The Need for Training During VoIP Migration – How to Minimize the Resources Required

Christmas is here again presenting a chance to sit back and reflect on the year that has come and is nearly gone. Articles on VoIP are still flowing on the Web however their relevance is declining as more and more people gain a working knowledge of the product and basic articles dealing with the basics start becoming superfluous.

I came across an article as I was catching up on my emails this morning discussing how vital VoIP training is for users during a migration. For anyone who has gone through a migration the answer is obvious but whether the right amount of time has been devoted to training is another thing all together. The article said that “For users, the training should look to boost their comfort level with the new technology. Neglecting end-user VoIP training could result in unhappy users who might report every problem to IT and dilute help desk resources with repetitive questions.” I could not agree more however it went on to say that “From an IT administration standpoint, VoIP training is critical and should be included with the installation as knowledge transfer”. The issue that arises here is the availability of resources to do both things successfully.

The training of the IT administrators is critical especially as many of them are not telecom specialists and have more to do than simply learn a new “language”, they have to learn the needs relating to a completely different speciality. I remember speaking with a telecom specialist that had been let go by the university where he had worked for many years as they were moving to VoIP and decided it was an opportunity to merge departments and remove responsibility for telecoms to the IT Department. The guy I was speaking with a year later landed on his feet but the migration to VoIP for the University had not gotten past the teething pains of a new technology.

Whilst the IT Department learns what happens to the users? This is one area Citel stresses in its marketing documentation when promoting VoIP migration. Leave the front end alone and concentrate on the back end. With the Portico™ TVA™, Citel’s VoIP migration device you can SIP enable the existing handsets, duplicating the features that existed the PBX or DMS100 so the phones can operate on the VoIP platform. The end users do not see any difference whilst the IT Department learns the ins and outs of the system and are then ready to respond to inquiries as new services are added.

We had one carrier who migrated all of their PBX customers to IP phones and then migrated all of their Centrex customers to the same VoIP platform but utilized the Portico™ TVA™ to SIP enable their Pphones. The end result was that the carrier’s support desk were getting at least five calls a week for assistance from the PBX customers whilst they only received two calls over an entire years for those Centrex customers who kept their existing handset.

What does that tell you about the need for satisfactory training?