Opening up a CUCM C.D.R file is the epitome of “Opening a Can of Worms”. You will start with a comma-delimited file that contains multiple rows, each representing a call leg, or at minimum a complete call with over 100 columns of valuable data. Ready to attempt opening the file in Excel and doing your best to make sense of what might look like gibberish?
Starting with a CTRL + F to find the phone number you need, you likely find multiple rows all of which look frighteningly similar. After identifying the timestamp it can be a struggle to convert from Epoch to a human readable format. Sure, there is the Cisco CAR (CDR Analysis and Reporting) tool, but that’s like playing darts with spaghetti!
What you need is an effective CDR Reporting solution, but with so many options how do you know which one is the right one?
The application should be flexible, giving you options to deploy in a single, or multi-tier environment to match your infrastructure. It should allow you the freedom to choose between operating systems and databases types, enabling utilization of open source platforms, which cuts the overhead cost of expensive licensing. The solution should allow customization by configuration, not code. After all every CUCM deployment is different, canned reports that work for some, will not work for all!
Let’s quickly highlight the difference between three of the most popular CDR reporting platform. If considering other options, make sure to ask your vendor for these same critical details:
|Cisco CAR||Variphy Insight||ISI Infortel Select||Consider this…|
|PBX Vendor Support||Cisco, Included with CUCM||Cisco||Cisco, Avaya, Nortel, Mitel, Microsoft||Specialists vs. generalists, focusing on a single platform allows for specialization in the subject.|
|Supported OS||Linux, Included with CUCM||Linux, Windows, Mac||Windows||What’s your OS of preference? Don’t allow the vendor to restrict you.|
|OVA Template||Yes, Included with CUCM||Yes (Linux)||No||A virtual appliance can reduce deployment time by 90%. How valuable is your time?|
|Database||Informix||MySQL, MSSQL||MSSQL||Looking to reduce overhead costs? Consider community software.|
|Deployment Time||Included with CUCM||15-30 min||1-3 Days (May require onsite installation)||Take your hourly pay and multiply it by deployment time, add this to total software cost.|
|Version Upgrade Time||Included with CUCM||5-10 min||1-2 Hours||Time is money, don’t spend too much of it maintaining and upgrading your system.|
|Web Based||Yes||Yes, 100%||Yes, server requires thick client.||Clients? That’s a thing of the past, Web based applications give you quick access from any computer on your network.|
|Web Server||Apache||Apache||IIS||Concerned with security? Apache is widely acknowledged as the more secure option.|
|End User Association||No||Uses existing CUCM End User Database||Requires separate end user database setup and managed in application.||Avoid one more database to maintain.|
|User Permissions||No||Granular / Restricted by user or user group settings||Modular / Feature Based||Let users see only the data they need to see.|
|Rate (Tariff) Tables||No||Optional (Customized within application)||Required (Sold in subscription)||Rate Tables can help you build “billing” type reports to reallocate telephony expense costs.|
|CDR Canned Reports||No||Support provides training on building and running reports as well as creates starter templates.||100+ (Not all reports work for all deployments, PBX specific reports available to all customers regardless of PBX configured)||A large lists of reports can be overwhelming. Focus only on the reports that will work for you and give you the Analytics you need.|
|Cradle to Grave Reporting||No||Yes, from a single report.||Yes, requires multiple reports||Quickly track a call flow as it progressed through your system. Analyze the call sequence to validate call routing.|
|Call Types||Limited||Customizable. Includes Analytic and Statistic Details for Calling Scenarios.||Predefine, with option for 3 custom values.||Example types include Inbound, Outbound, Internal, On Net, Long Distance, Emergency|
|Dashboard||No||Yes, configurable widgets||Yes, static widgets.||No need for reports, at a glance get an overview of your calling details.|
|Call Quality Reporting||Yes||Yes||Yes||Troubleshoot call quality issues by analyzing Latency, Jitter, Packet loss and MOS.|
|Capacity Reporting||No||Yes, including Dashboard Widget||Yes, Report only||Make sure your gateways and trunks are right sized.|
|Device Utilization||No||Yes||No||Identify devices with little or now call activity.|
|Alerting||No||Yes (includes cause code alerting and device name)||Yes||Be alerted of predefined conditions like calls to International patterns or 911.|
|Report Customization||No||Yes, all reports||Yes, some reports||Modify reports to show you only the Analytics you need.|
|Report Delivery||Browser||SMTP, SFTP, FTP||SMTP, FTP||How do you want to receive scheduled reports?|
|Application Additional Features||N/A||CUCM, CUC, CCX Change Management
Remote Phone Control with Macros
|Basic integration to Verba Call Recording.||From a single pane of glass what else can your Call reporting software do for you?|
|Evaluation System (POC)||Yes, Included with CUCM||Yes, 30-60 Days no commitment evaluations. Readily available to deploy.||Yes, 30 Days requires NDA and P.O.C Contract. Full purchase assumed if no written cancellation submitted within 30 days of P.O.C Expiration.||“The proof is in the pudding.” There is no better validation to your investment than taking the application for a test drive in your own environment.|
There are a lot of factors that you need to consider when making an investment in Call Analytics. Overhead cost of hardware and licensing for Operating Systems, Databases, and (S)FTP server applications. Software stability and usability, deployment speed and efficiency, and most importantly support. How will the vendor respond when you run into trouble?