Carl Weinschenk spoke with Robert Rosenberg, president, Insight Research Corp. Insight recently released a study, "Managed Services In An IP World: New Opportunities For Wireless And Wired Networks 2006-2011."
Weinschenk: It seems that IP is driving both the need for outsourcing and the ability for outsourcers to provide it efficiently. Is that so?
Rosenberg: The bottom line is that if you are in a corporate environment, there are a number of different reasons why you are looking at IP and what it can do for you. You are managing a complex network, you are looking at IP technology I think, first, to be able to combine two networks that you are operating now into a single network. That's the voice and data portion. That's no mean feat right now. After that happens, most people believe the technology itself will enable a new service capability, a new service paradigm. [But] once you collapse voice and data onto a single network ... we don't think it's less expensive to buy a new IP PBX from Avaya [than traditional gear].
Weinschenk: So where do the savings come in?
Rosenberg: You save in the personnel costs; it's not in the hardware end of it. But the flip side of that is that once you collapse the two networks into one, the complexity of managing the entire suite of corporate data and hosting services is going to be substantially more than it is now. It's going to get really complicated. The convergence is not going to simplify anyone's life over the long term. It's going to be tougher to manage a corporate convergence environment than two separate environments.
Weinschenk: Convergence changes the task from managing multiple networks - each with one application - to one network with many applications. Is that where outsourcing comes in?
Rosenberg: Convergence is one of the aspects of it. Right now, you can keep yourself busy just managing the corporate LAN and data center and customer contacts and mobility. Then you are using a WAN to do it. The future increasingly relies on 3G and maybe Wi-Fi and maybe Gigabit Ethernet ... and then you have to deal with different levels of network providers. ... Where the complexity is really going to hit is in the fact that increasingly, in order to [do such things as] have faster recovery in order to have hot standby, to [have optimum] data center management, and to keep up with the latest threats, you might want to outsource or turn [infrastructure] over to a third party for management. ... [G]etting companies onto a single network is what's driving it, no question. The idea is that you give control up to those who make a full-time job of it and who can spread the cost across multiple clients.