The Fellowship of the Unified Communications Ring: or How the Latest Release of UC Command Suite Offers Cross-Platform Analytics on Productivity

A Skype for Business administrator, Exchange/newly-minted Office 365 messaging manager and a Cisco UC engineer walk into a bar after a long day of management, reporting and troubleshooting. Together, this unlikely group has formed the Fellowship of the Unified Communications ring, their mission to bring user, partner, customer, and vendor communications in union.

Image credit: Rosana Prada Licensed under: CC BY 2.0


This could be a bad joke or a really awful play on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth story if this scenario wasn’t all too common in organizations today.

In an effort to unify and enable communications, organizations find that they deploy many different communication systems to meet this need. They create a fellowship, which at times works well and is justified to work together and at other times causes more confusion among users and creates more headaches for the IT team managing these disparate and at times competing systems (think Boromir’s desires for the ring vs. the Fellowship’s agenda).

With organizations spending a lot of precious Middle Earth ore to deploy and manage these unified communication solutions, including Microsoft Exchange, Skype for Business / Lync, Office 365 and Cisco Unified Communications Manager, they still lack the insights to determine if the goals of their UC investment are being met.

  • Who is using it?  How are they using it?
  • Which department needs more training on which features?
  • Are users adopting the go-forward UC platform or are they still using the old UC platform?
  • Is the system operating as it should or are some features running so slow that users are abandoning it?
  • What hardware do we need for an upcoming system upgrade and what data should we prioritize in the migration?
  • Are users adhering to communication policies in customer engagements?

Disparate communication systems usually come with their own administrators, making it hard to get an accurate picture of usage and workforce activity across your environment.

Dell UC Command Suite brings harmony to the Fellowship

With the latest release of Dell Unified Communications Command Suite (v8.1), the market’s only solution to offer analytics and diagnostics across Microsoft Exchange and Lync now offers additional support for Skype for Business, Office 365 for Exchange Online and Cisco Unified Communications Manager. Significantly, this greatly enhances three valuable benefits of UC Command Suite:

  • Streamlines the complexity of UC management across several platforms: Pulls together Exchange, Office 365 for Exchange Online, Skype for Business / Lync and Cisco UC Manager insights into one aggregated analytics solution, offering organization a chance to get a high level view of their entire communications system.
  • Guides organizations through pre-migration assessments and post migration analytics: With Exchange 2016 on the horizon and Skype for Business 2015 out, organizations will be evaluating their migration and consolidation plans. With UCCS, these same organizations will gain insights into what should be moved and prioritized and how to anticipate capacity planning for the future environment as well as a solution to provide on-going usage, adoption trends and quality of experience reporting post-migration/consolidation.
  • Enhances organization ability to gain insights into workforce activity and communication consumption: Users send the craziest stuff in email, often times these messages knowingly or unknowingly violate company communication policies and data leak prevention practices. UCCS enables organizations to monitor DLP violations from Exchange 2013 or other unusual behavior, mitigating legal risks and public embarrassment.

Throughout the next few days and weeks, I’ll be blogging more in-depth about each of those above points. To learn how to take command of your various communication systems, download this Technical Brief: “Take command of your UC systems: From adoption to quality of experience and system resolution.”