Voice and data culture clash

Using Internet Protocol (IP) as the transport protocol for voice traffic has opened a number of opportunities for companies of any size to reduce their total communications spend. Whether it’s by leveraging an existing data network for voice traffic or the Internet to combine voice and data infrastructures,

there are many more options for companies to transmit voice and fax calls between branch offices and overseas. The use of IP, and more importantly IP Telephony, can allow companies to not only reduce their operating costs, but also provide advanced messaging features, intuitive user interfaces and mobility features that improve employee productivity and subsequently help to enhance customer satisfaction.

While the list of potential benefits is long, some companies are still hesitant about converging their voice and data networks. A common concern among executives is that their own IT departments may not have the necessary expertise and discipline or data infrastructure to support the transition and continually manage the system. Many feel ill equipped to deal with technology convergence because their IT personnel have been trained in either voice or data communication but are generally not proficient in both. The focus on integrating these two traditionally disparate fields has created some tension among voice specialists whose strength lies in deploying and managing mission critical voice infrastructures and data specialists who have a much better understanding of the underlying technology involved in IP Telephony.

To clear the hurdles created by limited in-house expertise and resources, Canadian companies are increasingly partnering with technology services providers. Adept in both voice and data networks, integrators can deploy IP Telephony solutions seamlessly into an organization’s existing data network by properly planning and managing the project, developing a design, deploying the infrastructure components and measuring the system performance. By working alongside an integrator throughout the project, in-house voice and data personnel gain a unified understanding of the solution from a technical, operational and business perspective.

Integrators customize the transfer of knowledge to internal support departments, encouraging IT administrators to participate in testing and implementation so they will be well equipped with the necessary knowledge when left to support the infrastructure. This informal training alleviates companies from having to learn new processes or technologies during implementation, which can be expensive, time consuming and often unsuccessful. It also gives voice and data communication specialists time to establish proper ongoing operational roles and responsibilities.

IP Telephony pilot programs have become increasingly popular because they allow companies to assess the technology on a smaller scale, mitigating the financial and operational risks of deploying an enterprise-wide syste

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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