
- Are there any issues I need to act upon (expired certificates, missing security fixes, etc.)?
For IT buyers:
- How are my assets being utilized? How can I optimize my asset usage?
- Are users adopting and engaging with new endpoints and features?
- Do I need to increase my service capacity to prepare for increased usage?
Tying back to the increased “work from home” usage situation that we started with, the analytics dashboard also provides enterprises the necessary insights to enable work from home usage and manage their users’ return to the office.
Cloud-Connected UC Analytics is built with intelligence to recognize patterns in the historical data, identify potential issues, recommend resolutions, and proactively notify the administrator. We are continuously exploring new ways to leverage cloud technologies, like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing to simplify the life of an administrator. The possibilities are practically unlimited.
To start enjoying the benefits of Webex Cloud-Connected UC, customers/partners need to follow this simple and secure onboarding process:
- Create an organization to gain access to Webex Control Hub
- Download and apply the “cloud connector” software patch on UC infrastructure applications
- Authorize onboarding of the individual UC application nodes.
All future required software modules for services, like Analytics, will be pushed and upgraded from the cloud. Cloud-Connected UC is built to work with Unified Communications Manager Release 11.5 and above.
Data Security and Privacy
Data security and privacy are of the utmost importance to our customers and Cisco. We keep your data protected and secure in the following manner:
- Data is encrypted in transit and at rest. All data is transmitted over secure HTTPS/TLS.
- No Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is sent to the cloud. In the future, customers will have the option of sending PII data to get richer insights.
- Customers have full transparency and control over the data shared with Cisco.
More details are available in our data privacy datasheet.
Our initial Cloud-Connected UC service supports Analytics and we will make this service available in North America in Summer 2020. Global availability will be this fall. Additional services will be made available incrementally, later in the year.
Please watch for a product release announcement and talk to your Cisco account team or partner. We are excited to offer these valuable services to our customers and partners!
To learn more about Webex Cloud-Connected UC, visit our product website here.