Companies embracing the merging of voice and data technologies will be the ones which prove most successful.
The worlds of data and voice have evolved separately in recent years, but those organisations which marry them together using current technologies will see substantial benefits in the form of capital and operational cost savings, lower cost of ownership for hardware, reduced risk associated with continuity and disaster recovery, and new opportunities for innovation.
First, there is the world of the data centre. Its servers and other hardware components, and the business applications that run on them, are the backbone of the organisation. They turn the reams of data that companies generate and collect into the information they need to understand and operate the business.
Then, there is the world of telephony. Here, voice applications ensure that the people whose performance determines how well the organisation does, how effectively it competes, and whether it succeeds or fails, communicate with one another in myriad ways to ensure that information is understood and acted on. Even in today’s high-tech world, voice communication is the beating heart of the business.
Managing those worlds is not easy. It means having two of everything. Two budgets. Two groups of personnel with different sets of specialised skills. And two technology infrastructures to buy, deploy, and support, because data applications and voice applications have very different needs when it comes to the hardware they run on and the ways in which they can be managed.
At least, they did until now, and we can help those organisations which want to take this next big leap forward.
Reducing the overall number of physical servers in a data centre has the obvious benefits of capital cost savings. And server consolidation also leads to immediate operational savings, because office space is needed to house hardware, and less energy is needed to power and cool the fewer servers that do the job.
And organisations used to labouring over two plans for business continuity and disaster recovery – one for data, the other for voice – can now encompass their entire IT infrastructure with a single plan. And they can have a common set of service level agreements (SLAs), processes, and tools for their single infrastructure.
In short, companies can now fundamentally change the way they think about their IT infrastructures and their resources. Instead of managing individual boxes, they can manage overall IT services. Instead of devoting most of their budgets to maintenance, they can focus on innovation.
And, for the business people who depend on data and voice applications, it means a better quality of service at considerably less cost.
Uniting the worlds of data and voice on a single infrastructure means:
- Reduced capital expenditures. Running telephony and data applications on the same servers means fewer servers are needed, so the total cost of ownership for the information infrastructure drops dramatically.
- Reduced operations and maintenance costs. Managing communication solutions along with other business applications does away with the costs of duplicate maintenance tasks.
- Reduced power consumption. The power savings inherent in data environments can also be applied to voice applications.
- Improved application availability. Applications are no longer subject to prolonged downtime for physical server maintenance.
- Integrated business continuity. Consolidated disaster recovery management means that management methodologies and best practices can be applied consistently across all applications in the data centre, including business communication applications.
- Increased business innovation. Freed from having to maintain two separate infrastructures, IT can devote resources to developing new applications and services that build competitive advantage.
The world of the data centre have been around since the days of mainframe computers. These were huge and expensive, and organisations had to use every ounce of power they offered and squeeze every bit of potential out of them.
One problem to realising their potential was that different software applications can require different operating systems. Unless a way could be found to run more than one operating system on a mainframe, different computers would be needed to run different software – something too expensive to be practical.
The solution to the problem was called ‘virtualisation’ – dividing a mainframe into partitions capable of running different operating systems and applications – in other words, turning one ‘real’ computer into two or more ‘virtual’ computers – and this made it possible to slice and dice resources and put the pieces to their best use.
Today, virtual computers can be created and modified at will. Applications and databases can be moved from one virtual machine to another without disrupting the work of the business people who depend on them. Deploying new software and maintaining hardware has become much easier, and the cost of running data centres has decreased significantly. Virtualised data centres deliver huge cost savings and operational advantages to today’s organisations.
But just as the data centre world has evolved since the era of the mainframe, communications technology has evolved through a series of exciting changes into the unified voice communications of today.
VoIP made it possible to run voice applications over the Internet, and to centralise many of the maintenance tasks associated with keeping a voice infrastructure running. It also enabled unified messaging capabilities, such as the integration of voice mail and email.
Control of voice technology has become software-based, and the advances in telephony have enabled the reliable, flexible, capability rich, internet-based telephony systems that today enable teleconferencing, web and audio conferencing, centralised global call centre operation, and other technologies that organisations depend on to keep communication flowing.
Pinnacle can help organisations unite their business data and voice applications on a single infrastructure. All of the benefits of the data centre and VoIP telephony can be realised with less capital spending, lower operational and maintenance costs, reduced power consumption, and easier and more dependable business continuity and disaster recovery. What used to exist in two different worlds can now, for the first time, be united in one.