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Our editorial team tries to talk to as many enterprise IT decision-makers as we can, especially in the runup to Enterprise Connect. One thing I've noticed in the past year or so is that it's no longer remarkable to hear an enterprise IT exec say that they opted not to roll out desk phones when making a major upgrade. Though I'm sure the decision didn't come without some internal debate, these folks don't characterize the move as particularly earth-shattering or as something they struggled with, at least in comparison to other issues at hand.

This would represent a transition. For the last several years, the path of least resistance in many enterprises was to keep desk phones. You have them now; you may have some users who ardently want to hang onto them, and it seems like the safe move: It's the public switched telephone network (PSTN), so it represents a lifeline and a known quantity.

But in a post on No Jitter this week, Phil Edholm, president of PKE Consulting, shows why things may be changing. After making the obligatory nod to the continuing relevance of the PSTN, Phil gets to the heart of the matter: For many enterprises, the PSTN really isn't worth the cost any more. "While costs have come down for telephony generally, they haven't nearly equaled the actual reduction in business value that has occurred for telephony/PSTN over the last decade," Phil writes.

Cost reduction is a part of every discussion around enterprise communications; if an enterprise can't wring costs out of the legacy system, funding upgrades for the more modern channels, media, and devices that end users do want and need is difficult if not impossible. The last decade has been all about using SIP trunks to cut access costs, and "sweating the assets" when it comes to legacy PBXs. But a cost-cutter's job is never done, and enterprises must continually evaluate every element. Increasingly, Phil suggests, enterprise IT decision-makers are deciding that the scales tip against desk phones being cost justified.

Phil is going to explore this issue and present his analysis in a session at Enterprise Connect 2020 next month: Can You Kill Desktop Telephony and Eliminate Your Phone Bill? It's part of our Strategic Leadership track, which this year has several sessions focused on the challenges and tradeoffs that enterprises face as they attempt to phase out old technology without cutting anything that truly is business critical. UC consultant Melissa Swartz, of Swartz Communications, along with Bob Doroshewitz of Michigan-based Beaumont Health, will lead an intriguing session along these lines. This session will specifically address the strategies and tactics that enterprise IT decision-makers may need to employ as they plan their migration away from legacy technologies.

Enterprises need to make these decisions in the context of their broader communications strategy, and we've got a session to help you hone this strategy, too. Marty Parker of UniComm Consulting and BCStrategies will discuss the risks that you must be aware of in planning your communications strategy, and the best ways to position your organization to have, as Marty puts it, "a place at the CIO's planning table."

It's never easy to get rid of old technology that still works, but it can be risky to assume that it's cost-free to keep that legacy stuff. The key is finding what works and what doesn't for your enterprise, and Enterprise Connect can give you an intensive four days of information and analysis so that you're better prepared to make this assessment. I hope we'll see you in Orlando!

Eric Krapf
GM & Program Co-Chair Enterprise Connect & WorkSpace Connect
Publisher, No Jitter

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