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Capturing the Users’ Experience of Unified Communications

Published: 25 July 2017

As more businesses come to depend on Unified Communications like Cisco’s UC suite and Microsoft’s Skype for Business, having a clear view into the quality of the users’ experience has become essential. This ensures both providers and users have an early warning of any degradation of calls, videos and voice quality.

A bonus of some UC platforms is that they automatically collect an array of ‘quality of user experience’ metrics. Unfortunately, it seems that obtaining these metrics from Cisco are difficult. When ‘continual synthetic monitoring’ is added on top, faults can be detected and corrected, even when the UC system is not in use, and most importantly, at a time when it is not required to perform flawlessly.

In addition to watching over call quality and the quality of experience, monitoring a UC system also helps quantify who is making use of its various features and getting the most out of the UC tools – and how that use is changing over time. If there are users reluctant to engage with the UC tools, when the quality of experience is high for example, it may point to management and training deficiencies.

Whilst UC analytics is invaluable to service providers in ensuring quality of services and user experience, it is equally valued by enterprise managers who need to verify that they are getting value for money and a return on their UC investment. Having provided UC facilities across their enterprise, these managers want to know that the solution is right-sized, from a capacity and call quality point of view, that it is being used effectively by the organisation and that when people use it, they get their work done without interruption.

This requires service providers to present UC analytics in a graphical format that their business users can understand. There’s no point having lots of figures and databases if they require extensive analysis by expert technicians.

Information from some UC systems can be presented in technical terms, but the question is – can they present the performance in business terms that can be understood by non-technical decision makers managing the business?