Introduction to the Collaboration Server
Note: This information applies only to on-premises installations.
This introduction will first introduce you to the various features available then it will present the information you need to help you make the best decisions as to which features would add most value to your business model. Instructions on how to deploy those features within your own architecture are either provided here directly or in the form of links to the relevant information.
Note: Although this introduction is ostensibly aimed at the technical experts who will deploy unblu, we strongly urge your business process specialists to read the information provided here. These topics will give you an overview of the various features and technologies
This introduction attempts to put the installation into a context that may help you to envisage how the advantages of unblu's solutions might be maximized within your business model.
Before attempting to deploy anything you must ensure that your system is ready for unblu. This means all of the system-requirements are met, your infrastructure is primed for deployment (for example, correct ports identified to be opened) and you have at least some preliminary ideas on how the system will work for you.
Each installation is slightly different and the decision as to which components should be installed is entirely at your discretion (bearing in mind that each decision will have an impact on the functionality available).
Some of these design decisions seem entirely technical, in the sense that your IT people would decide, for example, whether to deploy a reverse proxy and Filter in light of their knowledge of your current infrastructure. The proxy and filter will, among other benefits, dynamically inject the snippet only when required, thus reducing the load on the system. If you have session-specific resources or resources that are not accessible from within the agent's location the proxy and filter will also enable in-context browsing, which means your agents, even if they cannot normally access those resources, can join a visitor midway through their visit and have access to the complete context of the visit. For example, items in a basket will persist, as will login information. However, even such a seemingly technical decision has consequences on your business processes. If, for example, you have many proxies, the decision to employ the filter might be more problematic. Or, it may be that the resources required to set up the filter outweigh the assumed benefits of real-time code snippet injection.
Another example might be, for instance, whether to deploy the User Management Synchronization Tool and, if so, how? The Synchronization Tool allows you to synchronize all user and team data so therefore, instead of setting up everything manually from within the Agent Desk, you can simply synchronize your already-existing user information from your own (LDAP-capable) identity management system. However, the way you decide to define the synchronizations can have a serious effect on Agent Desk functionality. Synchronizing users and teams would mean that you can no longer properly manipulate team structures from within the Agent Desk. It is possible though to retain this core functionality by synchronizing users only and leaving the team structures to be modified from within the Agent Desk.
Most of the decisions that you will take when deploying unblu are pure business decisions. This is not just about load balancing or faster processing of data, it is about how you will shape the interactions between your venture and the visitors to your sites.
So, do you think your visitors might like the option of talking with your representatives face-to-face using our video-chat? Might you be better able to steer them to a brighter financial future by perusing documents during sessions? Do you believe some visitors might be more liable to fill-in a loan application or purchase sovereign debt or write options on stock-index futures if one of your specialists is holding their hand every step of the way?
These are indeed loaded questions but they can only be answered by the people who design your business processes. That means that a deployment of unblu must involve technical people who can realize your vision but it is the vision that must be applied and technical considerations are merely the enabler of that vision.
Therefore, even before you consider whether our synchronization tool or the Filter would benefit your processes you would want your business analysts and decision makers to work through all the possible consequences of each decision and how it will define how you engage with visitors and potential leads.
While many of the unblu features are optional, in truth they are optional only in the sense that you can still provide a useful visitor-engagement strategy without them. But in reality, with every feature deployed the visitor can be brought closer, the engagement sessions made deeper and more significant. Scaling features such as document sharing and video/audio across all visitor interaction will bring your expertise right into living rooms and train carriages and public parks on the PCs and phones and tablets of people hard pressed for time and perhaps more willing to engage on their own terms.
In short, optional means only that the software is highly-configurable. We would recommend you deploy all of the features that enhance the efficiency of your processes. If you find, after examining the evidence, that your visitors simply do not seem to want to see any of your documents, or that they eschew video and audio sessions then you might want to do without them. But until that time you can assume when we say optional we mean the possibility exists to switch them off and on, not that they are simply an added extra.
You should also note that the server setup guide is only the first step to creating your optimal visitor-engagement strategy. After deploying the Collaboration Server using this guide you will need to set up the database and the agent desk. Finally, you will want to tweak the design using the vast configuration possibilities offered by unblu. Only then can you build the structures, teams, roles and session-forwarding strategies that are most suited to your goals and ambitions.
After setting up the server (that is, after completing the setup described herein) see Database Persistence Layer when you want to set up the database.
It may even make sense to look at the Agent Desk Setup Guide before you setup the collaboration server. In this way your ideas can propagate backwards as you see what exactly it is that this setup is designed to enable and how it can work for you.
Deploying on an application server is a requirement for all on-premises installations. The other parts of the installation described herein are optional and depend on your current system setup and what features you wish to deploy. For example, unblu can be deployed with a reverse proxy and the filter, or with a proxy but without the filter, or even without a proxy. These choices depend entirely on your needs. See The Filter for a little more detail on the security and efficiency advantages of using a proxy and/or the filter.
Another example might be whether to install the User Management Synchronization Tool or not. If, for example, you are a large organization and already have a centralized identity management system that manages staff information then it makes sense to employ the synchronization tool in order that your staff can transparently and securely login to the system. If, however, you are a smaller organization with no in-place identity management solution you would not need the tool.
If you want to share documents with your visitors during co-browsing sessions or if you'd like to enable universal co-browsing you would need to employ the Rendering Service. See Enable Universal and Document Co-browsing (Optional) for more.
Note: See Architecture for some pictorial examples of the architectural differences between typical deployments.
Note: The minimal hardware and software requirements are here: Minimal Requirements.
Note: When you are ready to deploy, see Order of Deployment.
With the advent of version 4.3 our new Agent Desk offers a completely new way to engage with and manage your visitor co-browsing sessions. If you want to add user-level session statistics, canned responses and user/team management then you must install the database. See Introduction to the Agent Desk for more information.