CUCM is your choice if you want everything plus the kitchen sink, you want it on-prem and you have the $$
October 03, 2019

CUCM is your choice if you want everything plus the kitchen sink, you want it on-prem and you have the $$

Jane Updegraff | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Call Manager)

We use CUCM on-premise as our voice over IP (VoIP) solution, sometimes others will refer to it as a "PBX" or "voice services" software. CUCM is one of several components that work together to provide telephony across the entire enterprise. CUCM ties into and controls, at least in part, all of the other communications components that we use, such as our voicemail, emergency call handling, audio conferencing, teleconferencing and video calling, paging systems and PBX operator, which of which work together with CUCM being the "conductor". It enables us to make phone calls to each other and the rest of the world, just like an analog phone, except that voip calls can include extra stuff other than sound, such as video.
  • CUCM provides excellent call quality
  • CUCM gives visibility into call handling and call records
  • CUCM allows us to control everything about our voice communications
  • CUCM is overly complex and requires a very capable engineer to maintain it. Similarly, implementing anything new requires a great deal of specialized knowledge of CUCM.
  • CUCM is difficult to troubleshoot because of it's complexity.
  • CUCM is expensive licensing and they nickel and dime you with a plethora of tiny little license charges for every little feature. They have the most convoluted licensing models, ever, for their CU products in general.
  • This stuff is pricey. CUCM has to be tied together with a whole other host of Cisco call servers in order for it to do everything you need it to do, so there is always some other expensive license to buy every time you want to add or change something, so it can be a serious money pit. But if your leaders want the very best, and they want to keep everything in-house, this is probably your solution.
  • Goodwill from leadership is way up, thanks to CUCM. The feature set is enormous, so we can do almost anything you can imagine with our phone system, and our leadership loves the video features and the way it integrates with WebEx and other related components.
I've used CUCM and it's related products for over 25 years but in the middle of that time I managed a network that had hosted voip, so I know the difference. Hosted voip can't do literally everything like CUCM can do, but it's WAY simpler to operate and manage. Plus the end user probably won't even notice the lack of features from hosted voip unless they are very spoiled on a super-sweet setup CUCM implementation like my users are spoiled. Hosted voip is expensive, especially for some small businesses, but CUCM is even more expensive, especially in initial capital and engineering labor outlay, assuming you are putting it on-premise like most of us do. So if you don't need every last feature and if you don't need to keep your communications handing on-premise, then you want hosted voip that you don't have to to manage or maintain.
Cisco TAC is all-pro. They know what they are talking about and they always get back to me within hours of opening a ticket. At any given moment i have a ticket or two open with TAC, so I talk to them a lot, and I have nothing bad to say about Cisco TAC, whatsoever. They just rock.

Do you think Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Call Manager) delivers good value for the price?

Yes

Are you happy with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Call Manager)'s feature set?

Yes

Did Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Call Manager) live up to sales and marketing promises?

Yes

Did implementation of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Call Manager) go as expected?

No

Would you buy Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Call Manager) again?

No

CUCM is probably only very well-suited for the enterprise that must have complete, total control over everything about their communications system, wants to host their phone servers on-premise and wants to have every telephony and communications capability that exists. If you don't have these three needs, you should be looking at cloud hosted communications instead. That's because CUCM takes a great deal of specialized skill and plenty of engineer time to configure, maintain and operate. The server platform used by CUCM (and those of all of the other CU components) is not user-friendly, with interface designs that have not been updated for the 25 years that I've been setting up and maintaining them. That said, it's extremely customizable and inter-operable with just about any other communications component, as long as you have the skill to customize it or connect it. It's also very expensive and the licensing is literally incomprehensible.

Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Call Manager) Feature Ratings

Multi-level Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
8
User templates
8
Call reports
8
Directory of employee names
8
Answering rules
9
Call recording
9
Call park
9
Call screening
9
Message alerts
Not Rated
Video conferencing
3
Audio conferencing
8
Video screen sharing
3