Murphy's Law holds that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, so it stands to reason that anything as complex as a voice over IP (VoIP) deployment is going to hit a few snags. "You're more likely to hit snags than not," says Forrester Research vice president Lisa Pierce. "A lot of companies say 'we're just adding another protocol to the network,' when they're actually re-architecting the network."
And if anything should set off alarm bells when it comes to networks, it is the whole idea of re-architecting.
The bottom line is that VoIP is a tricky business. It's not just data, and it's not just voice, and there are so many little, basic details that can jump up and bite your organization on the backside, that an enterprise VoIP migration can spiral into chaos if you're not careful. "There really are so many basics," Pierce says. "That's why it requires a significant commitment on the part of the company to plan and so it right."
Avaya IP telephony specialist Tracy Fleming says it's easier to work around the problems if you see them coming, than if they come as a big surprise on the eve of deployment. Planning, after all, is everything. "It's very easy for the details to get away from you if you buy into the hype and the expectations," Fleming says.