October 17, 2022

Article
3 min

Managed Collaboration Anywhere: Help Where You Need It

This suite of collaboration solutions and services continues to deliver simple, flexible and reliable business value.

Marguerite Stevens

A colleague recently shared an article with me from earlier this year. It was one of those “trends for the new year” pieces, and it offered some perspective on how the Unified Communications as a Service (UcaaS) market was responding to the changing needs of organizations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One stat that caught my eye was that “47.5 percent of the 467 companies benchmarked now fully rely on the cloud for their communications needs.” 

I found myself nodding as I read, recognizing that my team’s work and planning over several years had been well spent. The market was moving where we had anticipated it would.

MCA for First-Level Support

Back in April 2019, when Cisco and CDW announced the launch of CDW’s Managed Collaboration Anywhere suite of solutions and services, no one had any idea that the global pandemic would soon change our lives forever. And we had no idea how this situation would accelerate a trend that we were tracking and preparing for: Organizations were increasingly turning to collaboration delivered as a service. 

What we were hearing from organizations was that their IT teams were often spending an inordinate amount of time on help desk tickets, provisioning new workers and other repetitive tasks. These mission-critical staff members were bogged down in mundane work when they could have been tackling strategic initiatives that moved the business forward. Organizations asked for a way to offload some of this work.  

We understood that this market was in flux at the time. On-premises collaboration solutions were popular, but remote work was growing, and many organizations were starting to provision for both on-premises and work-from-home workforces. In response, we developed a solution — Managed Collaboration Anywhere — that could take over low-tier tasks while also meeting our customers wherever they were with their collaboration resources.

Details of the MCA Solution and Managed Services

MCA was launched as a customizable Cisco collaboration platform tied to Cisco Flex, which helps manage an organization’s environment, whether hosted, on-premises or in a hybrid environment. It also included licensing for Cisco IP phones, video devices, Jabber, Webex and Webex Teams.

In addition to the platform, software and hardware, MCA delivers managed services, which can include tasks associated with monitoring and maintenance; software and hardware updates; move, add, change and delete processes; SIP trunk incident management; and configuration. This can also include reporting for the voice, video, conferencing and messaging, and contact center solutions.

MCA License Flexibility

Another pain point for our customers was the complexity of licensing. Many factors influence licensing scenarios and can make what should be a very straightforward process a labyrinth of exceptions and add-ons. To simplify this issue, we made MCA scalable and easy to update. 

The scalability of MCA allows organizations that are growing, seeing growth in user adoption, or going through a merger or acquisition scenario to quickly update their agreements. If the customer determines that a higher level of support is needed, we make it easy to update the agreement without incurring additional change fees. And we keep it simple by organizing all of this under a single subscription.

MCA Expands

Initially CDW’s MCA service involved only Cisco, but the service now supports multiple collaboration platforms, including Microsoft Teams, IBM SmartCloud, RingCentral, Zoom and Five9. If a customer wants to migrate to a Microsoft Teams system, we have engineers to support and execute this migration. We created our packaging to support multiple provider platforms while making it appear to be one unified platform.

We also do a lot of integration with MCA and other third-party platforms and applications, such as ServiceNow. If an organization is using ServiceNow, we channel its service ticket requests through our window. This way, the organization hits one button, and a ticket is pushed to our system, which decreases the time needed to open and work on a ticket.

MCA Delivers Business Value

MCA has evolved since its initial launch in 2019, but it still delivers business value by making it easier to manage and support an organization’s collaboration environment. With its single-subscription approach, easy agreement flexibility and managed support services, MCA has something to offer any organization, whether its collaboration platform is on-premises, hosted or hybrid.

Story by Marguerite Stevens, who, for over 25 years,  has brought extensive experience with collaboration throughout the industry. She has worked within and across product management and marketing, bringing visibility of customer problems and outcomes.