Butler VoIP Essay

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The VoIP Adoption at Butler University

Butler University is a private college located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The campus had five colleges, twenty buildings and sat on 290 acres. The phone system supported 900 faculty members and half of the 4,400 students. The phone system was maintained by the university’s Information Resources department. This department was made up of forty staff members. The IT team provided support for 125 servers, over 1400 university-owned desktops, and approximately 7,000 network connections.
Prior to 2005, Butler used SBC’s service to provide 3,000 phones on the campus. Most of the faculty has single line analog phones. In addition, there was one phone per dorm room so students often had to share a phone line and voicemail box. SBC was providing reliable service but the equipment was dated and did not have many of the current features.
In 2004, Butler University began researching their options to update the phone systems. Joe Indiano, IR’s director of network and systems led the team responsible for making the decision. It was decided to also hire an outside firm to perform some analysis. The firm chosen was one the Association of Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education had recommended. Dietrich Lockard Group was hired to determine if a new phone system could improve communications at Butler University.
Dietrich Lockard performed surveys interviews and focus groups. Upon completion, they were able to establish five strategic goals. They were:
Improve communications with the students and within the student community, including the allotment of private voice mailboxes.
Improve the handling of callers to high-volume call areas on campus.
Leverage newer services such as multiline and self-labeling telephone devices and online directories as well as improve training.
Provide more immediate access to specific Butler personnel.
Remain competitive with peer institutions in the level of services offered, particularly those that impact students and their families.
There were four alternatives proposed based on the results of the cost-benefit estimates performed. They were:
Continuing with the current solution: Centrex service outsourced to SBC.
Continuing with the outsourced Centrex service-but with a significant investment in upgrades and new “bolt-on” equipment.
Acquiring an in-house PBX system, using either traditional equipment or VoIP.
Continue with the current solution (Option 1) but adding an independent 50-seat VoIP system for a few selected offices.
After evaluating proposals from selected vendors, Butler decided to implement a new VoIP system using Cisco hardware and implementation services provided by Berbee Information networks.
The installation of the new phone system started with a pilot program. In April 2005, forty phones were distributed to high volume phone users. This was to test out the phones and service as well as create a “buzz”. People started talking about the phones and were anxious to have one of their own.
In June 2005, the full installation process began…and there were many challenges. The “plug and play” process of connecting the new phones had failed because of a software bug. All multiline phones had to be manually registered one at a time. The new telephony servers were randomly rebooting. The vendor decided to rebuild each unit. After two months of effort, the additional phone numbers Butler had requested to provide private numbers to all students were lost. SBc said it would take 45 days to resolve the issue. Also, both the food service and book store had no Ethernet…