Cisco Cloud Management BE4000
Business Edition 4000 are servers for VoIP phone systems. They are purpose-built for small and midsize businesses with industry-leading Cisco Unified Communications Manager. Currently, the admins and end users rely heavily on partner services to setup, manage and troubleshoot their phone systems for day to day tasks which led to increased costs and time.
While the initial setup is performed by the partners through a “partner Portal”, the ongoing management still needed their involvement. Customers could use a phone interface to perform some management tasks, it was time consuming and complex. Partner services proved to be costly, and were seen as deterrent to adoption of the solution; especially for small to mid size businesses who did not have IT teams managing their environment.
From an experience perspective, we wanted to simplify the day to day management tasks through cloud-hosted portal for IT Admins. The goal was to reduce time and cost on partnder services, while reducing the overall complexity of managing phone systems.
We kick-started the project, with a 3-day workshop with cross-functional teams including Product Managers, Engineers, Designers and Researchers. The goal was to create alignment between the cross-functional teams, while getting a better understanding of the key tasks that customers would go through in this portal. We used partner portal as the baseline for understanding the configuration and management tasks.
Through this workshop, we were able to share a common understanding of the problem scope — we categorized the customer tasks into three categories based on frequency and customer skill levels:
1. Common tasks, that customers often called partner services for, and could be easily provided in the portal.
2. Advanced tasks, that most of our bigger customers perform with the technical expertise, and are not that frequent.
3. System level changes, that could be done only by our partners with enough knowledge of the environment.
A high level startegy was made, based on our assumptions and internal knowledge with the product teams, to help our customers lower their office communication management costs.
The team marched towards creating initial design proposals, to validate and get a better understanding of customer needs from the portal. Our idea was to keep the portal highly task oriented, so that our customers can get in and out quickly, accomplishing their common tasks. We were looking for feedback on the common tasks, overall experience direction and nomenclature that the product teams were comfortable with.