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Is there any gradual approach to convergence or is it a fork-lift approach?

Is there any gradual approach to convergence or is it a fork-lift approach?

Is there any gradual approach to convergence or is it a fork-lift approach?
Yes, there is a gradual approach.

You may start your first convergence steps at the "user mind" level. The organization needs to realize and learn...

that integrating your communication tools (phone, cell, IM, e-mail, etc.), your organization tools (calendar, reminder notes, recording, etc.) and your business data, will help them become more productive, efficient and cost effective. As soon as you make this cultural change, you will achieve your first major goal, even if it is just a "mind set change." The digital experience that we all have today will ease the adoption of the new concepts but there are consultants and companies out there that have the expertise to help companies of all sizes to "transition their minds."

As a second step towards convergence, try to select one quick road to generate a rapid impact in your business. You will realize that most times, a big impact can be generated if you start with your communications tools and make your email, calendar and telephone systems converge in a unified toolset:

  • Dial from your address book.
  • Pop-up your customer data when you receive his call.
  • Let your voicemail reach you when you are on the road.

Thirdly, deploy the tools, measure the impact and communicate the results that you accomplish.

From the investment perspective, each deployment is a unique experience, but you will find that you don't need to change everything you have to get initial results. For instance, rather than changing your network, your PBX, your PCs, your back office application all at one time, you can just attach a small IP/PBX (softswitch) to your existing system, and start moving key users to the IP side of the fence, and gradually transition users to the new world when you are ready to justify the effort.

In other words, legacy and converged can coexist, and you can start diminishing one, and growing the other.

For a converged infrastructure in big organizations, most of the approaches are gradual and they start with a pilot. Greenfield opportunities like new installations, new sites or new offices are great starting points. Once they realize the benefits, the conversion process is accelerated. However, most of the advantages come from converged applications and they are realized when all the interested parties access or use the same tools. In the case of SMB it normally starts with a PBX replacement and in that case you will undertake 100% of the project but will also achieve 100% of the possible benefits.

This was last published in October 2005

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