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Press Release -- June 16th, 2013
Source: Vodafone Group

Unified communications: the longest journey starts with a single step

18 June 2013

The goal of unified communications has for some time been firmly on the agenda of multi-nationals aiming to become more agile in the face of complex communications challenges. They want to take advantage of the benefits of greater mobility and flexible working, for example, by moving away from fixed line systems and integrating tablet and smartphones as the standard way of working.

This may be a long way off for many businesses but they can start off on the right foot by getting control of their fixed communications. By taking a step back with a best practice solution like Vodafone’s PBX Inventory Manager, this will enable the business to evaluate its current global telecoms estate – and there’s no better way of determining where you want to be than by seeing where you are starting from.

Ultimately, unified communications will help business competitiveness by enabling employees to stay connected, using the voice and data devices they want, in a way which is secure and adds neither complexity nor cost to the business. As a result, latest independent research shows that four out of five corporates are looking to invest in unified communications over the next two years.

Every company’s roadmap will be different. Yet each will typically comprise five key steps, ending with nothing short of a transformed global telecoms estate, one which fully realises the benefits of tomorrow’s mobile communications world.

However, no journey is possible without a clear understanding of where the company is starting from. So step one is about evaluating the existing communications infrastructure and associated costs, in order to establish a clear and complete picture of the current communications estate, which is likely to reflect a complex web of suppliers, services and geographies.

This often presents a major challenge for multi-national corporates, as they frequently have no clear idea of where they are today. In particular, they have no easy or independent way of verifying their total private branch exchange (PBX) estate, as they get little help from proprietary vendor solutions, independent audits are expensive and internal analysis is manual, time-consuming and highly error-prone.

What has not been available until now has been the ability to oversee and control the entire enterprise PBX estate with one centrally-managed tool. However, this is now possible with Vodafone PBX Inventory Manager, which provides full visibility via customised reports. And on the basis that you can’t manage what you can’t see, this offers the essential basis for any programme of transformation.

A typical PBX estate will have evolved in a fragmented fashion over time as the multi-national business itself has grown through merger and acquisition. It will contain a hybrid arrangement of PBX solutions, of different ages and types, from a variety of manufacturers and in disparate locations. Alternatively, having made an investment in IP telephony on a single integrated platform, the IT team will require an independent assessment of its flexibility in responding to future business challenges.

So, before any attempt to integrate the organisation’s communications services, including fixed and mobile devices, there will be a need to optimise the PBX estate. A best-practice agnostic solution will deliver a range of benefits, including simplified supplier management, cost savings as a result of consolidation, the elimination of legacy PBX equipment and integration of isolated PBX ‘islands’. This is all delivered by a cloud-based utility model, enabling properly joined-up staff communications.

Having completed a detailed and accurate evaluation of where the business is today, this then provides the ideal stepping-off point for the enterprise on its journey to achieving unified communications. Equally importantly, it acts as a key enabler in increasing the speed and uptake of this transformational change.

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Discover more about how effective PBX inventory management can provide an essential foundation for the journey

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