Why you should step up your SIP game

The compelling case for SIP tools — the “secret sauce” if you will — is in the overall operational savings, according to one analyst. And as IPT, UC and CC become more complex, management tools are a must.

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It’s no secret that, for network professionals, it’s increasingly challenging to manage and monitor SIP traffic across the organization. But, according to Nemertes Research, 40.5 per cent of organizations still aren’t using any tools to manage SIP — a “big issue” and something that’s been consistent over the years.

Why the disconnect? Despite compelling reasons to look at monitoring and management tools, budgetary considerations continue to be the overriding factor. That was the key takeaway from a recent Enterprise Connect webinar, on “The Secret to Smooth SIP Network Operations.”

When it comes to managing unified communications (UC) infrastructure — voice, contact centre, web/audio conferencing — analytics is key, according to analyst Robin Gareiss. Companies are struggling with manual-based processes, she said, and getting a holistic view of SIP traffic in a timely manner continues to be a bugaboo across the industry.

Indeed, the biggest challenges in successfully managing IP T/UC, according to Gareiss, is in the levels of manual analysis and correlation — and too much finger-pointing between providers.

Get proactive

Get proactive around SIP, Gareiss argues. Network pros need to at least understand the industry players in this space and identify the potential solutions they can take advantage of. Look at the cost and time savings in using these tools, she said, and then you can successfully make a business case.

Gareiss concedes that organizations can often feel overwhelmed from the sheer number of management and monitoring tools that are out there. But these solutions are truly useful, with both the level of automated processes and the ability to glean true insight to streamline operations and cut costs down the road.

“There’s a lot you can manage (with these tools) … anything that a SIP enables,” said Gareiss, adding the benefits of issue alerts and monitoring tools are all about the ability to analyze traffic patterns to anticipate problems ahead of time.

Secret sauce

The compelling case for SIP tools — the “secret sauce” if you will — is in the overall operational savings, she said. As IPT, UC and CC become more complex, management tools are a must; Gareiss notes that network pros need to learn the value of these tools and the inherent differences of industry products.

This involves conducting a side-by-side comparison of capabilities and features, including ease of use and the ability to deliver real-time results within narrow time windows, as well as referrals from existing customers.

Also, think about using these tools for more than just the intended purpose; in addition to monitoring, alerting and management, think about extending into potential CDR, APIs and service-provider communications opportunities. Most importantly, think about building a solid business case by tracking metrics: “Measure the before so you can see the after.”

IT professionals are so busy with day-to-day tasks that they can forget to think ahead of the game and measure what the before is, said Gareiss.

“The reason this is so important is that when you compare the before, you can measure and document success. Being able to document the success brought to the company means that you can make the business operations that much easier.”

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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