Many enterprise network managers have recently come to appreciate the possible benefits of network convergence: improved employee productivity, ease of deployment, operational cost savings and simplified network management requirements. Executives in many corporate positions have developed an appreciation for the merging of voice and data networks within their businesses.
CEOs see convergence as a way of improving profit margins and maintaining business growth with minimal investment. CTOs see it as a tool that will aid them in supporting business strategies and maintaining competitive differentiation. CIOs see VoIP
as a technology that could help keep them budgets in check and meet needs for increased applications and bandwidth.
But the move should not be made without evaluating whether the enterprise is ready. Analysis of a company's current resources, and an understanding of the products and services available to implement such a significant move are both necessary. Beyond considering ROI and other financial calculations, executives must consider the technology available. They must assess their companies' tolerance levels for risk and change.
A good enterprise VoIP network must include tools that monitor the quality of data circuits that carry VoIP transmissions. This ensures an objective method of monitoring transmissions. Voice quality is the ultimate measurement of those using the system. IT executives must have standards-based measurement tools that will track, report, and correct voice quality. Several tools exist that assist with this.
It is important to realize that management may be overly sensitive to making additional investments—especially when existing communication systems are in place. Management may also be sensitive to possible disruptions in workflow.
It would be wise to identify a limited amount of VoIP projects that can be put in place at minimum cost with the least disruption. The ROI and/or enhancement to functionality should be large and obvious, if possible. IT executives should keep stakeholders informed. This is important during the evaluation and implementation process, as well as the ROI evaluation process. The number of successful enterprise VoIP implementations is increasing, and that growth rate will most likely to continue to rise over the next few years.
Brian Solomon is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To see more of his articles, please visit Brian Solomon’s columnist page.
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