The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Learning the Hard WayThey say there’s nothing quite as challenging as walking in someone else’s shoes. Thanks to some friends at an IT consultancy, I have now walked a proverbial mile in the shoes of a telecom manager, and I have learned a thing or two along the way. I was invited to take part in a new IP-PBX installation. Everything from cable management to phone configuration and troubleshooting was part of this education. My observations may be of use to people not involved in the deep technical aspects of telecom management. However, as middle managers struggle to wrap their heads around some of the new realities surrounding voice and data infrastructure, it’s not bad for them to dig in and try to understand just what IT technicians have to deal with. This is what I have learned:Not all IP phones are created equal. Some take more steps to configure than others. The equipment I worked with required 18 steps – entering various numbers on the dial pad to tell the device what’s what – before the phones would register on the LAN. If I made a mistake, I had to start again. Vendors are not as "converged" as the technology is. Some equipment sellers still have to send two technicians to attack an IP-PBX installation: one to consider the data aspects and another for voice. It will be some time before technicians have all the skills necessary to install an IP-PBX from both sides of the equation. Cable management is an art and a science. It takes creativity to decide where wires should go, especially to facilitate moves, adds and changes. I got all crossed up with my wires between the switch, the IP-PBX and the patch panel, and, as with the phone configuration regime, often had to start again. I’m sure I’ll have more insights. Stay tuned.