: Deploy in Parallel"> Step 3: Deploy in Parallel A UC deployment project will require much heavy lifting. Given the sheer magnitude of the project, maintaining parallel deployment threads will be essential, as upgrades of the majority of the network can be done concurrently with the early pilots of the communication and collaboration tools. Companies that are embarking on their first VOIP deployment will have an especially large amount of work to do on the network to ensure QOS (quality of service). Since large enterprises are commonly composed of many globally distributed branch officesoften melded together through mergers and acquisitionsorganizations need to extend that kind of network resiliency to the WAN as much as possible.Redey also recommends beginning UC pilot projects while the network upgrades are taking place. UC projects are frequently driven by the needs of a specific group within a corporation or by a remote office needing better communication capabilities. While the forklift upgrades are occurring throughout the network, select members of a pilot team in the target group can begin trying out the new modes of communication and collaboration. Siemens tailors unified communications for SMBs. Click here to read more. Ciscos Thompson posits that expansion can happen rapidly with an IP-based communications platform. "Once you have moved your voice traffic onto an IP network, it is very easy to add capacity, as expansions to your data network mean automatic expansions for the voice network as well," he said. Duncan Greatwood, CEO of messaging vendor PostPath, points out that the messaging and storage infrastructures may require a significant update, as well. "You need to have the right level of scalability," he said. "Weve found that many companies are still running with [100MB to 150MB] mailboxes, but for UC it has to be multigigabyte at the least." Page 5: Step 4: Expand the Application Base
"One of the first things we did within Accenture when we approached our internal unified communications program was to start with a network transformation program," said Accentures Redey. "On the wide-area networks, we moved to MPLS [Multiprotocol Label Switching] to take advantage of its quality-of-service features, and we also upgraded our local-area networks so they also have quality of service built in. With this foundation in place, we could then layer collaboration tools on top."