You are spending too much time manually provisioning end-users in Cisco unified communications. Imagine completing what is usually a 30-minute task in 30 seconds. As a Cisco Preferred Solution Partner, Akkadian Labs creates software that helps unified communications engineers efficiently complete repetitive, manual tasks. Their software facilitates companies’ deployment, adoption and management of Cisco Collaboration, as well as integrating it with other systems within their technology environment. Let’s hear more from, Tom Bamert, the Chief Product Officer at Akkadian Labs through an interview conducted between him and Insights Success.
Tom has over 15 years of experience with Cisco technology. He has helped hundreds of companies deploy solutions to streamline the management of unified communications, with a focus on automating the provisioning process.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
What led to the inception of Akkadian Labs?
Akkadian Labs was spun-off from a Certified Cisco Gold Collaboration partner, whose main focus was helping enterprises adopt Cisco unified communications (UC) solutions. During engagements, we realized that it took a lot of repetitive manual effort to manage the on-going moves, adds changes, and deletes (MACDs) in the Cisco Collaboration suite. We saw an opportunity to develop a solution that would automate these manually intensive, repetitive, and error-prone processes. Thus, we developed our flagship product, Akkadian Provisioning Manager, which helps to streamline the provisioning processes for MACD work, as well as providing other tools to simplify the overall administrative burdens of managing a complex set of UC applications.
Describe the company’s innovative Cisco solutions which address the needs of its customers.
We streamline the administration of Cisco Collaboration across all applications, servers, and clusters, by providing a next generation approach to minimize manual work. Through a single-pane-of-glass architecture, we provide an easy-to-use, turnkey solution that requires no additional modules to purchase and features a highly flexible configuration, so no large professional services engagement is needed to deploy.
Akkadian Provisioning Manager is integrated with all the applications within the Cisco Collaboration suite, including but not limited to CUCM, Unity Connection, Webex Meetings, Webex Teams, Jabber, and call center products (UCCX and Packaged-UCCE). From one screen, for example, the UC Administrator or HelpDesk personnel can quickly and consistently on-board a new employee with minimal data input and without having to directly sign-into each of the Cisco applications that need to be deployed to this new employee.
By completing what would otherwise be a 30-minute task in 30-seconds, our customers generally realize 90% time savings and a 50% cost saving from these efficiencies. Thus, there is a powerful ROI from our solution. Beyond streamlining provisioning, the Akkadian Provisioning Manager platform also includes tools to simplify other aspects of UC management:
- Employee self-service portal – enables employees to reset their voicemail PIN, and manage their own lines, intercoms, and speed dials
- Role-based access – engineers can decide who has access to which jobs and tools
- Visual phone editor – easily rearrange, add, and edit phone settings via a visual representation of most phones
- Remote phone control – access Cisco IP phones to test, place calls, and change settings remotely
- Advanced reporting – use SQL database queries to generate reports from CUCM
- Bulk provisioning – add or delete multiple users from one CSV file
How are the company’s Cisco solutions more advanced compared to other companies’ solutions?
Akkadian Provisioning Manager’s advanced automation capabilities are unique among our competitors. A UC system does not exist in a silo and it needs connections to disparate systems in your technology stack, such as HR, ITSM, identity management and others. Of course, we have a RESTful API which you can use, but we also provide native integrations with Microsoft Active Directory and ServiceNow, enabling full cycle zero-touch provisioning, without any API programming. For example, if an employee submits a ServiceNow ticket to reset their voicemail PIN, Akkadian Provisioning Manager will see this ticket, run a provisioning job to make the changes in Cisco Collaboration, and notify the user. No HelpDesk involvement necessary.
For other systems, our API Triggers make syncing data 3rd party applications easy. For example, when a new employee is on-boarded, after the Cisco Collaboration provisioning job is complete, a trigger updates the employee’s phone number in Microsoft Azure Active Directory.
These process automation enhancements eliminate the need for human intervention to provision your Cisco UC and update other applications. UC engineers and administrators now have an easy way to tie together critical systems within their infrastructure.
Describe in detail the values that drive the company.
Customer service is at the core of our work ethic. We work fast, boldly, with an open mind, and are constantly trying to improve, as we seek to create impact for our customers.
What is your opinion on the necessity for businesses to align their offerings with newer technological developments?
Technology helps to eliminate manual and repetitive busywork, allowing employees to focus more on the creative and strategic work they do. IT teams need to constantly evolve and to jettison waste and move with greater agility and efficiency, to create better outcomes for their stakeholders. Companies who wish to perform competitively ignore technological advancements at their own peril.
What are the company’s future aspirations? What strategies is it undertaking to achieve those goals?
We’re currently evolving to handle hybrid Cisco-Microsoft UC environments, as this becomes more and more common.
We’re also committed to helping our managed services partners to move their customers to the cloud with our MSP Flex Provisioning platform. The question of cloud migration isn’t if, but when, and we’re fully prepared to support them—no matter where they are on their journey. Whether it’s with on-prem, hybrid on-prem/cloud, or full Cisco UCM Cloud, we support all of the Cisco unified communications platforms and are ready to help drive the success of their collaboration business as they migrate their users.
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