What UC and VoIP equipment is considered essential for an enterprise? How do I determine what to purchase?
UC and VoIP equipment varies so drastically for each organization that the only way to go about a purchasing decision is to assess your infrastructure, network and company needs.
Convergence generally means less equipment, more reliance upon the network and available resources -- like staff and money -- to support the venture.
Start with the infrastructure to assess needed improvements and to ensure that your power is protected against transients and surges and is backed up sufficiently during brown out and black out conditions. Whether your enterprise is dependent upon one Internet connection or multiple ones, your configuration should include diverse routes as well as providers. Unlike alternative routing that can route traffic based upon the time of day, best cost or via multiple gateway destinations (that are either distributed or centralized), diverse routes are separate paths to a provider using different facilities. Many enterprises do not have true diverse routes since the last mile is often dictated by their local telco.
Internal infrastructure may include servers that may be virtualized depending upon the size and need of the enterprise. Where your dependency upon the network rides is where you will determine the necessary UC and VoIP equipment.
A network assessment is the second tool needed in making an informed decision regarding UC and VoIP equipment. A network assessment is used to scientifically discover the network health and forensics you may need before you begin your implementation.
The third tool is a needs assessment, and this is accomplished through internal company meetings and engagements to discover the user's needs along with management's goals. You can determine what equipment is the right fit for your enterprise by using consultants engaged in the field or by formally or informally undergoing request for information bids (RFIBs) and request for quotations (RFQs) purchasing processes.
There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to UC and VoIP equipment and this means you have a lot of work ahead of you regardless of how small or large your enterprise is. The more upfront investment in time you make, the less reaction time and cost will be on the back end of the project. The physical inspection (site survey), network assessment (scientific method) and needs assessment (user/company goals) will dictate required equipment and other considerations for a successful implementation.
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