We're a highly mobile society, but the reality is we have much more flexibility on our personal devices than we do on our work devices, and that is killing productivity and innovation, according to Cassidy Shield, vice president of marketing, IP Platforms, for Alcatel-Lucent in his keynote address at ITEXPO (News - Alert) East 2014. The blame is usually placed on IT departments, who are derided for not allowing users and departments to access the applications they need the innovate. Because of this, shadow IT has run rampant in many organizations.
But what if there was a way that IT could be the hero, instead of always saying "no"? To get to that point, enterprises need to borrow a page from the telecom industry--Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert)'s traditional market--and start looking at IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) as a solution that can not only enable real-time collaboration for enterprise IP networks but also simplify networks and reduce costs significantly.
"The chasm between what we use at home and what we use at work is growing wider," Shield said. "Mobility is hard to integrate into legacy systems. But what if it was easy to integrate?"
Today's enterprises rely on application silos, with everything built by themselves. They are complex and proprietary, giving users an unsatisfactory experience, and they are expensive to maintain.
"What if there's a more efficient model?" Shield said. "Instead of having silos, and different interfaces, and conflicting services within those silos that overlap, what if there's a common framework? What if I could use applications across any endpoint?"
The answer is tapping the power of IMS, historically used in service provider networks, but beginning to find a home in enterprise data centers as well, Shield said.
"As we move into future where mobile will dominate the conversation, IMS is a perfect architecture to support this transformation in the enterprise," Shield said. "IMS was built with mobility in mind first."
IMS starts with a open platform, anchoring communications as a service. It opens up the call control interface using web services through APIs, enabling third-party apps. WebRTC extends endpoint support to anything with a browser. IMS provides native support for services like presence, video, chat and conferencing. And it can interface with existing PBXs, working with a company's legacy equipment.
The main business benefits for using IMS in an enterprise are simplicity using a common platform and significant cost savings that can help fund future initiatives. Shield pointed to a customer case study where an enterprise wanted to transform its business and looked to IMS to reduce costs and simplify its network. Deploying SIP trunks, the customer was able to save $56 million over its traditional communications services. By moving call routing out of the PBX (News - Alert) and into IMS, simplifying the network, and eliminating unnecessary PBXs, the customer saved $40 million. And by implementing softphones across the enterprise, the customer saved nearly $10 per device. "This first step of their transformation project funded the entire project," Shield said, "and suddenly IT is looking like a hero."
Even a few years ago this conversation couldn't happen, Shield said, because IMS was not built to support an enterprise, but that has changed. "The ecosystem that surrounds this still needs to be built, and that will happen over the next few years," he said. "Using IMS is an opportunity for an enterprise today that didn't exist even two or three years ago."
Edited by Cassandra Tucker