TeleConsultants is increasingly being asked to provide technical project management services to help our clients implement solutions. This is partly from a need to minimise full time resources and also from recognition that this is a specialist area of ICT. Engaging specialist resources means the correct people are involved and ensures that key issues are not overlooked by the different delivery groups.
Clients feel that that by selecting a supplier to provide a telephony or unified communications (UC) solution will provide them with an organisation that will deliver the solution with little help from anyone else. Unfortunately this is not the case. The client is required to involve a number of areas of ICT and often these are provided by multiple 3rd parties.
What the Unified Communication (UC) solution provider will deliver:
- Core software, and less often now, some hardware (server, gateways)
- Endpoints, desk phones, softphones, desktop/mobile UC applications
- Profession services to install and configure their software
What you, the client, and your 3rd party providers, will need to deliver:
- Windows servers for UC applications (often virtual)
- Virtual datacentre infrastructure
- Other server requirements, DHCP, FTP
- Datacentre switches
- WAN routers
- Telecommunications trunks, often SIP
- Network switches
- Network design and Windows management expertise (IP addressing, VLANs and group policy etc)
- Desktop or end user services, Windows/Mac, iOS/Android
- Server i.e. Exchange, CRM
- Desktop, i.e. Outlook
- Other UC apps i.e. Skype for Business
There are many pieces of the puzzle that the UC service provider is not responsible for, especially in the datacentre and across the network. These are your servers and your network. UC service providers will come across many different environments and you will need to help them fit into yours.
These issues need not be complicated but do need to be understood and the correct resources involved early. This will ensure they are dealt with up front rather than close to cutover or during user acceptance testing – and you watch your cutover date slip!
By now you may be thinking that Cloud is the answer. Unfortunately this may resolve some of the datacentre and server issues however you still need to manage the network and end user interface.