Category Archives: Architecture

This category is intended to provide communication and collaboration architecture related content. Architecture, for this blog, is defined to be a holistic and maybe even vendor-agnostic approach towards intelligent communication architectures.

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

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Take a look at Microsoft Teams from an user perspective to be more productive

Are you already familiar with Microsoft Teams? I hope so. Teams is an impressiv communication and collaboration platform enabling your workforce to cope with different kind of workloads within a single pane of glass. P2P chat, team chat, presence, audio calling, video calling, app sharing, meetings, (third-party) app integration, (soon) PSTN telephony, bot integration … just to name a few features. Pretty amazing, isn’t it!?! Let’s have a quick look including the latest updates on Teams features:

Microsoft Teams full tutorial with recent updates

I have been using Microsoft Teams since released. To me, it helps reduce mails, structure projects and its belonging communication and collaboration workloads. It really eases the work I have to deal with as a virtual project team member.  It allows me to stay more easily in touch with project members and keep track of all the relevant information I need to complete projects successfully.

To start with Microsoft Teams: analyse your business requirements, create personas, create site profiles, assess features to cover these requirements with teams, calculate costs (business case), check feasibility, check gaps, check migration paths, always keep your users in mind (change management for user adoption & training) …

Teams can be seen as one enabling platform for a modern and digital workplace. One part within the complete enterprise and IT architecture landscape. One part to evolve the company towards a digital enterprise.

For more information on Microsoft Teams you can visit www.SuccessWithTeams.com.

Carry on learning about Microsoft SOF!

SOF is continuously developed and enhanced by Microsoft. That’s why you should check out what changed to benefit of it by adopting SOF. On January 17th a webinar will take place which will update your knowledge on SOF. You can find the registration for the SOF January 2017 webinar >>here<< and a list on all training materials for >>here<<.

What’s the Skype for Business Operations Framework (SOF)?

Microsoft made the Skype for Business Operations Framework (SOF) a required qualification and certification for your enterprise’s Microsoft communication competency. You may now ask, what is it? What does it help me for?

Well, to put it in a nut shell: It’s a rich repository based of best practices and guides for structuring Microsoft Skype for Business projects from planning to operations. It supports you in structuring a project and make it more successfully SFB project from the start on.

Larger enterprises with an enterprise and IT architecture may already utilize a certain framework (or more) for analyzing, planning, delivering, operations, governance, change management etc. However, the SOF might add value here because it is dedicated to Skype for Business and probably let you add or merge it with your existing architecture framework elements and methods to leverage on the one hand what’s recommended by Microsoft and one the other hand make it fit your enterprises’ needs. So you could combine it and profit from Skype for Business best practices and approaches from the field to succeed from the beginning.

It’s really helpful if you are aiming the Microsoft Cloud First Path with Skype for Business. Unfortunately, it does not yet really include any focus on the Skype for Business Server. i.e. it’s intended to migrate from on premise to or start in the cloud. Take a look >>here<< on what The Skype for Business Insider Blog writes. There you’ll find further links to the official Microsoft pages and announcements to the competency requirements for communications.

You’ll find further details on Microsoft’s Skype for Business Operations Framework page. Due to the fact that SOF is not static and continuously enhanced you I recommend you to take a regular look on the page. I, for myself, added the website to my RSS reader that I’ll be up-to-date as soon as something new is released.

To get started you can start on the SOF page or find some recordings and videos on YouTube, e.g. Get to know the Skype Operations Framework. Let’s start!

Take a look around on Microsoft’s new office workspaces in Munich

Microsoft Germany re-located its German headquarter from Munich Unterschleißheim to Munich Schwabing. For impressions on the new look and feel of the Microsoft workspaces a public press release can found by clicking on the following link: http://www.manager-magazin.de/unternehmen/it/neue-microsoft-zentrale-in-schwabing-clean-desks-fuer-nomaden-a-1114368.html

Transform your business by leveraging best practices and standards based on the Open Business Architecture (O-BA) Preliminary Standard Part 1

To transform requires planning and not just the planning as you need for projects. Transformation is a journey and a change without an definite end. Why is this so? All variables for your business change over time. It’s just a matter of time, it can be minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades… Therefore an holistic approach can help to support persistent change and transformation. O-BA is about transformation vision, thinking and communication to prepare and drive transformation for your business.

The Open Group launched the so called Open Business Architecture (O-BA) Preliminary Standard Part 1. It an standard to support enterprise transformation. It might be subject to change and two more parts will follow and are being developed.

O-BA defines an approach to ensure a clear understanding of business vision by all stakeholders throughout the enterprise transformation lifecycle. Working in accordance with the standard enhances alignment, governance, and integration between all aspects of transformations.

[…]  the standard explicitly reckons with the systemic nature of transformations, the varying interests and goals of stakeholders, and moreover prepares for consistent communication of business priorities and needs throughout the lifecycle. It addresses a real need to solve structural challenges in enterprise and organizational transformations. (Source: https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/P161 )

The Open Group Launches the Open Business Architecture (O-BA) Preliminary Standard Part I to Support Business Transformation

Open Business Architecture (O-BA) – Part I