VoIP Adoption at Butler University
What were the primary reasons for changing the current system at Butler? The primary reason that Butler University decided to change their current system was due to the fact that their original provider was not fulfilling the university’s needs. Butler had originally used Centrex as their service provider. Centrex, being an older system, could not provide Butler University with the modern, more up to date features that they needed. The Centrex system was based on features that were over a decade old, and customizing this system was done easily by any means.
Butler began to expand and certain departments began to expand. This caused issues with the current Centrex system because moving phones and phone lines was extremely labor-intensive. What role did Butler’s IS department play? Butler’s Information Resources department played a major role in establishing the new VoIP system at Butler University. The IS department began this entire project by first researching the current system at Butler and identifying what they currently had, and what they needed.
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They looked at the features provided by Centrex and how their current system worked and developed a plan of what they needed to improve and add to their system. Butler’s IS department researched other systems, listened to vendor presentations, and set up interviews with numerous potential providers in order to narrow down their decision of what system they would be installing. The IS department came across a system called VoIP that was extremely intriguing to them. Although it was a fairly new and expensive system, they saw it as an opportunity to improve their current system drastically.
“Only twelve to thirteen percent of the market had VoIP installed in 2004. Even though the telecommunications landscape was changing with an emerging trend of increasing IP lines, the current statistics were still daunting and left us wondering if this was a good path to take. Needless to say, we became intrigued. ” (Scott Kincaid, CIO) List the objectives of the pilot. Were there any problems? The main objectives of the pilot program were to test the new features and to gain feedback from people using the new system.
Six weeks before the new system went live, Butler set up 40 phones with department coordinators and high-level staff to test the new system. Over three weeks they tested the system and gathered information to help improve the system if need by. The overall goal of the pilot program was to ‘gain buy-in from the user community’. Obviously when establishing a new program, there is bound to be some problems and bugs. For instance, Butler encountered a software bug that caused immense stress to the staff and the system developers.
Some of the issues caused by the software bug were random server reboots, lost phone numbers, voicemail malfunctions, and a problem with all of the multiline phones. Do you think Butler made the right decision to utilize this new technology? What implications does this decision hold for Butler’s IT department in the long run? Yes I believe that Butler made the right decision to utilize this new technology. The system that they were using before was outdated and was not performing to the standards that Butler needed.
The VoIP system that Butler decided to implement was a great decision to help improve the features that the Centrex system before lacked in. Although the VoIP system they established was a great idea, it was rather expensive compared to the Centrex system they were running before. In addition to the price tag that the VoIP system had, IR had to hire a fulltime employee to manage the new system, as well as the IR group at Butler to maintain networks not only for data, but voice as well.