Collaboration Network Readiness Assessment (UC & CC)
Cisco's Media Network Readiness Assessment can help you understand the required changes to support additional UC investments to your collaboration platform
Collaboration Network Readiness Assessment (UC / Customer Care)
How reliable is your network?
What you need to know
What is a Network Readiness Assessment?
A Network Readiness Assessment provides a detailed analysis of your foundational network (critical Layers 1 through 3). It addresses network reliability requirements and validates your network’s capacity to deliver desired business outcomes.
Figure 1: Network readiness as a foundation
The goal is to ensure the well-being of your underlying network infrastructure so it is poised to support your collaboration initiatives, in spite of increased user expansion, application usage, and traffic demands.
Identify root problems, gaps, and unforeseen risks in your network environment that could impair performance and frustrate end users
Prevent costly corrective network maintenance, troubleshooting, and downtime
Ensure smooth deployments and allow you to properly scale your users and technology without worry
What to expect
- High-level technical details
- Sample report
Figure 2: Process Summary
Process Summary (4 - 8 weeks)
Depending on the size of the engagement, common Network Readiness Assessments are rolled out differently:
- Large: Includes an assessment of approximately ten sites (two data centers and approximately eight remote sites)
- Medium: Includes an assessment of approximately seven sites (two data centers and approximately five remote sites)
- Small: Includes an assessment of approximately five sites (two data centers and approximately three remote sites)
- Lite: Includes an assessment of approximately three sites (two data centers and approximately one remote site)
Common stakeholders (customer network architecture, collaboration, and customer experience teams) should contribute about 40 percent of their time toward network discovery and conducting tests.
Employees should contribute roughly 40% of their time for network discovery and test conducting
High-level technical details
As part of the readiness assessment, five major areas of compliance, along with other critical network parameters, are studied, documented, and reported on with a 360-degree view. Further requirements will also be taken into consideration, which would lead to additional sections, if necessary.
Table 1: Cisco Network Readiness Assessment service report details
Table 2: Summary legend
Following is a sample Network Readiness Assessment summary for a fictional company, ACME, which is testing its network's capacity and reliability to support new video (Medianet) collaboration tools.
The top section provides a snapshot summary and the bottom goes into further details and recommendations before deployment.
Click on Figure 3 to the right to read the document clearly
Figure 3: Sample Report - Media Network Readiness Assessment
When you should consider a Readiness Assessment
When should I get a Network Readiness Assessment?
Figure 4: Network Readiness Assessment timing
Investing in a readiness assessment can seem like a futile task, especially if you're monitoring it every day. However, the truth is that network support and capacity thresholds are often broken from incremental requirement burdens the network has to shoulder. This means teams would perform corrective maintenance on its network, which ultimately cost more in the end and likely create longer network downtime than if preventative maintenance were performed beforehand. Other popular times to invest are outlined in Figure 4.
"Results show that preventative maintenance represents roughly 10 to 30 percent of total maintenance costs as compared to corrective maintenance."
Kumar, Uday et al. "Preventive and corrective maintenance – cost comparison and cost–benefit analysis." Structure and Infrastructure Engineering Journal: Maintenance, Management, Life-Cycle Design and Performance. Volume 12, Issue 5. 2016.
Can't I do this myself?
- What's in it for me?
1. I monitor my network everyday, why would I need this?
Customer assumptions often lie in the belief that since they have configured the network themselves, they can assess it properly. However, at times teams overlook crucial details across an end-to-end network that need to be addressed from a VoIP or video perspective.
Certain specializations should be required from those who perform the assessment. Example Cisco specializations include:
Advanced Collaboration Architecture Specialization
Master Unified Communications Specialization
Advanced Unified Communications Specialization
If you don’t have one or more of these specializations, there is a strong possibility that important elements will be bypassed and your personal assessment will have inaccurate results.
2. Why wouldn't I just go to a competitor, where it costs less and I don't even have to worry about this?
We stay with our customers to provide full, end-to-end services and to help them find the gaps in their network that could render catastrophic costs if left unaddressed. We'll even help remediate your network if problems are left unaddressed. All of our services, from designing and testing to optimization, will be done under one umbrella, giving you the comfort and convenience you deserve.
Furthermore, our expertise in doing assessments for over 15 years, specifically within the collaboration space, has been an essential factor for most of our customers, who want to ensure that they can implement new voice and video collaboration deployments without risk. The recommendations and best practices we give to customers stem from those 15 years of experience and are proven to guide you to success.
3. Cisco is more expensive. Won't I pay more in the long run?
Cisco is very competitive in pricing and backs it up with our custom tools that have been built to help our customers navigate through both the complexity and ambiguity that often comes with ensuring their network is ready for deployment. We take pride in the fact that we've helped many of our customers prepare for unforeseen risks and hidden gaps that would have normally gone unnoticed.
Whatever your challenges are ahead, we can help you overcome them. Learn how today.
Depending on what your motivations are, a readiness assessment service can help you:
- Scale your voice or video deployment faster, saving you time, energy, and money
- Optimize your network further to ensure it is fully redundant and robust, and able to support mission-critical services
- Proactively assess your network's health and see issues before they arrive
- Stay focused on more important tasks that demand your full attention
- Realize higher network availability and uptime
- Capitalize on best practices to use for the future, helping to ensure your network's long-term health and success
Don't believe us? Check out one of our customer examples on the next page.
Industry: Financial Services
Collaboration Technology: Unified Communications
A global leader in consumer and business credit reporting wanted deploy a Cisco Packaged Contact Center Enterprise (PCCE) solution and move its IPPBX to its centralized data center. However, the Cisco Customer Experience team wanted the company evaluate its existing network beforehand to ensure it could properly handle the new capacity requirements. Reluctantly, the customer agreed, but its executives noted that:
- All bandwidth requirements had been met
- The network was highly redundant
- IP routing was in good shape
- Network devices all met software and hardware requirements
- There were no known issues in the network
The customer expected the Cisco Customer Experience team to run the network readiness assessment and:
- Validate that the network was both ready for deployment and sturdy enough to serve as the foundation for future voice and video expansion
- Uncover any caveats or issues that could pose a threat to the Unified Communications (UC) experience
- Provide guidelines for a seamless network transition from the old IPPBX to Cisco's technologies
- Review the network and provide any hardware and software requirements
The Cisco Customer Experience team began its assessment by first understanding the customer’s business requirements and capturing information related to key sites. After some initial digging, the team identified eight sites and two data centers, all spread across different geographic locations.
Cisco then installed its proprietary software at the first data center to begin the network audit and simultaneously set up a network probe at each of the different eight sites to simulate real-time RTP traffic.
The software's purpose was to generate synthetic traffic and monitor the key parameters (i.e. jitter, delay, packet loss, etc.), which helped the team understand what the challenges or outcomes might be for production traffic.
Results and value proposition
The assessment identified that the IP routing between the key sites was not configured properly and convergence time was too high so that it caused network packet drops. It also helped to identify that:
Quality of service (QoS) was deployed 7-8 years prior and never revisited for real-time applications (voice and video)
Network load-balancing had issues
Bandwidth was not configured properly to handle the amount of traffic to be deployed
Multiple devices were found running end-of-sale software and only a few of those were identified as end of life announced by Cisco.
The assessment uncovered gaps in the customer's hardware and software lifecycle process for Cisco devices. It also:
- Helped the customer to better understand the requirements for successful UC deployment
- Set a baseline that can be leveraged for future deployments
- Alerted the customer to update the QoS and network policies for better user experience
Although the customer was initially hesitant on investing extra money into an assessment, it found that its network would have likely crashed with the new deployment if it had ignored Cisco's recommendation. This would have cost millions and would have required an all-hands-on-deck effort to fix the problem.
On a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being "very helpful"), how helpful was this document to you?
© 2019 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. To view a list of Cisco trademarks, go to this URL: www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company. (1110R)