Getting a Good ROI

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Implementing a VoIP system is not a "forklift upgrade," meaning it is unlikely that you'll come in with a forklift, remove all the old equipment, and replace it with shiny, new stuff. VoIP deployments are best done iteratively, picking some candidate sites or locations where the success is likely—places where the ROI will be good. You want to win big the first few times, and build on your successes.

Take advantage of the easy opportunities. Pick your battles. The following are some candidates where the ROI for your first steps toward a full implementation is likely to be good:

  • Outfitting new offices or sites— Some say that remodeling an old house is three times the work of building similar rooms from scratch. Similarly, gutting an existing infrastructure, trying to fit new infrastructure into something for which it was not designed, is both difficult and expensive. A new branch office or a new wing of a building still in the planning stage is a good place to consider an early VoIP implementation. Spec it out right, planning for future growth, and make sure the new network equipment and wiring have suitable capacity.

  • Planning a data network upgrade— A network upgrade means changing the network's architecture and installing devices, such as IP routers and switches, with much higher capacity. Include VoIP requirements in the planning, and make sure the new devices support the VoIP characteristics you will use.

  • Sitting on excess capacity— You may be in the enviable position of having significantly upgraded your data networks already. You have replaced the hubs in your LANs with high-speed switches and given your users fast computers with fast LAN cards. Your WAN backbones use high-capacity fiber and optical switches. Bandwidth truly has been in excess after the dot-com bubble. Go for it!

  • Reconsidering an expiring PBX lease or service contract— Don't consider a forklift upgrade when you are renegotiating your current PSTN contracts. However, this is a good time to bring in a secondary set of potential providers and to consider converting a portion of the organization to VoIP. You may get surprising negotiation leverage, and your existing provider may be very interested in being on your short list of VoIP providers, thus giving you some great assistance in getting started with VoIP.

  • Upgrading the current voice network— If your voice network is currently constrained, you know improvements are necessary, soon. This may mean an architectural reworking; does it make sense to convert some of your telephony backbone to VoIP, without changing end-user phones? As an alternative, if you are at the point where you need to add new phones, can they be VoIP phones, added a few at a time? Such an approach will help you to gain experience with VoIP in small steps while gathering feedback on user satisfaction with the new phones. Such feedback can help build momentum and gain a buy-in from those controlling your budget.

  • Supporting remote users with an excellent VPN— VoIP can be an excellent way to provide telephone support to remote workers, such as those providing help desk support for your organization from their offices at home. The keys to making this work well are high-speed network connections to their remote locations and high-speed, high-capacity VPN support. These workers are good candidates for IP phones or softphones.

  • Converging technologies after a company merger or acquisition— Mergers or acquisitions often bring together different network technologies and phone systems. In these situations, it often makes sense to begin the process of convergence. It may be the case that a company that you have acquired has already implemented VoIP. Leverage its experience and apply it within the new merged company. Or maybe you have implemented VoIP and have acquired a company with a traditional PBX system. Instead of trying to manage and merge both types of systems, consider extending your VoIP system to the acquired company.


Taking Charge of Your VoIP Project
Taking Charge of Your VoIP Project
ISBN: 1587200929
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 90

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