Somewhere along the line, IT organizations somehow became convinced that managing their own phone networks and related applications was a good idea. You can see how it happened. The carriers were slow to embrace IP networks, so IT organizations started deploying IP phones and related unified communications applications themselves. Now that many IT organizations have done this, many of them are appreciating how difficult it is to run a phone network.
As a result, while many IT organizations are still retaining the concept of unified communications over a lower-cost IP network, they are finding someone else to run it. And with that shift, they're discovering an additional benefit. The new generation of carriers can tell customers things about their calling patterns that they never knew before.
For example, Dan Hoffman, CEO of M5 Networks, a provider of hosted IP communications services, points out that it's "gospel" within sales organizations that the best time to call a C-level executive is either 8:00 in the morning or 5:00 in the evening because it's the best chance of getting them when they are not in a meeting. But an analysis of most calling patterns at M5 Networks shows that the best calls in terms of quality are at 11:00 in the morning and 2:00 in the afternoon because C-level executives are usually between meetings in those hours if they have not gone out for lunch. Because we're using IP networks, next-generation carriers have a lot more visibility into calling patterns and how applications are being used, even when it involves a smartphone calling in over the IP network.
Most internal IT organizations are never going to attain that kind of visibility into the network. And most of them could add more value to the business if they were not spending their time trying to master arcane unified communications technologies. In addition, the business doesn't really have the capital budget to spend on technologies that are now readily available as a service.
There's nothing that says traditional phone carriers can't compete in this new world of IP networks. But as this segment of the industry continues to evolve, everyone from Microsoft to Cisco on one end of the spectrum to AT&T and Verizon on the other is going to be a carrier. So rather than compete against every carrier on the planet by rolling out your own system, maybe the better part of valor is to just leverage their expertise.