SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Marty Parker
Marty Parker brings over three decades of experience in both computing solutions and communications technology. Marty has been a...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Marty Parker | May 16, 2017 |

 
   

Is Conferencing Your New PBX?

Is Conferencing Your New PBX? With today's conferencing systems, most enterprise users don't really need PBX-controlled phones any longer.

With today's conferencing systems, most enterprise users don't really need PBX-controlled phones any longer.

Communications technologies are tools in service of personal and business objectives, not an end in themselves. Sure, sometimes the objective is just to communicate with someone to build a relationship or share some love, but even then the purpose is the relationship and the sharing, not the tool itself.

For this reason, the communications tools we choose at any time will vary based on what we are doing. If we're sharing with family members in a different time zone, we might choose Skype or Facetime. Similarly, when our focus is on accomplishing some business objective, we will choose the appropriate tools for the job.

Usage Profiles Highlight Tool Choices
Usage Profiles are an effective method to highlight the different patterns of communication tool choices for different organizational roles and responsibilities (see my earlier post, "Usage Profiles Key to UC Success"). In five of the eight Usage Profiles -- Collaboration, Field, Retail, Information Processing, and Production -- we find that communications is now based in software applications. In many cases, a simple posting of information or processing of a transaction or an auto-generated email or notification is all the communication required.

When more communication is needed, the first real-time tool is increasingly an instant message (IM), text message (SMS), or a post to a workstream communication and collaboration (WCC) app (see related post, "Risky Times for Enterprise Communications and Consultants"). From there, a tap on a name or number will launch a voice or video call either through the user's smartphone or through a connector to a communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) provider.

Meetings are then the remaining communications-based function. Teams, including contractors external to the enterprise, use meetings to coordinate their status. Managers use meetings to keep their organizations informed. Sales, service, and executives meet with customers and clients. Training uses meetings, whether real time or recorded, to support people's skills and to share new information about policies, procedures, and benefits. And, since seldom can all participants be in one place, conferencing technologies come into use.

Conferencing Systems Lead the Way
As a No Jitter reader, you certainly know many great conferencing systems are available today, both for on-premises deployment and, increasingly, as cloud-based services. These conferencing systems provide high-quality voice and video, support access from almost any device ranging from a basic telephone all the way to high-end telepresence-type rooms, and provide tools for sharing and editing content and for recording the sessions, as appropriate. Essentially all conferencing systems support voice connectivity directly through a browser or a software client specific to the conferencing system, though many users still have the habit of calling in from a phone.

Conferencing system sessions can start either in a pre-planned way, such as from a calendar appointment or a meeting room device, or in an ad-hoc way, such as by clicking "call" or "conference" in a multiparty IM/chat session or WCC team room.

Most advanced conferencing systems also support outbound calls to parties who are invited to join the meeting, and those calls are launched from the conferencing system rather than from/through the PBX.

As enterprise-level communication consultants, UniComm Consulting often analyzes our clients' PBX call detail records. In most cases, more than 20% of all the phone calls on the enterprise's PBX are going to conferencing systems. Often, the other calls are primarily related to customer services. Internal person-to-person communications is increasingly via IM/chat or WCC rooms. In other words, the patterns described above are reflected in the call detail records (you easily analyze yours, too -- Excel pivot tables are magical for this purpose).

Optimizing Around Conferencing
Which brings this to a point. For most people in most enterprises, a PBX-controlled telephone is no longer required. Neither the business applications nor the conferencing systems need the features of a PBX -- any generic phone will do. These generic phones, such as in the break room of a production or retail environment, can be connected via a directory-enabled gateway and the phones' numbers can be managed through the gateway or the enterprise directory (Active Directory or LDAP).

The conferencing system then becomes the voice and video communications tool of choice whenever more than two people need to meet. (Of course, the conferencing system can be used for only two people, as well.) The user starts a conference differently than a phone call, but the voice communication is the same, or better, once connected. Also, the conferencing system provides a much richer communications and meeting environment than a basic phone call.

Even better, it is usually the case that the cost per user for a conferencing system or service is less (or far less) than the cost per user for a PBX system or service.

So, consider the option of buying conferencing licenses for a major portion of your enterprise's users, based on each user's Usage Profile. Offset the cost of the conferencing system or service by reducing the maintenance costs for those users' PBX licenses or, if you're buying a new PBX system, reducing the number of licenses purchased in the first place.

The users in the selected Usage Profiles will likely have communications capabilities built into their workstream applications or other business applications and will certainly have a company-provided smartphone, PC/Mac, connected mobile device, or generic phone station. The users will embrace this conferencing-centric methodology because it matches the way they work. Most likely, the users won't even know they don't have PBX features, since they will never try to use those.

Give this suggestion a try in your enterprise. It can simplify your communications systems, lower the costs, and give the users a rich set of tools that better match their requirements. Good luck!





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.