Bringing Business Closer Together Pitfalls

Networks collapse the boundaries of distance: they enable vast global supply chains, as well as productive partnerships between large enterprises and small start-ups. Today, even the smallest of companies can work with colleagues, partners and suppliers on a global basis, collaborating remotely with people from different countries, languages and cultural backgrounds. Anthony Bartolo, Senior Vice-President, Unified Communications and Collaboration, Tata Communications explores the world of connected businesses.

As multinational corporations seek additional sources of growth in the developing world, they are becoming increasingly dependent on newly-established local subsidiaries and partnerships of this kind. Globalisation relies upon networks and in particular, the peer-to-peer networking of the Internet.

Mobile workers are increasingly using new forms of communication such as virtual meetings, mobile video conferencing and telecommuting to make their skills available globally without the need for actual relocation. Such mobile workers account for between 7% and 8% of the working population.

One group of employees, in particular, stands to gain from enhanced collaboration within the enterprise: the so-called ‘interaction workers’, an employment category that includes (among others) lawyers, engineers, sales people and customer service representatives.

Interaction workers spend the majority of their working hours (on average, around 65% of their time) collaborating and communicating. With such levels of employee dependency, businesses need to be comfortable in the knowledge that their networks are robust and scalable, and that the increasingly disparate workforce is not negatively impacted by the technology not being able to manage these changes in work patterns and culture.

Despite the shift in technologies, voice still plays a dominant role in a collaborative and coherent global workforce.. Just count how many conference calls you have attended this week with colleagues across the globe. And for many, voice will not be going away any time soon.  A phone call  may be second nature to the global employee, however, for business network managers it means dealing with a number of vendors and providers. It can be quite an inefficient, laborious, costly and most of all, archaic task, especially for a business facing global expansion. This is why, increasingly, SIP trunking services, such as our Global SIP Connect, are being implemented due to their compatibility with a number of collaboration platforms and ability to interoperate with MS Lync and Cisco HCS. Some in-country regulations can prohibit this, but generally speaking, the complexity of calling is reduced.

Reduce complexity, increase management

Global SIP trunking services aggregate voice traffic and eliminate the need to manage multiple domestic and international service providers while offering the ability to scale and add capacity in line with fluctuating business requirements.  At the same time, users benefit from a consistent, high-quality service experience.

For any service business looking to expand into new markets and locations, global SIP trunking makes a lot of sense. At Tata Communications we have recently worked with a leader in the IT services industry that has spent the last few years doubling employee strength and expanding the business to forge ahead in the IT services segment.

As a leader in IT services, we recognised the need to leverage the latest technologies to enhance business productivity, manage costs and bring greater employee and customer satisfaction. The main area of concern was controlling communication costs to its offshore locations, which have risen significantly in the last few years.

The company was using multiple global and regional players for off-net calls with disparate SIP trunking solutions. However, these solutions did not interoperate, so its 50 delivery centres and 130,000 employees were using high cost telecommunications.

The company realised that standardisation would help bring in effective communications, and the economies of scale would allow it to get the best deals. Global SIP trunking gave the company a single platform that catered to all phone calls, be it inbound, outbound or on-net. This integration and standardisation significantly improved its communications infrastructure in terms of quality and cost, bringing all employees on to a single platform.

This gives a good example of a voice only network benefiting from global SIP trunking, but it doesn’t just stop at voice.

A unified response

Unified communications (UC) has been promising the utopia of seamless communications in terms of voice, data and video for over a decade. Unfortunately, enterprises have never been able to reach paradise due to many obstacles being put in their way, especially in terms of interoperability, legacy system integration and cost.

Those that have built UC systems on legacy infrastructures via a piecemeal approach are facing challenges in terms of complexity, manageability, usability and cost, a problem that is especially acute in international organisations. As employees craved seamless collaboration across borders, the need to deploy different voice networks and vendors in each country meant that networks became overly-complex and fragmented, and the costs of system upgrades spiraled higher.

Global SIP trunking promises to eliminate large parts of the complexity and reduce costs of communications networks, and a sustainable and scalable network can be built that goes beyond voice to include applications such as video, chat and enterprise communications.

In fact, research from Ovum has established that SIP trunking ‘has become one of the major ingredients for multinational corporations who are consolidating and centralising their global voice and IP telephony assets and moving towards unified communications.’ With the help of global SIP trunking, not only is domestic and international voice managed within a single contract, UC equipment can be consolidated at a central site to save money on licenses charged per location, while offering easy scalability.

At a time when global businesses are looking to technology innovation to increase their competitiveness and efficiency, many see the journey towards global UC platforms as a cost-effective solution. However, if the benefits of UC are truly going to be felt by large enterprises the complexity and cost barriers need to be overcome. By using a global SIP trunking solution, a business is making that all important first step.


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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine