Infoworld recently posted a great story detailing this exact problem and just how bone-headed IP telephony implementation can go, and how a simple mistake (like mis-calibration) can make an entire technology seem deficient.
In the story a VoIP service provider was called in to an organization to check out their communication system. The organization had been experiencing a lot of crippling problems with their IP PBX. The organization’s employees were experiencing degradation in call quality, dropped calls and busy signals when and where there shouldn’t. In other words this organization’s VoIP deployment has turned into a mess in a manner their old traditional telephony solution never had been.
Turns out they were using an IP PBX that wasn’t nearly powerful enough to meet their current needs.
Now, before we go and blame this organization’s VoIP service provider for the mess we need to keep a few points in mind. Yes, logically speaking their IP telephony provider should have taken a look at the organization’s needs and looked at the system they were using and said “no way!” But there are a lot of assumptions found within that statement, not the least of which is the assumption this organization regularly consulted with their VoIP service provider to make sure their existing system met their existing needs.
This blame-game also assumes the organization would have listened to their VoIP service provider even if they asked them to regularly come in and offer suggestions. From the sounds of the story this organization wanted to go with the cheapest option possible and then got mad when it didn’t work for them. The story relates how the organization’s sole IT employee was “IT-in-name-only” while also noting the office manager was both tech-adverse and spending-adverse, shining a whole lot of light on this unfortunate solution.
You see- this office manager hadn’t called their voice vendor in years because this manager felt working with them would cost too much money. Their IP telephony system was first installed a couple of years ago and had never been upgraded. In the meantime their organization had grown by leaps and bounds, which left 100 employees trying to utilize an IP telephony system designed to service an absolute maximum of 25 employees. No wonder they ran into problems!
Engage Your VoIP Provider
Keeping in touch with your PBX vendor and VoIP service provider after your installation is important when you use a premise-based PBX solution. While your hosted VoIP service provider can monitor every aspect of your service activity and be proactive in provisioning your service, premise-based IP PBX vendors typically have little to no insight into how you use their product. In concept – this is a difference between having a full service communications experience vs. a do-it-yourself approach. Not that there is anything wrong with the latter but such approach is more involved and requires greater degree of expertise. Your voice carrier who provides service to your premise-based IP PBX has no idea or interest in knowing how that system is performing either unless, of course, they are retained to manage it.
Be Careful- It Could Happen to You
If you read this story without the context of why their communications system wasn’t working, if you simply heard the horror story of aggravating busy signals and debilitating dropped calls, then you would naturally walk away worried the same would happen to your phone systems if you decided to make the switch to IP telephony. But if you look at this situation within context you’ll realize that technology isn’t at fault, and that by taking the simple precaution of making sure you sign up for the correct solution to meet your needs that you’ll never encounter this issue.
By all means consider the potential downsides to switching to IP telephony, but make sure those downsides are legitimate and not taken way out of context. Provided you sign up for the right solution to meet your needs IP telephony works great. While you may consider the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” useful, we suggest you also adopt the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t blame it!”