After years of being treated as an unreliable Internet oddity, Internet protocol telephony systems have grown into dependable workhorses.
Many enterprises still use the technology sparingly, but more than 20 percent use it in some part of their organizations.
The benefitscost savings from reduced network-maintenance requirements, greater flexibility in phone-enabled applications and more options for carriersare clear.
But the single non-negotiable requirementa clear and reliable dial tone every time a user picks up the phonewas hard to deliver.
Not (so much) any more.
Pulte Mortgage in Englewood, Colo., made the switch and was surprised not only by the cost savings, but also the business-continuity functions it got at the same time.
Boeing is also switching, scrapping 125 older phone switches in one of the largest migrations of its kind.
Is the switch for you? Read on to sample the experiences of Pulte, Boeing and others, as well as pointers, resource lists and ROI guides to see if VOIP should be in your future.
Talking Points: After years as an also-ran, VOIP is in the front ranks of business tech.
Leap to IP Is Still a Tough Call Despite advantages in cost and maintenance, it still takes a leap of faith to migrate, and a lot of determination to sell the idea to decision makers.
No Killer App, But Lots of Small Enticements Smallish efficiencies and the increasing number of apps aimed at particular businesses build up to make a good case for VOIP.
Boeing's Jumbo Phone-System Overhaul: Boeing moves 125 phone switches to IP, in what may be the largest corporate migration to date.
Non-Trivial Migration: 35,000 Users, 125 PBXs, Clusters, Servers
Cutting Costs; Admirable ROI: 49 percent over seven years.
Unsupportable Optimism? Some analysts say Boeing and other companies may be ignoring potential downsides.
Cost Analysis: Functionality aside, do the costs justify a migration to VOIP?