In the days of TDM telephone systems, call reporting was easy. You simply connected to the PBX, captured call records, and created reports. As you move to complex Unified Communications environments such as Microsoft Lync, things can get much more difficult. In an enterprise level Lync deployment, you need to capture records from multiple sources to get a complete view of your calling patterns.
Step 1: Capture Data from Lync
Lync places all call detail records in a SQL Server database. A call reporting system needs to query the database on a regular basis and report on all calls. For most vendors, this is the only source of data. The drawback is that not all calls go through Lync. In many Lync deployments, there are numerous other devices that can make and receive calls.
Step 2: Analog Devices
Fax Machines are an aging, perhaps outdated technology. Notwithstanding, a typical enterprise has numerous fax machines serving critical functions. Additionally, despite the move to digital communications, modems also play a key role. If Lync controls these devices, then Lync creates the call records.
In many cases, however, the analog devices go directly to an analog gateway. The gateway may be connected to analog trunks, or sit behind your Session Border Controller (SBC). Regardless, to get a full picture of your calling, you need to capture records from the analog gateway.
When selecting a reporting system, it is critical to ensure that your vendor has experience in collecting from the wide variety of devices in the marketplace.
Step 3: Contact Center
Depending on the contact center chosen, calls may, or may not be controlled by Lync. For example, if you use CIC from Interactive Intelligence, Lync will not see the calls. While CIC has its own reporting, it is critical to integrate CIC records into your overall call reporting solution. This provides a single point of reporting for the enterprise.
Step 4: Traffic Analytics
One of the major benefits of a modern call reporting system is the ability to help manage traffic, especially in a SIP environment. With traffic coming from so many devices, you need to find the best point of analysis. Often times, this is the Session Border Controller (SBC).
Since the SBC sits between your voice network and your SIP trunks, it has full visibility into all traffic flows. Your call reporting system should have the ability to capture records from the SBC for traffic analytics. Additionally, it should have the ability to match the records from the various devices (Lync, analog, and contact center) to the SBC record.
This is important for two reasons. First, matching can provide an end-to-end view of the call. On top of that, it can also prevent duplicate records in your reporting system.
Putting It All Together
As you can see, the days of simple CDR reporting are long gone. As network architectures become more complex with numerous devices, you will need to find a vendor who understands the complexities. This includes the ability to help you analyze your call flows to determine the best way to capture information, as well as having an interest to invest time and resources to maintain compatibility with the numerous devices found in today's voice networks.
Can your vendor handle this? Let us know.