No company today should be operating costly, standalone voice-only networks. Instead, there is significant savings to be had by collapsing voice services into the ever-more-robust data network. To drive the point home, think about the typical old-line hospital. Atop every patient bed nightstand, there tends to be a wired telephone instrument that is typically tied to a PBX in the hospital basement that is connected to a plethora of dedicated voice-only lines to the rest of the world. But today, patients generally bring with them their smartphones, eager to connect their devices to the hospital’s Wi-Fi network to support high-speed texting and web browsing. How often do we believe the wired patient nightstand phones are used these days? With the usage demands having receded, how many of the dedicated voice-only lines connected to that dedicated hospital basement PBX are now sitting idle? Has anyone checked usage on these old voices only dedicated telephone lines? We can choose to maintain costly dedicated voice-only infrastructures blindly, but those who were using them have truly left the building!
The IT Wide Area Network (WAN) is now more important than it has ever been. Unlike the past where core IT applications and the infrastructures that supported users were located within a company headquarters facility in a room called the “Data Center” with most key users having insulated access to these systems via a relatively controlled Local Area Network (LAN), today a mobility intensive user base requires access to all corporate IT applications from anywhere and often times leverages enhanced collaboration tools that serve to create a virtual company headquarters meeting place. Formerly silo voice applications like voice messaging, for example, that used to operate on a standalone infrastructure, have been blended to be retrieved within the user email client or displaced entirely by other collaboration tools such as Instant Messaging. Live, telephone to telephone voice-only conversations are less of a corporate requirement with scheduled or even ad-hoc voice/video meet-me conference calls being the collaboration forum of choice. Today voice is much less isolated from the flow of information; rather, it has evolved to be just another application to be securely accessed over the WAN.
Today voice is much less isolated from the flow of information; rather, it has evolved to be just another application to be securely accessed over the WAN
As time marches on, so does the rapid transformation in how IT services are delivered, with voice being no exception. This new dynamic brought on by cloud solutions has resulted in the breakdown of IT silos and has commanded the need for a more matrix-led IT department. The opportunity for new processes and re-tooling, as well as a new consideration of how IT is run and the value it brings an organization, are now upon us.
In conclusion, take inventory of what your pre-historic voice-only infrastructure is costing you. Conduct utilization studies to determine who and to what extent that infrastructure is being used. Then begin building bridges, allowing your traditional voice services to begin routing over the WAN as the first choice – with a scaled-back traditional voice-only safety network back-up in place while you learn. Then when you master VoIP, cut your voice only safety net back driving higher expense reduction. I think you’ll be surprised just how much you can save!
Jay R. Shell ~ Global Director of IT Service Delivery & Governance for a Global Manufacturing organization headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.