Bank of America: Start With the End State A recent spate of mergers and acquisitions transformed Bank of America’s voice environment into a tangled garden of diversity, including 478 PBXs and 5,215 key systems from many different suppliers.Given the likelihood of breakdowns, "it was becoming risky not to act," says Craig Hinkley, the Bank of America’s Senior VP for Network Architecture and Strategic Planning. Hinkley told the VoiceCon 2005 conference that the bank has undertaken one of the world’s largest IP Telephony deployments, which will deploy 180,000 end stations. "We took a holistic approach," Hinkley said in a keynote address to the VoiceCon conference. "Planning started with the end state," the features and functions needed across the bank’s disparate environment. The bank will deploy Cisco voice systems to 2,000 branches this year, begin on its main offices by year-end, and then move on to the call centre. But discord in technical staff had first to be overcome. At the project-launch meeting, "all the engineers look at each other. The voice guys take a step to the left; the data guys take a step to the right. The trenches go up, and the grenades start to fly." The bank brought the two camps together around a new concept of the Voice over IP environment as consisting of two levels: VoIP Infrastructure Services (VIS) and VoIP Applications Services (VAS). "Infrastructure is everything that delivers the pseudowire, including LAN, WAN, convergence, and Quality of Service," Hinkley said. Applications embrace PBX features/functions, the call centre, extension mobility, softphones, and XML—"all that enables the pseudowire to deliver dialtone." This two-level VIS/VAS analysis "explains the role of voice and data staff and their interdependency, unifying the two staffs," Hinkley said. Yet the most distinctive feature of the bank’s migration is its clean-sweep approach. The very complexity of the legacy environment argued against a staged migration, giving the transition something of the flavour of a greenfield installation. New York Life: Target New Buildings, Business ShiftsNew York Life, by contrast, saw no grounds for a wholesale changeover. "We looked at VoIP for five years," VP and Chief Architect Jeff Denecke told VoiceCon. "We kept calculating ROI , and it never worked—until there was a major event in the corporation." A decision to build a large new facility provided the opportunity. "You can’t make the case for rip and replace" in an environment like NY Life, Denecke said. "New buildings, shifts in the business—they are your justification." The business case for VoIP rested on savings in Moves, Adds, and Changes; a 50% reduction in cabling costs in the new building, elimination of PSTN trunking for the new site; and increased system resiliency, including the ability to log into a phone at a recovery site. The MACs and cabling savings alone reached US$800,000 in the first two years. Calling patterns were studied carefully. If top executives are forced to change their style of handling messages, they will protest strenuously, Denecke said. "Interview the power users. Find out their needs, and configure the system for them." Denecke opted for a staged implementation: "First voicemail, then the phones, then employees and the call centre application for them to use. Unified messaging came much later." Starting up phones before voicemail was tried and proved a mistake: "Executives could not find their buddies." IP Telephony will be extended to branch offices and other sites when branches are moved or when the existing equipment comes up for replacement. As usual, discord among technical staff proved a barrier. "Data and voice reported to the same person but didn’t speak the same language," Denecke recalls. "I held a kindergarten session to bring them together. The voice guys were against IP; the data people had to guide them through it. Finally, they held hands and sang, ‘We are the world.’ And we were away." Depository Trust: Upgrade the Legacy EnvironmentA third VoiceCon case study, concerning yet another large financial institution, featured a third distinctive migration strategy. The 2,500 employees of Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. settle $900 trillion in financial transactions every year: it is the world’s largest securities depository. Its voice system is built above all to ensure business continuity, with a focus on reliability and stability of services. Depository Trust’s seven sites have used an array of Nortel PBXs: Options 81C, 61C, and 11. "Voice and data were entirely separate, on different networks," recalled VP Network Technology Michael Obiedzinski. The cost of the voice WAN provided the impulse for change. "We were paying $15K-$20K a month for 17 dedicated lines among five sites," Obiedzinski said. Depository Trust stayed with Nortel because it offered "technology evolution not replacement." All the PBXs were migrated to Succession CS 1000M, an IP-PBX that preserves much of the investment in legacy systems and supports legacy phones. "We have digital where we need it, IP where we need it, and go at our own pace," Obiedzinski said. "Now the leased lines are gone: traffic goes over SONET." Integration of the Cisco LAN/WAN and Nortel PBX "has played very smoothly." And the new IP-based call centre, which utilizes PC-based softphones, is distributed across three (soon four) locations Despite the "staged, conservative migration," Depository Trust benefits from characteristic advantages of IP Telephony, including a 60% reduction in MAC costs, greater system redundancy, common management tools, and flexibility to support rotating staff.