Marty Parker
Marty Parker brings over three decades of experience in both computing solutions and communications technology. Marty has been a...
Read Full Bio >>

Marty Parker | April 05, 2012 |


RFP: UC Without a New PBX: Lower Costs, Better UC Roadmaps

RFP: UC Without a New PBX: Lower Costs, Better UC Roadmaps It will no longer be necessary to justify a major system replacement in order to invest in new UC (and Collaboration and Social networking) solutions.

It will no longer be necessary to justify a major system replacement in order to invest in new UC (and Collaboration and Social networking) solutions.

Enterprise Connect Orlando 2012! What a show. If the era of the PBX is not over, the PBX has sure disappeared from the Keynotes, replaced by UC and Collaboration with plenty of mobility and a bit of social and video mixed in for spiciness. All of this was presented with emphasis on evolving communication user interfaces==Cisco Jabber and WebEx updates, IBM Connections, Avaya emphasis on Avaya Flare and Avaya Live Engage, Microsoft’s presentation of Lync 2010 breadth, and Siemens' "easier path" to UC.

But my focus was on "UC Implementation Options" (Monday AM) and on Option 3 of the "Enterprise Connect 2012 RFP: UC Without a New PBX" (Wednesday PM). Yes, that's right, keep what you have--sweat the assets, but still get all the benefits of UC. In past years, the similar session, "UC Options: Who's Offering What?" showed that the price for UC was right, but it was not clear in every case that the UC solutions played well with the existing PBXs. The picture became crystal clear in 2012.

The two big highlights are:

* The leading UC vendors can all provide UC as an overlay onto any installed PBX. No need to upgrade or replace the PBX in order to install UC.

* On average, these overlay solutions provide UC for 40% less than the cost of replacing the PBX in order to get UC. At the extremes, the least costly UC overlay ($347K) was 78% less costly than the most expensive proposal for UC with a new PBX ($1,551K). Both examples are from top-rated bidders and deliver the requested functionality to all 2,000 users in the scenario we employed.

You can read more details in my post on

These results change the game for creating your enterprise UC roadmap. The UC solutions are almost entirely modular now--there is no need to replace embedded platforms in order to proceed with UC. Let's look at the factors enabling better UC roadmaps:

* Modularity: All the vendors offered their UC software stack in modular format and on virtual machines. So you can choose and scale exactly the UC elements you need for your roadmap--Presence, IM, Click-to-Communicate (voice, video, sharing), Conferencing (voice, video, sharing), Mobility, and/or CEBP (Communications Enabled Business Process) applications and toolkits.

* Use Case Support: Clearly, with that modularity, you can configure and acquire the right mix of UC functionality for your Use Cases. Best-in-class roadmaps for UC deployment are a year-by-year progression of Use Case solutions. With proven UC flexibility, initial UC configurations and capacity can be grown over time (and budget cycles) to match that progression.

* Ethernet and Gateways, vs. SIP Trunks: The UC Solutions route their signaling and media streams over secure Ethernet transport. All of the UC communications can flow over the enterprise WAN Ethernet services or through any of the many growing Ethernet Backbone carriers at a fraction of SIP trunk costs. Connections to the existing PBXs (or to the PSTN) were proposed using SIP Trunks (if available on the PBX version) or SIP-to-TDM gateways, as needed.

* Telephones Optional: All of the vendors delivered their UC functionality without requiring a desk phone. The UC software could be configured to connect voice calls through the PBX to the desk phone, but the UC client was preferred for a number of reasons: cost, broadband audio options, mobile device and tablet options, and ability to move seamlessly in and out of voice or video calls from IM sessions.

* Contact Centers Are Complex: The differences in cost mentioned above are due in part to a 70-agent contact center required in the "UC with a new PBX" RFP. Contact centers still involve additional licensing and multiple additional servers along with the installation costs. The new PBX RFP responses did not include costs for the potentially complex and time-consuming process of converting contact center interfaces, agent desktops, rules, databases, reporting, and more. A UC roadmap is better without the cost, risk and delay of migrating the contact center.

* Maintenance: Part of the cost advantage of "UC Without a New PBX" is because the maintenance charge is on less-costly licenses and on fewer servers than are required for a complete PBX replacement. Of course, the enterprise still pays maintenance on their existing PBX; but that is usually based on an in-force multi-year contract. Getting started with a UC overlay will likely show that by the time the existing PBX maintenance contract is due for renewal, the UC users no longer need the PBX phones. Thus, the next PBX maintenance contract renewal might cover a much smaller-sized PBX system, e.g. only the contact center and a few other specialized functions. Also, if the UC system is from a different vendor than the installed PBX brand(s), the enterprise might finally see some real price negotiations at maintenance contract renewal time.

In summary, the forecasts of the past five years are now reality. Enterprises now have greater flexibility than ever when developing their UC roadmap. And that roadmap is very likely to return a much higher ROI, more quickly and with a much lower initial investment, than the all-or-nothing replacement options of the past. This new flexibility has the potential to open up new growth in the communications industry since it will no longer be necessary to justify a major system replacement in order to invest in new UC (and Collaboration and Social networking) solutions.


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
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.