We take simple tools such as the speedometer and fuel gauge in our car for granted. In fact, the whole dashboard provides us crucial information with quick and ready access as we drive. With a simple glance, we can tell if we are speeding, need gas or if our engine requires service.
The dashboard model – providing a quick, real-time view of current performance in a visual format – has become a growing trend in IT lately. As metrics and analytics advance, businesses are able to get more granular in how we measure results. While that’s providing tremendous insight for decisions, it can also create data overload. Organizing the crucial ‘need-to-know’ metrics into a visual format provides the bigger picture, which helps businesses make better decisions. Quicker!
This is a great analogy for Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS). As businesses migrate to cloud communications, HCS has become a highly attractive offering. But there are so many moving parts that need to be managed, with metrics for each stage, that service providers need an easier way to understand status for each project to keep everything efficiently on track.
For a typical HCS service provider, you might have a team of engineers working on multiple customer deployments simultaneously, each at different stages. You have infrastructure build-out, Unified Communication (UC) Apps build-out, configuration and onboarding, Day-2 operations, etc. Meanwhile the sales teams are busy working on up-selling new services to the current customers while also working on new leads.
This adds an element of planning from a capacity perspective as infrastructure is an expensive commodity, shared across all customers in an HCS setup. New business is often a priority and with a plethora of sales activities, it is easy to overlook Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as capacity, licensing and performance within the HCS setup.
While each HCS component generates valuable data to manage the project, it is challenging to consume and understand it at a higher level to see how it all fits together. This is where a dashboard could greatly simplify decisions with a real-time snapshot that can drive decisions. Where are the bottlenecks? Can we prioritize this infrastructure task over that onboarding activity?
Typically vendors do not provide applications or tools that capture all of this data in real-time. In fact, quite a few service providers have indicated to tekVizion that a visualization solution that tracks data from all the moving parts in real-time would be a significant advantage, greatly accelerating deployment.
We took that feedback to heart and have created a visual dashboard that brings together all of the HCS components with real-time metrics presented visually. Just as we quickly understand current speed, fuel level, mileage and even emergency indicators such as when the engine needs service by looking at the dashboard on our car, the tekVizion dashboard offers strategic information needed to keep an HCS engine moving efficiently.
We are starting to roll out this dashboard to service providers and early feedback has been highly positive. It’s all part of our onPOINT automation platform to help businesses track progress, understand where they need to course correct and ultimately meet deadlines.
We are calling it onPOINT.CapacityDashboard and will be previewing this along with other solutions at CiscoLive Europe in Barcelona later this month. In the meantime, feel free to contact me to learn more and stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.