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Deploying VoIP: Five things every CIO should know

Navigating the complexity of a VoIP deployment can be overwhelming and it may seem like you need a technical degree to understand it. Here are five tips to help steer through the fog of a VoIP migration.

Navigating the complexity of a VoIP deployment can be overwhelming and it may seem like you need a technical degree to understand it.

Here are five tips to help CIOs steer through the fog of a VoIP migration.

  • Be prepared and fully understand whether you are ready for IP telephony.
    Before embarking on the project, have a qualified convergence consultant perform a network-readiness assessment to determine the cost to upgrade. Understand all the components of the solution and be prepared to explain to the business executives what the underlying costs are.

  • It's about the applications, not the technology.
    Once the costs are fully understood, the CIO must be able to discuss the benefits in business terms, not technology terms. Simply put, business leaders really don't care about IP, SIP, telephony or other technical terms.

  • Leverage existing technology wherever possible.
    This is a good practice all the time, but was lost during the late 1990s. By bringing together all of the corporate applications and infrastructure, companies will recognize greater efficiencies and reduce the amount of excess and waste in many IT organizations.

  • Sort out the internal politics.
    The CIO must strategically determine who owns the converged infrastructure. I recommend that companies cease distinguishing between voice and data networking, and only concern themselves with corporate communications.

  • Remember that one size does not fit all.
    Pick the solution that fits the business best rather than trying to force the business to change to take advantage of the technology. In many cases, the latest and greatest technical solution isn't the best thing for the business and a slower migratory approach is prudent.

Zeus Kerravala manages Yankee Group's infrastructure research and consulting. His areas of expertise involve working with customers to solve their business issues through the deployment of infrastructure technology solutions, including switching, routing, network management, voice solutions and VPNs.

Before joining Yankee Group, Kerravala was a senior engineer and technical project manager for Greenwich Technology Partners, a leading network infrastructure and engineering consulting firm. Prior to that, he was a vice president of IT for Ferris, Baker Watts, a mid-Atlantic based brokerage firm, acting as both a lead engineer and project manager deploying corporate-wide technical solutions to support the firm's business units. Kerravala's first task at FBW was to roll out a new frame relay infrastructure with connections to branch offices, service providers, vendors and the stock exchange.

Kerravala was also an engineer and technical project manager for Alex. Brown & Sons, responsible for the technology related to the equity trading desks.

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