Find out the true cost of moving to IP telephony before making any final decision, because it is rare to find companies that have actually achieved any real savings, according to Ericsson enterprise division director Chris Pattas.
Claiming he is yet to find an organization that delivered ROI by moving to VoIP, Pattas said it isn't simply about the cost of the handset; the public network is still not IP ready.
"If you can afford to spend $1000 a seat then fine go to VoIP; if a supplier tells you it will cost anything less they are lying," he said.
While Pattas admits the "world is going IP", it is critical to make the move at the right time.
"Unless you are moving site to new offices or planning a data network upgrade then it may not be the right time to migrate to VoIP," he said. "Obviously there is little point in buying TDM technology, but be prepared for hefty power bills."
Pattas said VoIP uses four times more power than TDM and most contact centre apps already have the same functionality so migration isn't always the ideal solution.
"Don't buy IP just for dialtone and remember to include an IP audit before even commencing," he said.
Pattas cited Telstra's investment in CDMA as an example of a technology investment that became redundant in only three years.
"What I'm saying is don't put all your eggs in one basket; maybe you just need to install an IP-enabled switch," he added.
Not surprisingly, Ericsson is betting its future on mobility and the convergence of the laptop and mobile phone.
The company is currently in talks with all the major carriers to partner on the One Phone Solution it plans to launch in Australia next year. Rather than investing in infrastructure, the solution enables PABX access via the mobile phone.
"So you can throw away your fixed handset and throw away your BlackBerry; the smart phone has pushed e-mail and access to the data network," Pattas said.
"However, we want to combine the offering with a special tariff so customers don't pay mobile phone rates."
"We will announce the carrier we plan to partner with in 2006."