Room for GrowthBy Darrell Dunn | Posted 2007-08-27 Email Print
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Companies are increasingly turning to IP-based systems to replace traditional circuit-switched networks. But how ready are the companies--and the technology--for the next wave of business communications?
Room for Growth
Even with unified communications options growing, few businesses want to rip and replace existing equipment. Instead, businesses are looking for ways to meld existing infrastructure with pieces of an IP-based network, starting an evolutionary process where CIOs can determine how quickly changes occur.
Alan Weisenberger, vice president of technology services for the Evangelical Christian Credit Union, had no interest in undertaking a large-scale overhaul of an existing TDM-based network. But by 2003, he also knew upgrades were necessary. ECCU services about $2.5 billion in assets, focused primarily on providing loans for Christian organizations, missions and schools.
Although Weisenberger felt IP-based networks lacked the maturity necessary for major deployment, he says he could see where the industry was headed and wanted to begin positioning the infrastructure to use IP-based tools.
ECCU worked with Siemens to create a hybrid platform that enabled both TDM and IP-based communications. The credit union has put its branch office on an IP-based system, and began increasing its use of IP within its headquarters in Brea, Calif., although he feels no hurry to accelerate a deployment schedule. "Even to this day, we think the IP market is still maturing," Weisenberger says. "The TDM architecture has been around a long time, and the IP world has just got a ways to go to catch up. But we are gaining expertise and an understanding of issues associated with voice-over-IP without having to move our more critical functions into that area as yet."
The investment in IP-based platforms and unified communications tools is being justified by most enterprises not on the basis of cost savings, but the ability of the converged network to provide advances in streamlining communications, collaboration and integration.