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IP, Telecom, VOIP, Telephony

IP, Telecom, VOIP, Telephony

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  • 1. WHITE PAPERSeamless UnifiedCommunications for theEverywhere Enterprise
  • 2. Table of Contents1. Executive summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32. The Enterprise IP PBX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43. Adding Unified Communications to VoIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54. Integrating Mobility Seamlessly and Securely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75. Implementing an Integrated UC/VoIP Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Figure 1: Distributed architecture diagram. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Figure 2: Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Seamless Unified Communications for the Everywhere Enterprise PAGE 2
  • 3. 1. Executive summary This white paper examines the considerations an IT manager faces when seeking toThe Changing Nature of implement Unified Communications (UC) seamlessly (and successfully) throughoutBusiness Communications the Everywhere Enterprise. And virtually every enterprise is everywhere these days.In a white paper titled The Employees work at offices, of course, but they also work at home and from public places,Changing Role of Mobile including airports, hotels, customer and partner facilities, and coffee shops. As will beCommunications in the shown, the simplicity and quality of the user experience are what should be consideredWorkplace, Frost & Sullivan the hallmark of a successful implementation of seamless UC for the Everywheremakes an important Enterprise.observation about theEverywhere Enterprise: “As Owing to its ability to deliver dramatic improvements in productivity, a wide variety of UCcompanies grow increasingly solutions are currently available, and most of these work well enough. The real challengeglobal and dispersed, with for IT managers, therefore, becomes making an optimal selection from among the manyemployees working from choices available. Which one has the set of features that best matches the organization’splaces other than the office needs and culture—now and in the future? Which one is the most cost-effective? Whichon a regular basis, one will be the easiest to implement, use and manage?organizations must deploytechnology that supports Further complicating the task, most organizations will not be implementing UC fromcommunications and a clean slate. Most enterprises now have voice over IP (VoIP) communications, instantcollaboration for a growing, messaging and/or Web conferencing solutions for some or all employees. Many are alsoand changing, population of investing in a mobility solution to integrate smartphones and tablets into their enterprisemobile workers. Unified wireless LANs, and may already support VoIP over the WLAN (VoWLAN).communications, which In such environments, implementing Unified Communications enterprise-wide in aincorporate voice, presence, way that is seamless and consistent for users and administrators alike can indeed beconferencing and chat a daunting challenge. The effort is well worth it, though, because UC is capable ofcapabilities, make it easier for delivering tremendous benefit to any organization.people to share information,locate experts as soon as they Laying the Foundation for Enterprise-wide UCneed them, speed andimprove decision-making, The situation in most enterprises seeking to implement Unified Communications todayand drive productivity. But to can be broadly characterized as one of two scenarios:be truly valuable to allemployees, UC technologies •  Greenfield” environments, where voice communications remain mostly or exclusively “– especially voice and circuit-switched.presence – must be made •  oIP environments, where the organization has already deployed an IP PBX and IP Veasy to use and available to phones.everyone who needs them,regardless of where they are The former obviously has the luxury of implementing a fully integrated UC solution fromworking or on which device.” a clean slate. But the latter also has the ability to implement a fully functional, easy-to- use, and cost-effective UC solution—one that preserves the investment in VoIP—with the right approach. Seamless Unified Communications for the Everywhere Enterprise PAGE 3
  • 4. 2. The Enterprise IP PBXAt the risk of over-simplification, IP PBXes have either a centralized or a distributedarchitecture. Centralized architectures are characterized by a single, very large systemdesigned to support tens of thousands of users. Remote users normally connect via theenterprise WAN back to the centralized system. Whether local or remote, all users aredependent on the central system for voice services.Distributed architectures work differently. System capabilities are provided by multiplesmaller systems internetworked via the enterprise WAN and/or the Public SwitchedTelephone Network (PSTN). Instead of a single, central “mainframe” IP PBX providingdial-tone for all end users, the distributed configuration involves a network of 10, 20 oreven 100 smaller IP PBX modules all working in unison to deliver the same capabilities.Even though there are multiple modules in the distributed architecture, the configurationstill provides a single service to all the end users and can be managed as a single systemby the administrators.In general, the distributed architecture is superior for any organization with multiplefacilities. Vendors of distributed solutions normally offer a range of modules at differentprice/performance points, enabling the configuration to be “right-sized” at each site tominimize costs. These modules are usually designed as dedicated appliances to ensureadequate performance for the number of local users supported, but some solutions areavailable as software capable of running on an ordinary server. ShoreTel Director PSTN /ITSP HEADQUARTERS INTERNATIONAL BRANCH Headquarters Server (System Adminstration, voicemail, ShoreTel ShoreTel Communicator & auto attendant, work groups) Communicator & RoamAnywhere [Physical or Virtual] RoamAnywhere Analog Device ShoreTel Voice Switches ShoreTel Contact Communicator Distributed Voice Center Server (voicemail & auto attendant) ShoreTel [Physical or Virtual] ShoreTel Appliances (Collaboration, Communicator VPN Concentrator, Contact Center & Mobility Router) ShoreTel ShoreTel IP Phone IP Phone ShoreTel Voice Switches IP WAN ShoreTel Communicator & ShoreTel RoamAnywhere ShoreTel Voice Switch Communicator & ShoreTel RoamAnywhere Communicator ShoreTel Legacy VPN Phone Voicemail OFFICE Legacy ANYWHERE Phones Legacy PBX PSTN /ITSP REGIONAL OFFICE PSTN SINGL E E-IMAGE ARCHITECTUR Figure 1: Distributed ArchitectureSeamless Unified Communications for the Everywhere Enterprise PAGE 4
  • 5. The distributed architecture also has the inherent advantage of being both more reliableand more scalable. The use of multiple, modules—all internetworked and functioningin unison—enables the sessions being managed in any one experiencing a failure to betransitioned to another, automatically and often transparently. And rather than requiringany major or “forklift” upgrades, additional modules can simply be added as neededto increase capacity or to support more users, thereby affording both incrementalscalability and increased resiliency in the enterprise-wide N+1 system configuration.To maximize the reliability and scalability advantages of distributed architectures, thebest modules are designed with built-in redundancies to minimize local failures, andthe entire network of modules can be configured and managed as a single system.This latter ability is a major area of differentiation among available solutions. In somecases, different modules offer different feature sets and, therefore, must be manageddifferently. In other cases, the only difference among modules is their size (the numberof users supported), and these solutions can usually be managed by a single console andsometimes with a single software image.For organizations with a single, major facility the centralized architecture may besuperior. Like the original circuit-switched PBX, an IP PBX with a centralized architectureis designed to handle many tens of thousands of users. As a single point of failure,however, these large-scale systems normally have built-in redundancies and must bedeployed in redundant configurations. However, in systems where the redundancy doesnot add usable capacity (characterized by modules operating in a “hot standby” mode),the inherently reliable N+1 distributed architecture may afford a more cost-effective yetequally capable and large-scale solution. Although being “centralized” in the sense thatthe multiple modules might all be located in the same data center, the many advantagesof the distributed architecture would still apply.The communications capabilities or feature set of the IP PBX, whether characterized bya centralized or distributed architecture, is also important. It is equally important thatthe features needed should be understood from up front, and one good way to do thisis to survey the users. In some offerings, all available VoIP capabilities are bundled ina full feature set. In other offerings, the basic system may include only core voice callcapabilities, with all additional features being optional, and available separately (andfor a separate licensing fee). Unbundling enables organizations to license only the VoIPfeatures needed, which may result in some cost savings. But be careful: capabilitiesadded later may require an upgrade to the system’s hardware.3. Adding Unified Communications to VoIPFor the purposes of this discussion, Unified Communications is multi-device, multi-location and multimedia with support for voice, video and data—all with presence andrich information integration. Specific capabilities may include: collaboration; video, audioand Web conferencing; conference recording; unified messaging (integrating voiceSeamless Unified Communications for the Everywhere Enterprise PAGE 5
  • 6. mail and email); instant messaging; presence and scheduling; contact center support;desktop sharing; and mobility. Of course, not all UC solutions support all of thesecapabilities, but many now do.Organizations with an existing IP PBX normally have the choice of implementingthat particular vendor’s UC capabilities, or layering on a separate UC solution fromanother vendor. Both are viable choices, and neither is inherently superior. Indeed,industry standards like the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) are designed to promoteinteroperability among systems from different vendors. And vendors routinely implementUC capabilities on hardware separate from the IP PBX.For these reasons, IT managers are free to consider UC solutions based on their ownmerits. How robust, complete and mature is the feature set? How well does it conformto standards and, therefore, interoperate? How satisfied is the installed base of currentusers? How easy is it to install, use and manage? How reliable is it? How extensible is thedesign? How does its price/performance compare? How competitive is the total cost ofownership? How does it integrated with the VoIP system for both end users and networkmanagers?IT managers are likely to discover that the most significant differentiation in today’s UCmarketplace exists in two areas: ease of use; and total cost of ownership, with the latterbeing strongly influenced by ease of implementation and management.Ease of Use cannot be taken for granted when UC features are added to or layeredatop an IP telephony infrastructure. A robust UC solution has many applications forcommunicating and collaborating, and this level of sophistication can make some difficultto use. This is especially true for solutions that offer UC capabilities on separate systemsin a piecemeal or add-on fashion. All-in-one solutions, by contrast, are generally betterintegrated and are, therefore, normally easier to use.UC capabilities that are easy to use afford two benefits to the organization. The first is thesignificantly greater improvement in productivity. As IT managers know, features that lacka consistent user interface or are otherwise difficult to use will, simply, not be used. Userswill instead turn to other systems, such as email, that are less effective for collaboration.The second benefit is, admittedly, more self-serving: Simple systems result in fewer callsto the Help Desk. Simple systems also require less training, and the most intuitive of userinterfaces may even eliminate the need for any training.Total Cost of Ownership is sometimes ignored in situations where a satisfactory return oninvestment is all but guaranteed, as it is with the dramatic gains in productivity affordedby Unified Communications. But some very powerful UC solutions can also be quiteexpensive to own and operate, while other equally capable and powerful solutions areremarkably affordable. Indeed, some solutions are purpose-built to minimize the totalcost of ownership by minimizing both the up-front capital expenditure and the ongoingoperational expenditures.Seamless Unified Communications for the Everywhere Enterprise PAGE 6
  • 7. Capital expenditures vary dramatically with different solutions, especially when taking into account future needs that may require costly upgrades for some systems. For this reason, the incremental scalability afforded by the distributed architecture (with a variety of modules at a range of price/performance points) normally has the CapEx advantage. The N+1 reliability of the distributed architecture also has a CapEx advantage because none of capacity is needed for a “hot standby” mode, as is the case with some centralized systems. TCO comparison of major UC system vendors (pre-tax)The Win/Win of BYODIn an Analyst Insight report $M 35 10-year analysis $32.60titled Enterprise-Grade BYOD based on 1,500 users 30 $29.18Strategies, Aberdeen Group across 3 sitesanswers the “Why BYOD?” 25 $21.76 $22.04question as follows: Long distance charges 20“The BYOD phenomenon has Network costs $15.68momentum in part because it Electricity consumption 15simultaneously meets the System management, MACs, downtime $9.87 10 Support servicesneeds of both the Implementation and trainingorganization and its Capital cost for network upgrade 5employees to more broadly Capital cost for telephony system 0propagate mobility and its ShoreTel Mitel Avaya Microsoft Cisco TDMbenefits.For the organization: it Figure 2: Total Cost of Ownershipprovides an opportunity to Operating expenditures are also generally lower for distributed solutions for this reason:reduce the cost of mobility A family of modules, each supporting dozens or hundreds of users, makes distributedoverall by transferring solutions suitable for small and medium businesses. Because many SMBs lack IT/equipment costs to UC expertise, these solutions must be designed for ease of implementation, use andemployees, significantly management. And this simplicity scales right along with those distributed solutions thatdecreasing capital expense are also capable of supporting tens of thousands of users in large enterprises.budgets…For employees: … it enablesthe interleaving of their 4. Integrating Mobility Seamlessly and Securelypersonal/social life back intothe workplace as appropriate, Mobility means different things to different people. This discussion takes a rather broadoffering the potential for a approach to what it means to be mobile in the Everywhere Enterprise. Everyone agreeshealthier work/life balance.” that field personnel are mobile; they are either in front of or en route to a customer, and are rarely at a desk. But nearly every other employee is also mobile at times. Some are “corridor warriors” who leave their desks regularly to attend meetings. Some routinely work from home, either as full- or part-time telecommuters, or just to catch up in the evenings or on the weekends. Consider this: The vast majority of people now have a smartphone, and a growing number are buying tablets. And as with their credit cards, people don’t leave home without them. The enterprise can choose either to ignore or even fight this trend, or to instead embrace its inevitability by telling employees: Bring Your Own Device. Done Seamless Unified Communications for the Everywhere Enterprise PAGE 7
  • 8. right, BYOD is a win/win arrangement. Employees get to use a single device for personaland business needs, and organizations save money by issuing fewer so-called “corporatedevices.”In a white paper titled The Changing Role of Mobile Communications in the Workplace,Frost & Sullivan expresses the BYOD business imperative this way: “To stay competitivein an increasingly mobile workplace, companies must find ways to allow their employeesto communicate and collaborate anytime, anywhere, and from any device.”Achieving seamless and secure support of mobility in general, and BYOD in particular,is perhaps the biggest challenge IT managers face today when implementing aseamless, easy-to-use and enterprise-wide UC solution. Every solution treats mobileusers somewhat differently, and the win/win potential of BYOD is by no means assured.Without the right approach, costs will go up as the users’ quality of experience goesdown.Here is a list of the essential capabilities needed to integrate mobility seamlessly andsecurely into the enterprise-wide UC infrastructure:•  igorous authentication and virtual private networking with strong encryption to ensure R integrity and confidentiality•  he ability to minimize mobile phone and long-distance charges by intelligently and T transparently choosing the least cost path between carrier and enterprise networks•  upport for the full suite of UC capabilities on the most popular BYOD smartphones S and tablets, such as iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry•  Dual Persona” identity management functionality that automatically distinguishes “ between business and personal usage of VoIP and UC features•  upport for presence with a single enterprise phone number for all users S•  unified management system with over-the-air updates for all mobile devices, whether A BYOD or issued by the organization5. Implementing an Integrated UC/VoIP SolutionVoIP and Unified Communications both benefit from a rich set of industry standards, andthese make it possible to add both tethered and mobile UC capabilities to virtually anyIP telephony infrastructure. There remain two issues with this “piecemeal” approach,however. The first is that even full compliance with all applicable standards does notguarantee full interoperability among systems and applications, and this can drive up thetotal cost of ownership. The second is that separate applications, each with its own userinterface, can be very difficult to use, thereby undermining the very productivity gains UCis intended to achieve.Seamless Unified Communications for the Everywhere Enterprise PAGE 8
  • 9. The only way to eliminate these two issues to implement a fully integrated and totalsolution for all VoIP and UC capabilities for all tethered and mobile users throughout theEverywhere Enterprise. Indeed, the advantages of such a “greenfield” approach may welljustify a “forklift” replacement of any existing IP PBX and/or UC systems already installed.Smaller organizations will, naturally, find this easier to do than larger ones. But even thelargest organizations may want to consider the “greenfield” scenario phased in over timeon a site-by-site basis, especially when being confronted with a major upgrade or duringa routine technology refresh cycle.Implementing a fully integrated UC/VoIP solution is also the best way to minimize totalcost of ownership over time. Both capital expenditures and implementation costs(including training) are minimized by having an “all-in-one” solution that combines IPtelephony, collaboration, conferencing; conference recording; unified messaging, instantmessaging, presence and scheduling, contact center support, desktop sharing, andmobility in a single platform, preferably available in a choice of modules at differentprice/performance points.Ongoing operational expenditures are similarly minimized with an integratedmanagement system for all of the UC/VoIP applications. With such a fully- andseamlessly-integrated solution, the many applications are normally updated concurrentlyin a single software release from the vendor. This avoids any compatibility problems thatmight occur when updating different applications from different vendors on differentschedules.Finally and perhaps most importantly, implementing a fully-integrated UC/VoIP solutionfrom a clean slate is the best way to ensure a high quality of experience for the users.Collaboration is more likely to be seamless for everyone throughout the EverywhereEnterprise. The user interface is likely to be more consistent across the diverse set oftethered and mobile devices. And management of the entire infrastructure is likely to beconsolidated and simplified for the IT department.Given the potential upside advantages, one of the options considered in anyorganization’s situation should, therefore, be the “greenfield” scenario.6. ConclusionUnified Communications promises to deliver tremendous benefit to any organization,and most solutions available today are capable of delivering on that promise to oneextent or another. The differences among the multitude of choices available are to befound instead in the robustness of the feature sets, the ease of implementation andmanagement, and other areas. Given the considerable improvements in employeeproductivity, most UC solutions also afford an acceptable return on the investmentdespite some dramatic differences in their total costs of ownership.Seamless Unified Communications for the Everywhere Enterprise PAGE 9
  • 10. Perhaps the most significant difference among UC solutions today involves the user experience. A desktop IP phone or PC is very different from a VoWLAN phone or a tablet, but that does not mean users should be required to learn an entirely different way of interacting with the UC applications. To be fully effective, collaboration with colleagues must be consistent and seamless. And the user’s choice of device should not limit the capabilities supported, nor should they be burdened with different interfaces to different UC applications. The difference between success and failure when implementing Unified Communications for the Everywhere Enterprise depends, more than anything else, on the quality of experience for the users. To become fully effective, UC must deliver its beneficial changes without requiring users to change. Better collaboration with colleagues. Better overall productivity. Better work/life balance. Better results. All without forcing users to struggle learning something dramatically different from what they already do today. Indeed, if Unified Communications is not such a win/win for both the organization and the users alike, it will never become part of the organization’s daily culture, and its full potential will forever remain elusive. ShoreTel’s Unified Communications solution has been designed for the best possible user experience—one that is consistent, seamless and satisfactory, regardless of the user’s device or location. To learn more about the benefits of such an approach in the Everywhere Enterprise, please visit ShoreTel on the Web at www.shoretel.com or call 408.331.3300. About ShoreTel ShoreTel is the provider of brilliantly simple Unified Communication (UC) solutions based on its award-winning IP business phone system. We offer organizations of all sizes integrated, voice, video, data, and mobile communications on an open, distributed IP architecture that helps significantly reduce the complexity and costs typically associated with other solutions. The feature-rich ShoreTel UC system offers the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) and the highest customer satisfaction in the industry, in part because it is easy to deploy, manage, scale and use. Increasingly, companies around the world are finding a competitive edge by replacing business-as-usual with new thinking, and choosing ShoreTel to handle their integrated business communication. ShoreTel is based in Sunnyvale, California, and has regional offices and partners worldwide. For more information, visit shoretel.com. WORLD HEADQUARTERS 960 Stewart Drive, Sunnyvale, CA 94085 USA. shoretel.com +1 (800) 425-9385 Toll Free +1 (408) 331-3300 Tel. +1 (408) 331-3333 Fax EMEA +800 408 33133 Freephone +44 (1628) 826300 Tel. ASIA PACIFIC +61 (0)2 9959 8000 Tel.Copyright © 2012 ShoreTel. All rights reserved. The ShoreTel logo and ShoreTel are registered trademarks of ShoreTel, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other copyrights and trademarks hereinare the property of their respective owners. Specifications are subject to change without notice. Part #850-XXXX-01/04.12