Why Can't UC and Network Teams Get Along?

In most organizations, the conversion to VoIP has already happened.  Dealing with VoIP problems is now the responsibility of the UC and network operation teams. A common refrain from either side is this: Why can’t Network and UC get along? This issue has very little to do with technical issues and far more to do with the business goals of the two groups.

Network and UC teams have different focuses and goals that are rarely aligned to support each other.  As a result, a rift forms between the folks responsible for the network versus those responsible for the VoIP phone system—even when they are on the same team. This gets worse if the network and UC individuals have goals that are not aligned with their team’s goals or have personal goals that get in the way of business goals. The key is to ensure that all the goals, at every level, align. Here’s a checklist for doing this:

  • Ensure that teams goals are clearly defined and not in conflict with each other.
  • Make sure that team member goals do not conflict with team goals.
  • Understand that subconscious goals may subvert all other goals and have a plan in place to address this.
  • Beware of mixed messages in goal setting so that priorities are clear.

Watch Out for Diverging Team Goals

Any organization that is responsible for UC and the network is focused on the goal of providing a reliable and stable service. While this goal seems pretty straightforward, in reality it’s not.

The UC team is usually focused on “providing voice and video services to the organization that is reliable, stable, and cost-efficient.”  In this case, the definitions of “reliable” and “stable” are viewed through the eyes of a user (or customer) of the service: “The VoIP service is reliable if my calls are not dropped.”  In turn, videoconferencing is considered stable if “I don’t miss any parts of a conversation and don’t have any screen artifacts on the video portion.”

In contrast, the network team is focused on “providing reliable, stable, and cost-efficient connectivity to the organization.”  For the network team, reliable is measured as uptime being more than 99.999% and stable is viewed through the same five-nines paradigm.

So although telecom and network teams strive to provide stable and reliable service, how they go about achieving this goal is very different. For example, most network teams have no concerns about latency, jitter, or out-of-order packets in the network and yet the UC team lives or dies by these metrics. In this case, goals, with the accompanying metrics to define stability and reliability for both teams, need to be aligned. It’s clear that VoIP call quality is dependent on far more than the network’s five-nines—latency, jitter, and out-of-order packets must also be evaluated and the network team’s goals should reflect this. For example, round-trip latency

PathSolutions TotalView can help with VoIP troubleshooting.

Click here for a PDF version of this Fact Sheet.

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