Deloitte looks to VoIP for ROI

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu will implement VoIP across its 13 site interstate office network in what the company estimates will pay for itself within 12 months of completion.

In making the decision to go with VoIP, Tim Fleming, Deloitte's CIO, said the company looked at voice technology within its communications strategy 18 months ago.

"Now we feel VoIP has reached the point of a mainstream technology," Fleming said. "Our evaluation indicated that we would save on local and interstate phone calls with toll bypassing and traditional PABX patching and time costs."

Headquartered in Sydney, Deloitte's some 2800 staff, including highly mobile workers will gain benefits from the new system, according to Fleming. "With three-quarters of our staff using laptops and frequently working remotely, all they need to do is connect to our VPN from anywhere in the world and it is as though they are sitting in the office. They can then access their e-mail, voicemail and faxes which are centralised."

Deloitte chose Nortel because it will integrate well with the company's existing Nortel Network's infrastructure.

"We talked to Cisco but went with Nortel, because its systems are backwardly compatible and we are a Nortel shop," Fleming said. "Furthermore, the ability of our existing digital PABX systems to be upgraded to support IP will result in a relatively cheap investment. The ability to run some of our existing PABXs in ‘multi-mode' by supporting the traditional phone system as well as IP was also a compelling part of the decision."

The implementation is expected to take from 12 to 18 months with the Brisbane office being started first this month. Nortel's i2002 IP phones will be used as well as i2050 software phones which allow dialling from a notebook computer.

The VoIP infrastructure will consist of Nortel's Succession communication servers, a server-based solution that supports unified messaging, customer contact centre, remote data access and wireless IP telephony. The Brisbane solution will also include BayStack 460 power data switches, which provide quality of service and power for IP handsets.

"I wouldn't say everyone should go ahead and upgrade their phone systems to VoIP," Fleming said. "For us it is the ideal way to wrap up our voice services the same way we did with our data services and the two will be tightly integrated."

Nortel has assigned implementation to its channel partner 3D Networks, which is familiar with Deloitte's network.

"3D Networks has been a reseller to us for a number of years as it was originally part of Nortel and has the most Nortel VoIP experience in Australia," Fleming said. "Nortel has been extremely attentive to us with its service and support, especially with our LAN and WAN upgrades. Its support with our VoIP implementation has also been good."

Fleming was optimistic about the impact of VoIP on Deloitte's network traffic. "We have a 10MB link between Sydney and Melbourne and have conservatively estimated VoIP bandwidth consumption to be 25Kb per call which is not extensive," he said. "We are also running QoS and packet shaping technology to prioritise traffic."

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