Business Impact

Businesses cannot stay competitive with legacy technology, and VoIP can be a catalyst for change. On a functional level, legacy technology may be reaching its natural limits, forcing enterprises to replace their aging TDM systems. Typically, businesses have a telephony environment that works well, but only for its intended purpose. However, once employees adopt new technologies on their own, legacy telephony usage falls off.

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Compared to other voice modes -- either Web-based or mobile -- TDM cannot support the way people communicate today. Mobile work styles are becoming the norm, and employees cannot be truly productive when tethered to their desk phones. While VoIP is still emerging on mobile devices, PC-based modes are common and can go a long way to supporting employees working away from their desks.

Furthermore, employees increasingly rely on other Web-based modes such as email, chat and video, and VoIP natively integrates with these, whereas TDM cannot. As the drop-off in desk phone use becomes more evident, the benefits of VoIP for business are clear.

A more strategic use case is the overall network environment. Unlike legacy telephony, VoIP is not a standalone application. Beyond supporting real-time voice, VoIP adds value by integrating with other data applications over the LAN. This takes VoIP to a higher level, where voice can seamlessly mix with video and text-based modes, not just for internal communication, but when dealing with customers as well.

VoIP also provides businesses with the opportunity to migrate their phone management to the cloud. Legacy telephony has been managed on premises, but hosted options based in the cloud are gaining favor for VoIP, which may lead to a broader type of technology refresh. Cloud-based services further expand VoIP's versatility.

Businesses may not see these possibilities until they take a deeper look at VoIP -- and when that happens, attention will shift to the network, raising new questions about how best to support all this. Rather than simply updating an existing telephony system, VoIP can lead a business to look at a broader technology refresh, especially around the investment needed to deliver these capabilities.

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