Given the long Unify Square history of Skype for Business deployment, monitoring and management, we’ve seen countless examples of how UC system problems can negatively impact usage and adoption. For end users, call quality may be one of the leading factors contributing to high levels of Skype for Business satisfaction. If users are unable to experience a crystal clear call, they’ll simply find another way to communicate. The quality of a call can be determined by many different factors given the complexity of the total Skype for Business ecosystem – audio devices, PC endpoints, drivers, multiple networks, etc. Each organization will have its own unique set of issues, and the information needed to address those issues usually is not quickly and easily discoverable using normal out of the box tools and solutions. That’s where Unify Square enters the picture. The powerful combination of PowerSuite operations software utilized by our PowerAssurance smart remote managed services provides enterprises with a unique mix of solutions and skill set to troubleshoot the toughest UC challenges.
Identify the Culprit
Unify Square’s PowerAssurance team was recently put to the test by one of our customers—a large multi-national headquartered in the Seattle area, with thousands of Skype for Business users worldwide. Leveraging our first and best ‘team member’, PowerSuite — Unify Square’s integrated Skype for Business operations software suite — the PowerAssurance team quickly noticed that the customer was experiencing very poor audio quality when users joined conferences over a cellular carrier data network. Although these bad cell calls only comprised a maximum of 20% of all poor calls, the issue was leading to high end user dissatisfaction with the overall Skype for Business experience—especially within the leadership team who use cellular devices more than the rest of the organization due to convenience and travel requirements. In fact, prior to bringing the Unify Square PowerAssurance team on board, end users had been complaining internally about poor voice quality for some time, but their internal Skype for Business team lacked the bandwidth, software and expertise necessary to locate and solve the issue on their own.
Having established and validated the problem, the next step was to determine which of the customer’s users were joining conferences from their cellular devices. Because current PowerSuite solutions do not go quite deep enough to expose the level of call detail required for this unique query, an additional level of telemetry was needed. An early beta version of a new PowerSuite solution, Call Explorer, was called off the bench by the team and put to work. Call Explorer allowed the team to easily generate some real-time complex queries in the Skype for Business SDN database which surfaced call records that matched this specific cellular user scenario.
With the list of users joining conferences over their cellular carrier data networks now in hand, the customer’s IT team was faced with a decision. Many of their VIP users were utilizing cellular devices, but these same devices were, in large part, to blame for their organization’s decreasing Skype for Business call quality. The customer (based on the PowerAssurance teams’ feedback) ultimately made the decision to not allow VoIP calls over a cellular data network. Instead a policy was put in place for cellular users to utilize Skype for Business’s dial back feature. The Skype for Business dial back feature requires all cell calls to be treated as regular PSTN network calls instead of allowing them to be pushed through bandwidth-hogging data networks.
Armed with the list of VIP cellphone users on Skype for Business, the customer reached out to those specific individuals in order to educate them on the impact this type of usage was having on call quality across their networks. They were proactively informed of the policy change and were provided with information on the new process and what the experience would be like for them personally. When this policy was put into place, the immediate results were astounding. PowerSuite’s Service Health solution validated that this poor call scenario had dropped to zero.
The combination of Unify Square’s PowerSuite operations software and the PowerAssurance team made it possible to quickly and easily diagnose Skype for Business and identify a core call quality and end user satisfaction issue. Their new cellular usage policy has now been in place for close to two months, and the customer is extremely happy with the results. The users who had found it not only convenient, but necessary to participate in calls with their cellular devices, were able to continue to do so without impacting call quality for the rest of the company.
Though this specific scenario may not be one that bedevils every organization, this is a prime example of how Unify Square’s smart remote managed services team assists customers in surfacing key actionable insights relating to their Skype for Business systems. Every organization will inevitably have their own unique and niche UC scenarios and issues, and PowerAssurance, utilizing PowerSuite automated software solutions, is a powerful way to deliver the granular details and customized information needed to address each specific Skype for Business use case.