Cisco Unified Communications Manager is an advanced platform for integrating business communication technologies such as telephony, video conferencing, presence information, call recording, Web conferencing and messaging. It enables administrators to control unified communications infrastructure supporting up to 40,000 users, making it suitable for even the largest enterprises.
By using Cisco Unified Communications Manager, businesses can manage their communications networks, administer user settings for a variety of collaboration tools and extend these tools to mobile devices. It also enables video capabilities for contact centers.
Cisco offers an API that helps developers create new applications. Additionally, Cisco Unified Communications Manager allows end-users to manage their own settings using an application or an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu. And built-in network monitoring tools enable administrators to ensure a consistently high level of quality for voice and video communications.
The system is available in a number of licensing bundles. User Connect Licensing allows organizations to purchase user licenses for single applications. Unified Workspace Licensing offers bundled collaboration tools priced according to the number of users.
Omar from Whitworth University
The product is very stable, especially since CUCM started running on Linux. It doesn't require constant updates. It is very feature rich, more so with every new version. It's web interfaces are well laid out and intuitive. Tech support from the Cisco TAC CallManager team is usually very good. CUCM interfaces with so many other VoIP products out there, including Microsoft.
Tech support from the Cisco Global Licensing team has not been very good in my experiences. They usually take days to reply, often issue the wrong licenses, and the licensing process seems to be convoluted and constantly changing. Cisco promised that with their new licensing strategy starting with version 9 would be more cost efficient and easier to understand. It has not turned out to be more cost efficient at all. Also, Cisco yearly maintenance is very costly, as well as all their endpoints, much more costly than the average competitor.
Take advantage of Cisco Live presentations as they are very informative and helpful. Don't let Cisco reps try to sell you a more expensive phone than you need, as they were aggressively pushing their very costly camera phones for quite a while. You will have little to no problems interfacing CUCM with other VoIP products.
Robert from Force 3
Specialty: Professional Services
Cisco Unified Communications Manager and its associated products (Unity Connection voicemail, Contact Center Express, etc.) provide a full suite of unified communications and collaboration capabilities. The solution can scale to from SMB to large enterprise and is highly flexible, allowing it to accommodate a wide range of business needs. The latest versions transition both voice and video communication onto a unified platform to drive the ubiquity of video adoption and impact the speed of business. Support for a wide range of endpoints, including PC, tablet, and mobile devices, allows for the adoption of collaboration tools by remote and mobile workers. The product is powerful and lends itself easily to fulfilling business goals.
One of the primary negatives about Cisco UCM would be the cost, especially at smaller scales and when competing against a legacy TDM solution. Even for businesses that are driven primarily by cost though, the additional benefits such as integrated instant messaging, point to point video, and mobile device integration may prove to be enough of a differentiator to justify the extra expense.
Organizations that are interested in managing their own solution will typically need to hire or have on staff a fairly high level engineer, though most IT people would be capable of learning how to handle at least basic moves, adds, and changes. The importance of solid solution architecture and maintenance can not be overstated enough.
Look for opportunities to leverage the collaboration features to resolve organizational pain points and solve business goals. Once you do this then the choice of an extensible next generation platform like Cisco UCM over a legacy TDM solution becomes apparent. A few examples:
- Mobile Remote Access may help you to empower employees to work remotely while still remaining connected with co-workers, helping to satisfy your requirements for a telework initiative.
- Utilizing telepresence endpoints and the collaboration edge architecture to enable video communications across organizational boundaries may help you to reduce travel costs and improve communications with partners, vendors, and customers.
- Utilize IM&P to allow for real time collaboration between employees. Federation allows for standards based chat communications with external entities.