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Prepare Phase Details Page


Preparation Phase

This phase typically lasts several weeks. The purpose of this phase is to spend time understanding what the current voice messaging system offers, taking a look at current voicemail usage behavior, and then capturing that as the requirements that Cisco Unity must meet.


GOAL: Develop project timelines, solution requirements and create a preliminary design. 

T1.1  Develop an overall project overview and plan. Why? Example More Info

      T1.1.1  Identify the "Compelling Event" -- capture and document the high-level project plan, goal or objective for the project.

      T1.1.2  Determine critical timelines -- identify the critical dates and any major technical and stakeholder roadblocks.

      T1.1.3 Identify team players -- who is the project sponsor at the customer, project team at the customer, Cisco team, partner team?

T1.2  Define and develop solution requirements. Why? Example More Info

      T1.2.1 Make a first pass at collecting solution requirements.

           T1.2.1.1 Start by developing high-level system requirements (for example, the solution must replace a legacy voicemail system).

           T1.2.1.2 Document the network availability and redundancy requirements for the overall system, including hardware and software.

           T1.2.1.3  Document any high level integration requirements.

           T1.2.1.4  Document any migration requirements for the overall system.

           T1.2.1.5  Document and understand how business-level requirements will impact the proposed solution.

           T1.2.1.6  Identify critical business units.

           T1.2.1.7  Determine the customer support model and support requirements for the overall system.

           T1.2.1.8 Determine the high-level training requirements. High-level training requirements should cover the necessary user and administration training that will be needed. It is important to factor in number of users, how to address geographically dispersed users, available online tools, and types of users who will have specialized needs.

      T1.2.2 Review the requirements and develop acceptance criteria that determine which requirements are mandatory, and what is acceptable or unacceptable for each requirement.

      T1.2.3 Match the requirements to Cisco Unity's capabilities.  Determine which requirements can be met, and which cannot.

      T1.2.4 Finalize the decision.  Determine if a Cisco Unity solution can meet the mandatory requirements and acceptance criteria.

      T1.2.5 Create a rough timeline for the project based on a review of the requirements you've developed.

T1.3  Put together a preliminary design proposal. Why? Example More Info

      T1.3.1  Perform a site survey.

           T1.3.1.1 Gather existing documentation, such as directions to each site, site maps, descriptions of network centers, descriptions of the physical network topology at each site, and any other documentation related to the architecture at each customer location.

           T1.3.1.2  Perform an equipment survey.

           T1.  Determine the current number of voice-messaging systems, and the number of voice-messaging systems to be replaced.

           T1.  Identify the quantity and location of circuit-switched PBXs or CallManager clusters to be used by Cisco Unity.

           T1.  Identify the quantity and location of messaging systems to be used by Cisco Unity.

           T1.  Identify the quantity and location of other messaging components to be used by Cisco Unity (AD, DC, GC, DNS).

           T1.  Identify any voicemail networking requirements.

      T1.3.2 Create a deployment model specification. Determine which deployment model combinations you will employ. You might end up with multiple combinations, depending on the size of your organization and your site classifications.

           T1.3.2.1  Microsoft Exchange deployment models

           T1.3.2.2  IBM Lotus Domino deployment models

           T1.3.2.3  Cisco Unity Connection deployment models

           T1.3.2.4 Centralized vs. Distributed deployment

           T1. Centralized deployment

           T1. Advantages/Disadvantages

           T1. Distributed deployment

           T1. Advantages/Disadvantages

T1.4 Perform a feature/functionality evaluation of Cisco Unity -- with a goal of thoroughly understanding the available feature set, including features that you might not plan to use. Why? Example More Info

      T1.4.1 Understand differences between traditional voice-mail functionality and unified messaging, including message storage and handling differences.

      T1.4.2 Perform a dependency assessment -- understand the dependencies that Cisco Unity has on the messaging infrastructure. If possible, investigate the dependencies in a lab setting.

      T1.4.3 Perform an impact analysis -- how will Cisco Unity impact the current messaging environment, and vice versa? You can perform focused before-and-after trend periods, or you can evaluate the current and past performance of your messaging systems. This includes understanding how often these systems are unavailable and also how often their dependencies are unavailable (this includes domain controllers, name-resolution hosts, network gear, and so on).

      T1.4.4 Perform capacity planning -- evaluate your messaging infrastructure to determine if it can handle the extra load placed on it as a whole or on separate servers. If you are migrating from a legacy voice-messaging system, you must understand what the expected traffic increase is and also what the increase in the number of messages and message size means to your messaging infrastructure.

      T1.4.5     Perform a UM readiness assessment (See chapters 13 and 14 of the Deployment & Solutions Guide.)

           T1.4.5.1     Microsoft Exchange

           T1.4.5.2     IBM Lotus Domino

T1.5 Develop preliminary design options, and include them in the preliminary design proposal. In this step, consider how legacy systems will be replaced (1-for-1? Consolidate systems? Flash cut, or gradual migration?) and the impact this will have on subscribers. Why? Example More Info

      T1.5.1 Finalize the preliminary design. Keep in mind that the design is only preliminary, and may change over the course of the project.

      T1.5.2 Create a high-level design diagram.

      T1.5.3 Review the timeline for the project based on the information gathered in the preliminary design proposal, feature/functional analysis, and legacy system end-user analysis.


GOAL: Thorough understanding of existing VM system and its usage.

S1.1 Perform a legacy system configuration analysis. This step actually tells you how to configure Cisco Unity, allowing you to develop configuration details such as schedules, call handlers, and routing rules.Why? Example More Info

      S1.1.1 Document the legacy voice-messaging system configuration.

      S1.1.2 Identify call flows, auto-attendant and other transfer features.

      S1.1.3 Document the way that the switch integration is set up between the voice-messaging system and the legacy circuit-switched PBX,

      S1.1.4 Document traffic patterns. You should be able to use this information along with the capacity-planning analysis to understand how Cisco Unity and your messaging systems should be configured to support the added capacity.

           S1.1.4.1 Understand and document the type and amount of traffic on the voice-messaging system.

           S1. Indicate the volume in size and quantity of messages.

           S1. Indicate the number of subscribers using the system each day.

           S1. Attempt to quantify messages left from outside callers per hour.

           S1. Attempt to quantify messages left from subscribers to other subscribers per hour.

           S1. Attempt to quantify messages retrieved by subscribers per hour.

           S1. Indicate the number of subscriber logon sessions per hour.

           S1. Indicate the number of calls per hour to transfer features, such as auto-attendant.

      S1.1.5 Identify how users use voicemail networking to send messages between current systems, if applicable.

      S1.1.6 Identify features that are turned on and how they are used in the system.

      S1.1.7 Identify key business units that are critical to the operation of the company or that have unique needs for the migration process.

           S1.1.7.1 Understand their specific usage or migration requirements.

      S1.1.8 Document the way subscribers are managed.

      S1.1.9 Document how subscribers are configured.

S1.2 Document how the subscriber community currently uses voicemail. Why? Example More Info

      S1.2.1 Create one or more questionnaires that ask important questions about how subscribers use their existing legacy voice-messaging system. For example:

           S1.2.1.1 "What features do you find most important when you dial into voice mail?"

           S1.2.1.2 "What features do you dislike the most?"

      S1.2.2 Survey different types of end-user groups. Observe user activities including the key presses that they use and how they use the system.

      S1.2.3 Create focus groups with representatives of different areas. These users can carry feedback from their areas to a group of users who can provide consolidated input into the entire usage-analysis effort.

      S1.2.4 Seek out special-case users who have specific configurations that are unique to the mass population of users on the system, and understand their specific usage requirements.

      S1.2.5 Seek out the voicemail power users and understand their needs.

      S1.2.6 Understand how senior executives use voicemail.

      S1.2.7 Identify the features that your end users take for granted.

           S1.2.7.1 Compare those with Cisco Unity's features.

           S1.2.7.2 Determine any functional usage gaps.

      S1.2.8 Identify business units that are critical to the operation of the company or that have unique needs for the migration process.

           S1.2.8.1 Understand their specific usage or migration requirements.

      S1.2.9 Identify training criteria.

           S1.2.9.1 Feature gaps that can affect the way subscribers operate.

           S1.2.9.2 Features in the legacy voice-messaging system that may require some Cisco Unity training so that your subscribers understand them.