IT gets telecom responsibilities

* ComTIA focuses on VoIP; Telwares aims to get you a better telco deal

Last September, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) issued a report based on a survey it conducted about the acceptance and adoption of converged applications and services.  One of the major findings of the study is that telephony departments that were once separate entities in companies are now part of the IT department.  In short, IT departments are now taking the lead on setting communication strategies and making purchases.

This means if you aren't already an expert on convergence, it's time to start getting up to speed.  And your friends at CompTIA are going to help you get there.  The organization just announced it is expanding its efforts in the areas of best practices and skills development in the convergence arena. 

The first effort is to work with leaders in the convergent technologies market to strategize on the design of a vendor-neutral convergence certification that would validate both the technical knowledge and business application skills sets most in demand today and in the future.  Workshop participants will discuss in detail the scope and structure of an industry accepted convergence certification, such as the skills required to achieve such a certification; and the level of on-the-job experience for certification candidates.

In the area of business best practices, the CompTIA Convergence Group is focusing on network assessment methodologies that will help solutions providers, interconnect dealers and systems integrators provide their customers with customized convergent technologies solutions. One of the obstacles to successful deployment of IP-based services is the failure to evaluate whether existing customer bandwidth and networks can accommodate converged voice, data and video traffic. The network assessment initiative will provide CompTIA members with guidance on how they can conduct a comprehensive analysis of a customer's existing communications system; and what steps need to be taken to assure that new IP-based communications solutions meet the customer's expectations and requirements.

I heartily applaud CompTIA's directions on standardizing such certifications and best practices.  In the past year, my company has tested three different VoIP systems with vastly different results.  One system consistently dropped calls and exhibited poor quality.  Even though it was installed by two systems engineers from the manufacturing company, I don't think they ever tested the capability of our network to sustain a VoIP application.  Consequently, we had problems from the day it was installed to the day we ripped it out.

The potential for VoIP, unified communications and other applications for both the wired and wireless worlds is just too great for the collective IT industry to forge ahead without agreement on standards, certifications and best practices.  The industry owes that much to its customers.

Switching soap boxes, I'd now like to tell you about a service you can use today to save a ton of money on your telecommunications services.  Whether it's time to renegotiate your telecom contract now or you are locked into a contract for the next several years, Telwares Communications says it can help you get better rates on your voice, data, local, wireless, Multi-protocol Label Switching, VoIP, or managed services.

Telwares specializes in procurement and negotiation of contracts for telecom services.  The company strives to get you best in class pricing, and robust contract provisions that provide flexibility and risk mitigation.  The principals of this company came out of the telecom industry, so they understand the sometimes bizarre pricing practices offered up by providers. 

Telwares claims to have saved over $8 billion for its customers, which includes more than one-third of the Fortune 100 companies.  It's not unusual for the savings to reach $10 million a year or more for large enterprises contracting for vast amounts of telecom services.  Even smaller companies can benefit from Telwares' negotiations and procurement services.

As IT takes over the reins for corporate telecommunications services, a little help is in order.  While CompTIA helps on the certification and best practices front, Telwares is looking to save you a few bucks.

Linda Musthaler is vice president of Currid & Company.  You can write to her at

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