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Provisioning: the 1-click user management
Hired a new employee but no idea how to grant access to their voice-mail? Tired of opening tickets because your employee’s phonebook entry is wrong? Well, here comes the answer to it.
Tags: Frink  services  Human Factors  Business Factors  Tech Factors  business relevance  usability  provisioning  optimization  incident detection  failure analysis   big data  webex 
User lifecycle – what the heck?

But let’s take a look at an employee called John first, to understand the term“user lifecycle”:

Imagine you’re working in the HR department of a company. John recently joined the Customer Support Service Desk and his lifecycle in your company starts.
First, you need to setup numerous accounts for John: an account for his computer, one for his company email, he most likely needs a desk phone and a voice mail account as well. A bunch of tickets and two weeks later, John finally has a fully set-up work environment and the first and probably hardest part of John’s user lifecycle has been completed.
However, one year later, John gets offered a job as a supervisor of the service desk. Good for John, but more work for you. Because now John needs a WebEx account and his job description in the phone book needs to be updated as well.
Another year goes by and John decideds to get married and -romantic as he is- accepts his wife’s last name. Again: good for John, not so good for you.

A circle that goes on and on – but you get the picture of a user lifecycle's characteristics: it is highly time consuming to maintain such a lifecycle, errors can happen along the way and throughout the years the data worsens with every milestone of the lifecycle. Plus: the “John issue” increases exponentially with the number of “Johns” you hire, the applications they are using, and the number of employees you need to maintain all their lifecycles.

But that's where Provisioning comes in: it not only helps to clean up that the huge amount of user data but also straightens the process of the user lifecycles, with significantly less human resources.

What is Provisioning?

Provisioning simply means “to provide something” - nothing more, nothing less. When we talk about provisioning in the collaboration field, it usually means to provide a user with their equipment for a fully set-up working place. Ideally, this is done by a high-level automated process with 1-click management.

Although provisioning can have many aspects, it actually is just a little bit of software which has at least one input and one output channel:

* On the input side, the user’s information must be entered. A provisioning solution should be able to manipulate, reorder or overwrite the data – exactly as needed for the output side.
* And on the output side, the now correct and consolidated data gets automatically pushed to multiple collaboration systems (e.g. WebEx, CUCM, LDAP, …).
The beginnings and next steps

Following the trend of unified communications, Cisco noticed the upcoming issues with maintaining tons of user-related data and started to offer multiple APIs (Application Programming Interface) for their Collaboration Systems. These APIs enable companies to write their own piece of software which will then handle the whole procedure of provisioning.

Today, there is almost an unlimited range of capabilities to be implemented in user provisioning: from automatically fetching the information from a user database to pushing it into the collaboration applications.
The launch of a comprehensive web interface allows managers to maintain their employees’ data, and end-users to handle some processes (e.g. reset their password) on their own (so called “self-care portal”) which, as a result, will improve the quality of data even more.

With these possibilities the whole idea of user provisioning reaches the next level. Now companies are able to integrate user provisioning within their business processes, and to maintain the users’ data for different systems with one simply click.
- No tickets are needed
- No manual interaction is necessary (e.g. set up a user manually in a specific system)
- You provide a fully set-up workplace within minutes
- You add/remove features for a user instantly
- Consistent data is spread over all systems
- You combine business processes and existing data with the provisioning system
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Provisioning – the 1-click user management is available at Frink Advanced Services. For more information please get in touch here.
Editorial Team: Claudia Kaefer, Christina Forster
In the last few years unified communication and collaboration have moved more and more into the spotlight of our work lives. As a result employers are forced to set up user accounts in many different applications and systems – which then not only can increase the potential for trouble and confusion but also requires a very time consuming maintainance of their lifecycles.
If you know that feeling and have ever wished for all these things to be done automatically – here is good news for you. It can. And it's not a wish, it's ‘Provisioning’.