There is no doubt that IP telephony is going mainstream. Savvy business managers understand that merging voice and data networks into one integrated, converged network will reduce toll charges and make the network easier to manage, which will ultimately lower the companys total cost of ownership and deliver a promising return on investment.
However, converging networks is a complex undertaking that requires the proper due diligence to ensure the network is voice ready. Quality voice traffic has highly specific demands, including low latency and jitter, low packet loss and sufficient bandwidth.
Implementing a converged network without first undergoing a comprehensive technical and business assessment, including a financial analysis, can result in a solution that does not meet a clients expectations. Although in some cases these assessments can be performed by internal IT staff, they are better handled by a full-service, experienced IT solutions provider able to recognize potential issues before they arise. Only after a company and its technology partner understand the business drivers, assess the current infrastructure, and analyze different options from a technical, business and financial perspective can a solution be selected that will ensure the client maximizes the value of its new network.
A full assessment should include five steps:
Step 1: Understand the clients communication needs and strategies, business concerns and potential solution options.
Step 2: Identify infrastructure requirements for each solution option.
Step 3: Assess the current technical infrastructure and business environment with the relevant cost drivers required to implement the selected technical/solution design.
Step 4: Measure the costs and benefits of the selected solution designs.
Step 5: Present the road map and recommendations for improvement to the client.
Performing a comprehensive assessment as described above ultimately will help clients understand how to maximize the value of their converged network. In addition, because assessments require solutions providers and clients to work together as a team, the provider soon grows into the role of trusted advisor. In fact, my company, Dimension Data, has been brought into several new accounts by companies not realizing the value of previously implemented convergence solutions. By validating the configuration on their existing gear and performing comprehensive assessments, Dimension Data was able to identify such opportunities as call center, unified messaging and/or XML applications. In each instance, the implementation of such solutions resulted in the clients newfound satisfaction for its converged network and respect for the newfound technology partner now trusted advisor that made it happen.
A convergence assessment performed by an experienced solutions provider can alleviate much of the pain associated with the move to a converged network. This low-risk, business-based approach will not only meet the clients requirements today, but also will produce a road map for future progression.
Mitchell Hershkowitz is the area practice manager for converged communications for Dimension Data, a global services and solutions provider and Cisco Gold Partner. Hershkowitz has more than 10 years experience in the telecom and IT fields.
|Dimension Data www.didata.com|
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November 13 2019 @ 17:15:01 UTC