erik's blog

communication and collaboration technology architecture

What to keep in mind before migrating to ALL-IP?

In Germany, PSTN carriers announced long time ago (!) to decommission their legacy PSTN access links (analog/ISDN …). Today, mid 2018, we are still not yet on ALL-IP everywhere. Migrations towards ALL-IP (SIP) are still in progress.

The unified communication projects I carried out the last years almost always included advisory services to design and deliver a future proof ALL-IP concept for different voice (PBX) infrastructures (Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise OmniPCX, Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Skype for Business (onprem/online), Teams …). It’s daily business to think and plan for ALL-IP. Designing and planning solution and services for communication always includes at least the discussion of PSTN trunk design options to a certain level depending on the consulting engagement and scope of work. Usually in large and international enterprises (>10.000 users) ALL-IP migration can be a complex and long-term project endeavour. In this blog post, I’d like to (quickly) point out on what to pay attention, too, besides the default information worker office telephony service enabling users to make/receive PSTN calls, forward calls to a PSTN phone number or enable simring between a soft client (e.g. SFB/Teams) and mobile phone…

Let’s dig in a bit deeper into large-scale ALL-IP (and VoIP) projects: Typically, international companies have almost everything you can (and might cannot yet) imagine in their PBX infrastructure. Therefore it’s essential to define targets and work packages as below first …

  • Source Architecture Analysis (as-is analysis)
    • … to discover
      • all assets …
      • all capability …
      • all configurations …
      • … linked to any of your PBXs, e.g. analog phones, digital phones, IP phones, DECT phones, …
    • … analyze
      • PBX configurations …
      • … to check for any special devices connecting to PSTN, e.g. modems, alarm server, intrusion detection system, card terminals …
  • Target Architecture Development
    • Digital workplace vision and strategy
      • ALL-IP
    • Digital workplace architecture
      • Telephony Services (ALL-IP as a part of the digital workplace)
        • PBX (global PBX infrastructure)
        • PSTN (global PSTN access)
  • (Telephony Services) Migration Architecture Development
    • migration strategy and plan development
      • Global ALL-IP strategy and plan
      • migration strategy and plan for non-ALL-IP-compliant devices
  • Service Operations Architecture
    • utilize a document or configuration management system to store all gathered contracts/details/configurations/… (operative process because it might change over time …)

For large infrastructure it helps to split up the project at least into two (parallel) work streams or sub-projects (if possible), for instance:

  • Global PSTN access
    • ~”external voice connectivity”
    • This sub-project has to focus on PSTN connecivity on a global scale.
    • Global PSTN carrier / provider management
    • Global PSTN provider / PSTN SIP Trunk Architecture Concept
    • Comply with national telecommunication regulations and laws
    • Simplify global PSTN access infrastructure
      • Define a clear PSTN access / feature list
      • Consolidation of PSTN access
      • Centralization of PSTN SIP trunks (if possible)
      • High Availability
    • Simplify global PBX infrastructure connectivity
    • Consider different PSTN sourcing options
  • Global PBX infrastructure
    • ~”internal voice connectivity”
    • This sub-project has to focus on PBX infrastructure on a global scale, too.
    • Assess site / work space requirements
    • Assess user (group) requirements
    • Define and establish standards per site and user profile/s
      • Example user groups: office worker, production worker, indoor mobile worker, outdoor mobile worker …
      • Example site / work space (profiles): production plant, logistics, warehouse, sales office, R&D, administration, …
    • Migrate all non-IP endpoints to IP (based on the previous discovery)
    • Simplify global PBX infrastructure
      • Single PBX vendor or service
      • Reduce legacy endpoints if applicable
      • Consolidate PBX
      • Centralize PBX
      • High Availability
    • Simplify global PSTN access connectivity
    • Consider different PBX sourcing options

The above description is a high-level summary on typical things to keep in mind for telephony services as part of a digital workplace architecture. I hope it might guide you a little towards some telephony and ALL-IP hot spots to be aware of. Furthermore you can find more to read regarding to ALL-IP and special voice services below…

Further resources

Advertisements

Get Microsoft Teams for free to enhance your collaboration expierence if you haven’t yet tried

Do you want to try Microsoft Teams? You can now easily get Teams and evaluate some basic communication and collaboration features for up to 300 people. E.g. unlimited chat, search, 10 GB for storing your team data, 2 GB per person, audio/video meetings (P2P, multiparty), Office Online apps, third party apps and of course internal as well as external communication and collaboration.

For more details go and visit the Microsoft Teams Blog Post: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Introducing-a-free-version-of-Microsoft-Teams/ba-p/214592

 

How to succeed with your Teams rollout?!

In this blog post I outline what you should not do and instead what options you have got to succeed with your Teams rollout to our business (end) users.

Drop and run (don’t!)

“OMG there’ll be a new chat software on my device? When? Today? What? Why? Another one? Do we not have enough? Why can I not stick with the old … it worked somehow …” Well, if you’ll hear these question from your end users something went wrong! You might missed a proper change management execution in regards of user adoption and training! The bad approach to roll out a new tool on device/s to end users is to

  • send users a single mail at the go live date,
  • tell them you’ll get a new tool
  • the new software tool gets installed
  • tool runs in the background (user maybe has not yet read your mail)
  • user does not really know how he/she has to use the tool
  • you’ll get flooded and busy receiving many tickets/complaints/questions regarding the new tool (if it is also telephony / the (soft) phone (system) you just changed you might get no calls because users are not aware how to call you)
  • you need to cope with the tickets …
  • your manager and other business stakeholder will complain
  • plummeting of productivity / revenue / profit (users are unable to work as expected)
  • no time for other projects and things which really add value to your business

Ouch!

Enable users for productivity, not just some Teams clients

In my experience, based on my consulting projects, I’m glad to notice (and tell you) that more and more companies from small to large focus also on user experience as critical success factor. So, to get users to adopt new technology and make them to leave a comfort zone you must help them to get them aboard the Teams client. That’s exactly what these companies do: They start to develop a user adoption and training strategy and initiate its execution. Mostly the user adoption and training does not end when the rollout ends. An user adoption program remains but the intensity and frequency of actions to drive adoption decrease but does not vanish. Office 365, Teams and the ecosystem is dynamic and someone needs to keep that in mind to keep users informed on minor and major changes as well as to help and find ways for the business to innovate and drive the company’s digital transformation. #livelonglearning #learningftw #adoptionftw

To reach excellent user experience you must execute a suited change management. What this looks like depends on your employees and users. There is no one-size-fits-all approach in my opinion. There are some common things to keep in mind, plan and execute but usually this is different from company-to-company.

It may help to involve someone from the marketing team because they can be supportive for internal project marketing to make users demanding Teams before it is even ready in your company.
Get in touch with your business stakeholders, demonstrate Teams, evangelize Teams and sell the added value which it brings to each user (group). Assuming that you consider to replace your existing telephony system (private branch exchange, pbx) and go from a legacy phone system to Teams direct routing you must plan a longer period for the change management! Migrating common information worker workloads to Teams plus telephony is a much bigger change (organizational / cultural change) for users. You will have discussions if you just want to quickly replace a legacy desk phone with a new fancy headset and soft client … you need to address this early enough and offer solutions on which users agree(ed) on. Just imagine you go to one employee and take away the phone from his/her desk which he/she used for maybe the last 20 years … and why do you still go in the office? Using Teams enables you for working from every spot around the globe where you have a sophisticated internet connection, e.g. home office, in the park, on the train, … where ever you like with many devices…
This culture is not yet common practice in many companies. There are still many companies tying information worker employees to their office desks. The final questions are why and is your corporate culture striving for this change?

Further resources

%d bloggers like this: