Interestingly, one of the more common administration questions I get when I work with people is related to helping to find a way to associate different things together within Communication Manager. Their specific examples are when their users might have multiple extensions for different things. A common one is an executive who has a some kind of desk phone as well as a separate conference phone on a table in their office. Or maybe it’s a technician who has a deskphone and a separate analog port for a modem. Or maybe a business employee, who is also a contact center agent with an Agent ID. Sometimes we even get requests for a user to have multiple conference bridges. Everyone would LOVE a way to associate those multiple things together, associating these additional items with the user’s main extension. The answer is generally a sad “no.” This usually forces the telecom admin to maintain some kind of Excel spreadsheet where they can keep track of these things together. Some of our CC experts told me there are ways to run a command line report that will show me what extensions each currently logged in agent is using (i.e. list agent staffed and monitor bcms skill), but that’s only for agents (not conference phones or modems) and it only gives you a list of agents currently logged in.
Fortunately, System Manager addresses this for us. It takes advantage of that UC concept that I’ve talked about in the past, where everything revolves around a “User,” NOT an extension. Sadly, in the old PBX world, admins don’t really think of users as human beings. They think of them as Extensions (i.e. phone numbers). If a person I'm working with ever disagrees with this, a simple scenario proves it out. Let’s say a manager comes to you and says that John is being terminated and his phone must be deactivated immediately. What is your first follow up question specific to shutting down that phone? Is it, “What’s John’s last name?” Nope, it won’t do you any good with ASA or the Terminal emulation SAT interface. You will always ask, “What’s their extension?” That’s likely the only piece of information you need to finish the task. But this focus on the extension gets us in trouble with trying to do anything in a unified or connected way.
Again, System Manager gives us the ability to move to true user-based administration. Now, you are a user first, that happens to have an extension. A user that happens to have a voice mailbox. A user that has a conference bridge. Etc. Your user account can have various identifiers (called Communication Addresses) and various resources (ie CM extentions, voicemail accounts, conference bridges, presence profiles, etc.) assigned to you. All of these things get assigned to a “Communication Profile,” the default of which is called “Primary.” You can actually name it whatever you want, but it defaults to Primary. The cool part is that you can add multiple Communication Profiles to a single user. Each Communication Profile has their own options for extensions, voicemail, conference bridges, etc. But all are tied to a single “User.”
This has a ton of advantages. The obvious is that the administrator can go to one place to administer all of that user’s stuff. System Manager will go to whatever adjunct is needed to perform any specific tasks. If the administrator wants to delete the “user,” they simply go into System Manager and delete the user. System Manager will go to every adjunct and delete ALL of the resource accounts associated with that user.
I wanted to give you a quick visual to this since not everyone gets to see these products and management tools up close and personal. So, this should help add some “real life” to this story. Here is a screen shot of my user.
I already had my “Primary” Communication Profile that contains everything related to my main phone number of 4563507. I also already had a second Communication Profile called “confphone” that I tied a second Communication Manager endpoint/extension to it. For fun, I added an analog port that I could use for a Modem (which has its own TDM port and extension). And I added an Agent ID, with a template of skills already created and assigned to me. I only show the Communication Profile for the AgentID, but if I were to click on each profile, I would see a completely different set of resources that I could assign to my user. And again, deleting the user, would delete every one of those items (ie 2 SIP phones, 1 analog phone, and 1 Call Center AgentID). Pretty cool. And no, you don’t have to be a SIP user to be administered in System Manager. System Manager can manage analog phones, digital phones, H.323, SIP, etc. So, if you're looking for better ways to link various Aura things to a single user, and trust me you do, then start thinking about Aura System Manager for user administration.
About the Author
Vice President, Strategy and TechnologyMore Content by David Lover
David Lover leads the strategy for our core Enterprise Communications portfolio. He focuses on products and solutions to address the customer needs of Unified Communications and Collaboration, Customer Experience, CEBP, and End-User Adoption.
David works closely with the product marketing and development teams of our top partners to understand their strategy, and while representing Arrow SI and their customers, collaborate with those teams to provide guidance and feedback to shape the future direction of those partners’ portfolios. He uses these relationships and set of product knowledge to work with Arrow Systems Integration teams to be in alignment with the total portfolio strategy. As a member of Arrow Systems Integrations executive leadership team, he works with every part of the business.