Deskphone Decisions: How Mobile Are You?

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Last we checked in on the state of the deskphone in the enterprise, a growing number of organizations were making the shift away from the traditional deskphone toward softphones and mobile devices. In 2017, I am seeing deskphones are still around in droves, with many large enterprises continuing to deploy thousands of deskphones each year.

When I was speaking at Enterprise Connect last year, I asked the audience of about 150 people how many companies had deployed new systems with no deskphones at all -- not one hand went up. However, when I asked who had deployed a mix of deskphones with softphones and/or mobile, about 25 hands went up.

As an example of how workplace communications are changing, take my daughter-in-law, who works for a large pharmaceutical firm based in Indianapolis. The company has open workstations where workers can take any open area and claim it as their workspace for the day. The firm decided not to have any deskphones in these open spaces, and instead, employees use their softphones or access Microsoft Skype for Business from their laptops. The only places that have deskphones in the entire facility are the conference rooms and the executive areas.

Such an arrangement makes me wonder whether a company should be able to dictate which communications devices an employee is allowed to use. In some cases it makes sense for the company to issue directives, but in other cases we have seen the company allow the choice to be made by the employee. In my opinion, if the use case is mobile and employees are not tied to their desks, I feel it is okay for the company to dictate which device will be used.

My consulting firm has recently worked on two projects that opted to go with no deskphones at all. Both deployments (750 users and 100 users) had use cases that called for the employees to be mobile and not tethered to their desks, which makes this approach work well. In either case, the price of the endpoint device did not come into play.

Rather than price, decisions often come down to use cases. For example, at my office, all 22 employees have deskphones -- and use them quite a bit! Our environment is not mobile, and when we are in the office working, we all use our deskphones for both incoming and outbound calls.

What are endpoint vendors seeing in this area? Are customers buying deskphones, mobile, or softphones? What goes into the decision making around device purchasing? Are enterprises dictating what device the employee gets or is the employee allowed to choose? To get to the root of these questions, come to the session I'm leading at Enterprise Connect, "Endpoint Decisions: Who Gets What, and How Much Will It Cost?" You'll hear from executives with Polycom, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, Plantronics, and Dialpad, who will share their take on factors involved in making endpoint decisions. You'll also get a feel for pricing and new features of some of the latest device models.

Are you ready to make the right decisions on devices? If you're not sure, this session is not to be missed!

"SCTC Perspectives" is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.

Learn more about UC&C trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2017, March 27 to 30, in Orlando, Fla. View the Unified Communications & Collaboration track, and register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event or Tues-Thurs pass, or get a free Expo Plus pass.