A few decades ago, the most powerful tool in PBX administration was the punch-down tool. Most moves, adds, or changes (MACs) required a technician to move wires and re-punch them with a punch-down tool.
Today, software does all this. Instead of punching wires, administrators punch keys on a keyboard. While some IT administration processes have been automated, such as automated account creation via Identity Managers, enterprise communications remain largely manual and can take days to process.
Many communication system vendors offer “single pane of glass” features, but many are still inherently manual processes. It’s even more challenging in multi-vendor environments due to totally different approaches, myriad certifications, and the challenges associated with integration and synchronization.
Even the newest, state-of-the-art solutions for communications, collaboration, and contact centers remain inherently manual and oblivious of other systems. Despite the best of intentions, large enterprises require multiple systems to solve their unique needs. The operational capability that got us here is not the transformational capability we need for tomorrow.
Time Is Money
MACs are not the problem — it’s the time and effort to complete them that are the enemy. Most enterprises find it takes on average about 30 minutes or $50-$75 to complete a MAC request (which may involve several tasks), with an SLA of 2-3 days to resolve the request. Those dollar amounts add up quickly for large enterprises with thousands of MAC requests per month. It gets worse when the MACs involve multiple systems and thus multiple skills from an administrator.
The solution is to automate communications management workflows. Most MAC transactions can be automated by leveraging existing interfaces to related systems.
Follow the Work
MAC transactions are not created in a vacuum — they are part of a business process such as on-boarding a new employee or off-boarding a terminated employee. These business events trigger workflows composed of multiple tasks. Some of those IT-related tasks are already automated, such as account creation in Active Directory, email, and other business applications. But for some reason, automation stops when it comes to communications management, and that part of the workflow becomes a manual process.
Given the extensive interfaces available to connect to communication systems, there is no reason that the full business process, including creation and configuration of communication resources, should not be completely automated.
Automation Drives Digital Transformation
- Staff efficiency
- Completeness of documentation and reporting
- Resource utilization
- Capabilities of less-senior staff
Automation is more accessible than most enterprises realize. It’s a sad irony that automation is often put off because the teams are too busy to deal with problem. If the team is too busy, automation should be a priority.
But the most significant benefit of automation is digitally transforming administration workflows and allowing IT resources to benefit from software, just as many IT systems benefit IT customers. Dave Michels, Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz, believes, “Automation is one of the most critical steps an IT organization can take with regards to enterprise communications. The adoption of automation platforms is fairly obvious; what’s missing is awareness. Most IT organizations are unaware that these platforms exist. Those that are aware, automate.”
While most large enterprises face similar communication management challenges, automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every organization and industry vertical has its own nuances. Typically, the more complex the environment, the greater the business benefit, and the stronger the case for automation.