The first phase of VoIP implementation is already complete, covering Sanitarium's Berkeley Vale head office and the company's Auckland offices and warehouse. The IP telephony system at Sanitarium is currently used by a total of 600 employees. Sanitarium's nine other sites across Australia and New Zealand are due to be progressively upgraded from their current PBX status to VoIP.
Kevin Wallace, Sanitarium Infrastructure Services manager, says that the reasons for undertaking the VoIP upgrade were clear, but that the decision wasn't necessarily an easy one. 'There are quite a few horror stories out there about VoIP implementations that have not delivered. Call cost savings, management centralisation and simplification of infrastructure are all important objectives, but replacement of a phone system is a complex project that impacts many parts of the company, and must be well-managed to succeed.'
According to Wallace the VoIP upgrade was not specifically part of the initial network upgrade plan, 'In the beginning, the primary aim was to upgrade our network infrastructure. The phone system certainly wasn't part of the picture back then. Being able to include the capability for VoIP in the future was an important design constraint that influenced our decision to choose Cisco. We weren't committing ourselves, but the option was available any time we needed it. That time came sooner rather than later.'
Wallace is keen to leverage some of the additional functionality available with the new system to assist the business. A 'soft-phone' pilot programme is currently underway, giving laptop users the full use of their desk phone, including incoming calls, while at home or travelling. Wallace sees this as just one of the ways that the VoIP system can help move the company forward.
Andrew Habgood, senior network consultant, HP network services commented, 'It's great to be extending our relationship with Sanitarium from simple LAN & WAN integration and management into the broader communications arena. This project has given us the opportunity to further strengthen our Cisco relationship based on the Global Services Alliance program as well as demonstrating real business value of VoIP in the business world.'