Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>

Eric Krapf | December 11, 2012 |


Call Control and Controlling "Calls"

Call Control and Controlling "Calls" Enterprises professionals will need a base of knowledge and breadth of skills exceeding anything from the old days of PBXs.

Enterprises professionals will need a base of knowledge and breadth of skills exceeding anything from the old days of PBXs.

Earlier this week, Neal Shact posted a very thought-provoking item here, asking the question, "What Happens When the Cost of Call Control Approaches Zero?" Pointing to developments like over-the-top services (e.g., Skype), WebRTC, and virtualization, Neal argues that the PBX is in the process of "losing its monopoly on telecommunications."

I generally agree with Neal's basic argument: To the extent that the enterprise's PBX no longer has a hand in setting up and tearing down every communications session in which every enterprise employee participates, the PBX is definitely losing its place at the center of the communications universe.

That change isn't coming in the future; it's here now. Mobility is rapidly becoming the single largest enterprise communications expense line item, and the vast majority of that communication takes place over the cellular networks, into which the enterprise generally has little or no visibility, let alone control. Add to this dynamic the already-existing and soon-to-come Web based communications--Skype, WebRTC, Google Hangouts, and dozens of variations--and the idea of a single "switch" controlling all communications seems like a pipe dream (so to speak).

That doesn't mean that enterprise communications people will decline in importance to the enterprise, however. If anything, I'd argue that our industry's work is becoming more complex, and therefore more critical, than ever.

In the old days, a communications technologist could see the PBX as the embodiment of his or her task. It did the job of making sure that enterprise end users were connected and the enterprise was protected--financially, legally, and in its market positioning. That basic role within the enterprise hasn't gone away and won't go away. But now, in a world where no single "box" or software application can handle this dispersed challenge by itself, communications technologists have to marshal a whole new set of technologies and associated skills in order to accomplish the same basic goal that they used to be able to achieve just by running a PBX competently.

The one overriding reality that I think every communications technologist will have to deal with in the future is the need to orchestrate public and private network services. As Melanie Turek points out in another recent No Jitter post, managed and hosted communications services are likely to become more and more common, but this is unlikely to be a wholesale outsourcing of everything related to communications. Rather, it will be a decision, different for each enterprise, about what functions should run off-prem, and which need to stay in house. And it's a holistic job for which the enterprise IT/communications team will remain accountable, regardless of who's actually running each of the discrete elements of the services.

At the same time, enterprises will need to give their users the freedom to use public services like cellular and web-based offerings, while being able to certify that these services don't threaten enterprise assets, and while also being able to manage the costs incurred by use of these services. Some of these services may touch the enterprise call control system--if for example the enterprise is running single-number service for cellular users--but for some services, it may be management systems such as mobile device management, that are critical.

The bottom line: "Call control" as a technology will probably be commoditized over the long term. But controlling "calls" is a mission-critical task for which enterprises will need professionals whose base of knowledge and breadth of skills exceeds anything from the old days of PBXs.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
Eric Krapf on Google+


April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.