The PC revolution more than two decades ago began a cycle of constant change for the IT manager. Once PCs were connected to the Internet and the Web was born, complexity took on a whole new level of meaning. Throughout all this, the stalwart PBX remained untouched, unchanged and isolated in its Time Division Multiplexed (TDM) digital technology.
All that changed with the acceptance of IP Telephony (IPT). With IPT, the PBX is no longer a separate technology island on its own private network, but is now located on the corporate network infrastructure. This is good news as IPT delivers lower costs, business integration and productivity-boosting features. However, it also meant bad news for the IT manager who now has the additional task of acquiring and managing the IP PBX with little or no voice experience.
Hence, the era of business communications entanglement begins. IT managers are challenged with determining the best IPT solution for their organization. Oftentimes, they have to decide between multiple offerings and sometimes finding themselves “tangled up.”
There are many unified communications (UC or unicoms) offerings to choose from and IT managers must select the one that is best suited for their company. Here are some tips to aid the IT manager in untangling business communications (UC or unicoms):
1. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO):Ask the vendor to provide a 5-10 year TCO analysis. Then have a competitor provide the same analysis. The second TCO analysis will help keep both vendors honest and produce a credible result that helps remove entanglement due to unexpected high costs.
2. Quote Growth: Ask the vendor to provide a second quote for a larger system after five years of business growth. This will root out many looming forklift upgrades, revealing the flexibility of the vendor’s solution. Forklift upgrades are a very disruptive entanglement affecting both the overall business as well as the IT department.
3. Include All Features: Ensure that the vendor has quoted all required features. Surprisingly, this previews the entanglements of the many components needed for UC or unicoms business communications.
4. Financial Stability. UC or unicoms technologies will continue to evolve for several years, and a business must continue to improve its system. Financially stressed vendors have difficulty delivering enhancements and may prevent you from enjoying new features, or worse, require a restart and replacement of the business communications system.
For any organization, communication is a core business function and adding unnecessary complexity to the infrastructure increases business risk and costs.