Workforce Optimization: Configuration Caveats for System Admins and Technicians
When working within the policies and constraints of modern IT departments there are many different factors to be aware of. The intent of this article is to outline for technicians and business administrators some of the caveats, speed bumps, and erroneous system configurations that you can or will encounter when implementing Cisco’s Workforce Optimization products.
Workforce Optimization Overview
Today business growth and development is based off of one fundamental piece, analytics. Statistical analysis helps management to develop staffing needs and forecasts to drive their company forward. This is especially true when we look at call centers, who are a quintessential piece for many businesses. Through call recording and quality assurance coupled with workforce management tools we are able to capture the call center analytics that management needs to establish and maintain a productive work environment. With the implementation of Cisco’s Workforce Optimization (WFO) tools, Quality Management (QM) and Workforce Management (WFM), we are able to provide the means of capturing and generating reports with this data.
Quality Management allows us to capture call and desktop recording as well as evaluate and rate these recordings. While Workforce Management allows us to address staffing needs through performance tracking, forecasting, and scheduling. But, what are some issues that we might face during and after the installation process? And what can we do to better prepare as technicians and administrators for the implementation of Workforce Optimization in our environments? That is exactly what we will be discussing here today.
Determining virtualization needs based on concurrent users and recording parameters, as well as the installation process itself, is widely documented. However, there are a few crucial components that are not as often discussed. During the planning and installation phase itself we need to be aware of a few “gotchas” pertaining to SQL database management, AD integration, and end user desktop configurations. For the sake of this article we will be reviewing a few issues that I encountered during a recent upgrade to version 11.5.
SQL Database Administration
Quality Management and Workforce Management both heavily rely on SQL Databases to pull recordings and call information. In design, it is important to include additional storage for an on-board all-in-one installation of QM, but we are unlikely to see this design today even for smaller call centers. Generally, we see a SQL environment where a multitude of instances are managed for a wide range of applications. For SQL Administrators, it is extremely important that when off-boarding your SQL databases for both QM and WFM that they are on their own separate instances. This might raise a few concerns for your current disaster recovery process which needs to be considered. But after your SQL servers are built and you have completed the base installations of QM or WFM the next crucial step is to complete your initial run of postconfig.exe. During this, the installer will check the referenced SQL database versions and upgrade them to be compatible with your new WFO installation. However, database errors can occur during the upgrade process. Below we see an example of a database error that can occur when upgrading your SQL Quality Manager Database.
< 2017-04-27 08:33:14,522 INFO [AWT-EventQueue-0|DbCreateStep#finishUi:179] QMPI0000 Could not complete DB create step. Showing user: <<br><br>Schema program failed: Invalid column name ‘recordServerFK’.>
This error was generated when performing a two-part upgrade. First, we upgraded QM from version 8.6 to 10.5, and then again from 10.5 to 11.5. The initial database upgrade to 10.5 went smoothly, but we encountered this error during the final upgrade to 11.5. Digging deeper and checking the qmLoad.sql file located within the C:\Program Files\Cisco\WFO_QM\config folder it provides more clues into the SQL database upgrade process and where the error occurred.
Delete from VoiPMonitorDevice where recordingTypeFK = (Select id from RecordingType where name like ‘CUBE’);
When referencing our 8.6 SQMDB we see tablename, VOIPmonitordevice, exists and contains recordingServerFK but it was then removed during the initial 8.6 to 10.5 upgrade. During the 11.5 upgrade QM attempts to locate and delete recordingServerFK again causing a failure and prompting the original error. To resolve this issue, we recreated recordingServerFK as a column within the newly upgrade 10.5 SQMDB and reran the postinstall.exe for the 11.5 upgrade. Sure enough, when the upgrade checked for Column recordingServerFK it deleted it as intended allowing us to get past this error. Unfortunately, we soon after encountered a similar error to the first but this time we knew exactly what to do, and a small edit to the SQMDB allowed us to complete the Database upgrade for QM 11.5 successfully.
A quick note, if you need to reset the postinstall.exe to run as if it was your very first execution jump over to Regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Calabrio\QM\Site Setup. From there you can change the DWORD of value FirstRun to 0.
Active Directory Integration
Since WFO 10.0, there is a new piece to AD integration as well. AD integration now requires additional configurations for system administrators. A new Admin Group needs to be created in order for QM to have assigned system administrators. The addition of this step is new from what is currently in place for the AD integration steps in all previous versions. Below I’ve listed out the best practice recommendations for this AD group
Create a security group with a unique name in Active Directory, such as <calabrio-admin> or following the naming provisions in your current environment. Add the users who you want to have system administrator privileges in QM Administrator to this group. Including voice technicians but especially anyone who needs access to setting evaluation or reporting parameters.
Once you have created this new AD group and added your users you will then define the group within the Enterprise Settings portion of your post config process. Once defined you will be able to enable admin users in the next step of post config, Administrator Configuration. Creating a new group prevents any conflict with default security groups in AD. As using and adding users to the Domain Admins group is not appropriate in this instance because the users in the Domain Admins group also have permission to make changes in AD.
Currently in our corporate environments end user desktop applications are rigorously controlled. Software is approved and tested within our OS environments by software engineers and IT administrators then distributed using tools such as SCCM for installation. I wanted to quickly highlight a few desktop installer locations which are outlined within the installation guides. These are well documented but I wanted to included them here as a quick reference for anyone who may be unfamiliar with Quality Management.
- Desktop Recording service install files – For Desktop Recording and video playback
http://<QM Base server>/TUP/QM/Recording.htm
- Microsoft Visual C++ – Required for Live Screen Monitoring
http://<QM Base server>/TUP/QM/MSPackage.htm
- Notification Client Installation – Windows Notification
http://<QM Base server>/TUP/QM/Notification.htm
- QM Administrator Console – Perfect for installation on QM Admin’s desktops to avoid giving RDP to the base server. However this is sometimes left out in the design and planning phase if technicians are unaware that it is available. But this is the most convenient way for end users to be able to administer QM evaluations.
http://<QM Base server>/TUP/QM/Administrator.htm
Luckily WFO makes all of these readily available but one that you may initially miss is a new WebM Audio/Video Codec that is required for 11.5 recording playback. Below is the direct link to the .exe which will work for versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer starting with IE9 but also newer versions of IE and Windows as well.
- WebM Codec – Required for all recording playback options within 11.5
One quick tip if you have end users who are seeing errors or having issues with recording playback when accessing QM, check your WebMMF Codec installation first. Without it you will receive a playback error when attempting to select a recording. But in case you are still receiving errors when attempting playback there are a few IE settings that we can verify as well.
To prepare your environment for WFO functionality using Internet Explorer there are a few settings that we need to double check. Depending on what version of IE you are currently using the settings outlined below could be the cause of a myriad of GUI or playback errors.
- Security Settings
Active X filtering enabled
File Downloads must be Enabled
- Privacy Settings
Allow Pop-ups for Base Server Web Address, this allows for evaluation pop-up windows to display properly
- Advanced Settings
Ensure these options are checked – Play animations in webpages*, Play sounds in webpages, and Show pictures.
- Windows 8.1
WFO is not supported in Metro Mode, and most likely never will be, but make sure that you and your users are launching IE from the task bar in Desktop Mode
- Group Policy Object
If PCI DSS compliance is required, add in Group Policy Management Editor the values:
All Processes – Disabled
Internet Explorer Processes – Enabled
Hopefully with this article you are better prepared to address these issues with your client or to prepare your own environment for a new installation or upgrade to WFO 11.5. For further details on this topic you can turn to Cisco’s provided documentation or the developer Calabrio themselves. If you haven’t got a chance to check out Calabrio’s demos and training materials on QM and WFM head over and register at portal.calabrio.com. As always please feel free to post comments or questions below and enter your email to sign up to receive notifications about our latest posts.