Enhancing the User Experience with Cisco Jabber

Posted by Dishko Hristov on Jul 11, 2018 10:51:28 AM

Troubleshooting Presence Server for Cisco Jabber

A company-wide rollout of any new application including Cisco Jabber can be fraught with challenges that may or may not be readily apparent to the organization. Even small issues can potentially jeopardize the success of an entire project. For this article, we will look at how proper planning and modeling can help eliminate these issues before they become big. 

Taking a look at the big picture by modeling a users day in the life

The user in question a member of the IT department was familiar with Jabber and enjoyed working with it. However,  prior to deploying it company-wide, he expressed concerns that Jabber would not be adopted very well because of certain issues the other members of the IT test group were having, which prompted the board of directors to bring in the Stack8 Services Team. 

After analyzing the situation and conducting an internal user survey, the Stack8 team was able to identify several challenges experienced by users. 

  • Many of the users in the IT department reported Jabber failing to log into the voicemail servers.
  • A second issue was certificate warnings that would appear during the login process.
  • Finally, but most significant was that the Jabber Presence status would sometimes not reflect that the user was in a meeting or on a call. Testers expressed concerns that to facilitate collaboration amongst all users, accurate presence status was critical. 

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Troubleshooting randomly happening issues like the wrong presence status could be challenging. Stack8 looked at the big picture, analyzed the Presence service topology as well as configuration and then created a plan of action with numerous steps to improve the design configuration in order to enhance the user experience significantly. 

Preliminary analysis indicated that the client’s previous provider had configured all of the users in the IT team test group. However, they had not considered a topology of the Presence servers with geographically distributed services nor the configuration of the user profiles were considered with regards to the user’s geographic location. 

To add redundancy and improve the quality of service The Stack8 Services Team added a second presence server on the east coast to the Presence topology (previously there was only a single node in the environment which was deployed on the west coast.) 

The IT staff were then reconfigured using the UC service profile in CUCM to either Presence server, based on their location and monitored to ensure that the presence status error was rectified. 

With regards to the issue of failing to login to Voicemail, the client had multiple Unity Connection clusters geographically spread throughout the country. By reconfiguring the Voicemail Profile and MailStore Profile in the CUCM UC service profiles to be based on the user's physical location, we were able to rectify Jabber Voicemail login failures. 

The third step in our plan was to follow best practices and ensure CA-signed certificates were used, and FQDN names were added in all configurations related to Jabber. This eliminated Certificate warnings after login. For more information on CA-signed certificates, please see the article: Jabber and Public CA-signed Certificates (Part 1 of 3) 

A full review of the "User association with line" field in CUCM was conducted, and we were able to rectify missing configurations for some users. This fixed issues when the presence status was not properly displayed in cases when Jabber was switching from softphone to a deskphone mode. 

Furthermore, we recommended and implemented the Auto-login feature (set the parameter to true in the Jabber-config.xml file). This instantly was adopted by users as a positive change. We also helped the client to implement contact photos in a web server. 

As a final step, a roadmap for a company-wide rollout was devised and implemented based on the client's request. 

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On a side note I wanted to add the following considerations when you deploy IM and Presence Service over WAN with remote failover:

This model only supports High Availability at the system level. Certain IM and Presence Service components may still have a single point of failure. These components are:

  • Cisco Sync Agent,
  • Cisco Intercluster Sync Agent, 
  • Cisco Unified CM, IM and Presence Administration interface.  

IM and Presence Service also supports multiple presence redundancy groups in a Clustering over WAN deployment. For additional information, see the IM and Presence Service Solution Reference Network Design (SRND): Multinode Configuration for Deployment Over WAN 

Standardizing company-wide – the aftermath

Standardizing on Cisco Jabber has allowed the organization to deliver consistently on point communications that flow seamlessly between the various teams, enabling users from every department to interact and operate more efficiently and effectively. Remote workers are now able to collaborate with members of the team at corporate headquarters in real-time, with the result being that they are able to improve their on-time project completion rate for external clients dramatically.   

Higher than expected acceptance has resulted in consistent communications among the entire organization.

The Stack8 Services Team are experts in Cisco Jabber; the team can help you with all of your Jabber requirements. 

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Topics: Jabber 12.0, cisco jabber, Jabber, presence server

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