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This Executive Guide is part of the SearchCIO Executive Guide series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date visit the Executive Guide section.
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VoIP deployment and management
|Expert's corner||Return to Table of Contents|
When you're looking at the ROI for a VoIP solution, one of the most difficult things to sort out is labor, perhaps second only to quantifying impact on user productivity. Partially, this is because of marketing from the manufacturers that leaves the promise of convergence -- which implies fewer people -- in the back of your mind. But integrating and supporting a new technology almost always means more work, not less.
In a medium-sized organization where you have a modest IT staff on salary, a VoIP deployment probably won't result in additional headcount, only in additional hours worked for the existing staff. Since they're usually salaried, there's really not much impact on ROI. But in a larger organization, you often have to deal with fluctuating resource requirements during the deployment and the ongoing need for support afterwards. Which brings us again to the question: "Will I save money on labor or not?"
To answer that question, it's best to divide your VoIP deployment into components, analyze the components and then add them back together. There are three main components you'll want to evaluate: the project itself, infrastructure support and user support/updates.
Assuming there's no project at all to maintain the status quo, any project costs you have would be compared to $0. So obviously, you'll be motivated to minimize the labor budget -- but take care, as the real key is in the project execution. If you run into integration trouble or technical difficulties, reworking can push out your ROI in a hurry. To get a realistic number, it's best if you take the cost of your project's risk mitigation strategies into account when calculating ROI for the project.
This component includes supporting the voice network, soft switches and gateways. In theory, you could potentially save money by consolidating the people who manage the data and voice networks into one group. However, for lots of different reasons (not the least of which is organizational inertia), this is rarely realized. If you think you'll save money by consolidating engineers and administrators, be prepared for an elevated level of critical scrutiny.
User support and "moves, adds, changes"
Understand that you're not doing less labor, so much as distributing the labor to be done. For example, if you're moving a department from one area of your building to another, traditionally, the "phone guy" would have to go move the phone from one desk to another and then make changes on the cross-connects, and possibly update some configuration on the PBX for 911. With VoIP, you still have the option of letting the designated "phone guy" move the phone, but now you can also have the user move the phone. Since the Ethernet MAC address on the phone doesn't change, the only labor necessarily performed by administrators is updating the location for 911 services. Thus, the question becomes, "how much are you spending today for moves, adds and changes?"
Tom Lancaster, CCIE# 8829 CNX# 1105, is a consultant with 15 years experience in the networking industry, and co-author of several books on networking, most recently, CCSPTM: Secure PIX and Secure VPN Study Guide published by Sybex.
|Glossary||Return to Table of Contents|
- Definition: VoIP (Source: SearchCIO.com, powered by Whatis.com)
- VoIP glossary (Source: SearchCIO.com, powered by Whatis.com)
- Definition: 5 terms you need to know before you employ VoIP (Source: SearchCIO.com, powered by Whatis.com)
- Definition: VoIP gateway (Source: SearchCIO.com, powered by Whatis.com)
- Definition: VoIP phone (Source: SearchCIO.com, powered by Whatis.com)
- Definition: VoIP spam (Source: SearchCIO.com, powered by Whatis.com
|VoIP basics||Return to Table of Contents|
- Tip: Introduction to Internet telephony (Source: SearchVoIP.com, 3/14/2005)
- Guide: Learn IT in 10 easy steps -- VoIP (Source: SearchVoIP, 3/28/2005)
- Ask the Expert: VoIP pros and cons (Source: SearchSMB.com, 6/07/2004)
- Article: TechTarget readers hungry for VoIP (Source: SearchVoIP.com, 5/16/2006)
- Chapter download: VoIP for Dummies Chapter 5 -- Getting switched
|Justifying VoIP||Return to Table of Contents|
- Column: VoIP is worth considering (Source: SearchCIO.com, 4/28/2005)
- Tip: VoIP helps company trim costs, response time (Source: SearchCIO.com, 5/24/2006)
- Tip: ROI for VoIP -- Calculating labor costs (Source: SearchVoIP.com, 5/08/2006)
- Tip: VoIP, death and taxes -- Are they all inevitable? (Source: SearchCIO.com, 9/21/2005)
- Article: VoIP more than hype (Source: SearchCRM.com, 6/16/2005)
- Article: Dialing in the VoIP strategic advantage (Source: Harvard Business School, special to SearchCIO.com, 9/29/2005)
- Article: VoIP for SMBs: Cutting edge and cutting costs (Source: SearchSMB.com, 8/30/2005)
- Article: VoIP right for single-site call centers (Source: SearchCRM.com, 8/10/2005)
- Article: Number of at-home agents to skyrocket (Source: SearchCRM.com, 1/10/2006)
|VoIP deployment and management||Return to Table of Contents|
- Article: The best laid VoIP plans (Source: SearchCIO.com, 7/19/05)
- Article: VoIP -- What you don't know could hurt you (Source: SearchCIO.com, 2/07/2005)
- Article: Preserving VoIP data (Source: CIO Decisions, 9/01/2006)
- Article: Cardinals join VoIP league (Source: SearchCIO.com, 10/27/2005)
- Article: Making strides with VoIP (Source: CIO Decisions, 6/01/2005)
- Article: Into the woods with VoIP (Source: SearchCIO.com, 7/14/2005)
- Q&A: VoIP and SOX: Tricky recipe for CIOs (Source: SearchCIO.com, 7/21/05)
|VoIP security||Return to Table of Contents|
- Tip: Old security measures won't stop VoIP hackers (Source: SearchCIO.com, 2/15/2006)
- Article: Don't believe the VoIP security hype (Source: SearchVoIP.com, 11/23/05)
|More resources||Return to Table of Contents|
This article originally appeared on SearchCIO.com.
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