Guillem Hernandez, voice and data solutions specialist at BT Ireland, outlines the three key steps on the journey of SIP roll-out for an organisation.
Digital transformation is at the top of every large business’s agenda, an undertaking that is too big to tackle with anything but incremental projects. One part of it that promises an easy win with considerable benefits is creating a global voice platform using SIP trunks.
Gartner describes digital business as “the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds”. It’s about new channels of communication that bring distributed organisations closer together and helps customers engage in new ways.
Voice has a part to play in this, run over IP networks as another communications application alongside instant messaging and video.
‘You don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater to better enable your business – you can sweat assets while still leveraging the latest technologies’
The thing about SIP (session initiation protocol) is that it’s a bridge between the analogue and digital worlds, a protocol that facilitates integration between voice over IP (VoIP) and traditional private branch exchange (PBX) hardware. You don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater to better enable your business – you can sweat assets while still leveraging the latest technologies.
SIP trunks can be a tactical solution – an easy way to connect a new office in a new territory, for example – or strategic, providing infrastructure to support unified communications and new ways of working. Best of all, it can be used for both as part of a bigger digital transformation project.
It’s best realised as a journey in three steps that starts at the network: consolidation, centralisation and transformation.
Step 1: Consolidation
SIP is an enabler for replacing end-of-life technologies and consolidating on converged and consistent networks. Most organisations are still at this stage, upgrading networks, swapping out legacy, trying to create a single voice platform that runs across a global WAN (wide area network).
Convergence is easier said than done for large companies with complicated networks, built on and added to through periods of organic growth and acquisition. When you have multiple hardware suppliers and different network providers across many countries, consolidation can only be achieved incrementally.
Step 2: Centralisation
After bringing voice and data services together on one consolidated network, CIOs will have the foundation they need to run and control their ICT architecture centrally. Managing global networks and the services or applications they support from one hub is a major stepping stone on the road to digital transformation, enabling economies of scale that will drive efficiency.
SIP trunks facilitate the voice side of this. Voice remains a business-critical service for all organisations, one that can be expensive to manage and maintain when different providers connect multiple sites, locally and globally. By using SIP to centralise the service, you can save more money – particularly if you take it from a single supplier with end-to-end capabilities and global reach.
Step 3: Transformation
Digital transformation can only be achieved when you’ve simplified and standardised your architecture through consolidation and centralisation. Now you can empower your business with the flexibility and agility it needs to compete in increasingly competitive markets. A voice service based on SIP is part of the process.
With global infrastructure under centralised control, there is an opportunity to effect real change and make it easier to align technology to business needs. A case in point is cloud computing, where the network provides the common platform for connecting to disparate IT services as well as data centres.
As hybrid IT rapidly becomes the norm, it’s important that network infrastructure can connect to services from different cloud providers, public and private. This becomes a foundation for true business transformation, giving organisations the option of taking different services from different providers, as and when needed, without losing control.
BT will host a free SIP webinar on 28 September titled ‘Give yourself a global voice by making communication simple’. IDC will join BT in evaluating the SIP opportunity and the best ways to exploit it.
Guillem Hernandez is a voice and data solutions specialist at BT Ireland, having first joined the company in 1995.