“Convergence will save you money.”
“Convergence will reduce time spent on network management.”
“Voice over data delivers…blah, blah, blah.”
Boring. If you’ve talked to any equipment vendors or service providers in the past 12 months, you’ve probably heard this stuff dozens of times. These reasons for convergence may be valid; however, the real reason is power.
Think of convergence like Tony “Scarface” Montana would. As Tony says, “In this country, you gotta make the money first. When you get the money, you get the power. When you get the power, you get the woman.”
For convergence, this becomes: “In this company, you gotta get the data first. When you get the data, you get the voice. When you get the voice, you get the power.”
A war is brewing inside corporations. Most companies have telecom staffs separated along the lines of voice and data. Convergence is blurring these lines and presents an opportunity for one of these groups to expand into the other’s territory — not only to get a piece of the action, but also to take control. You become the big boss; you control the agenda.
Data net managers must make the first move, and here’s why: If you don’t, the voice group might.
How do you make your move? You can’t simply go into a meeting and say, “I think we should move our voice network to the data network, and I will be the head of the combined department.”
We asked our convergence hit man, Tom Jenkins, for his advice.
First, skim fax traffic to the data network. Fax machines can easily be categorized as “data” equipment because they digitize information, don’t transmit voice and are seen as being replaced by e-mail (although the latter is not true). Fax usually accounts for 40 per cent of a company’s “voice” communications costs.
Then rake off the voice mail and other non-real-time voice components. Once again, because this information is stored before being delivered to users, it can be viewed as being similar to e-mail, which is also stored and non-real-time.
Now it’s time to siphon off the internal voice traffic to the data network. Usually this requires nothing more than a new gateway device (and some incremental bandwidth) at each of the sites you decide to convert to voice over data. The justification is obviously the economic one your equipment vendors are always emphasizing. Let them help you with the business case.
Finally, if you want it, you can make a deal with a service provider that can transport your external voice traffic via its data network with a connection to the public switched telephone network for termination to any location around the globe.
So now you’re the don of the company network. Better watch you’re back, though. Remember, Scarface did not survive the movie.