I’ve been investing in some Cisco Equipment and training over the past few months – particularly the CallManager 4 systems because I believe they offer an excellent opportunity to tie some of our in-house skills together and also because I see an amasing opportunity to provide client’s with an excellent product that not only has an excellent feature set (Video Conferencing, Remote Handsets, Integrated Messaging) but also potentially a competitive advantage product by developing applications to go onto the handsets (but more about that in a future blog).
Now I’ve been recommending Cisco equipment to my client’s for years simply because of it’s unrivalled reliability (when was the last time you had to replace a faulty Cisco device on your network?) Ok I know they do fail, but compare it to any other manufacturer and you know it’s good stuff! But it never occurred to me that they might produce a decent Telephone system. Afterall some fo the buig name telephony manufactureres out there have been doing it for years – how could a networking company possibly compete? Well I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong.
Now this is just a personal opinion but let me make this point very clear – CallManager Express IS NOT A GREAT TELEPHONE SYSTEM – it lacks some basic features available on other systems, it’s expensive compared to other VoIP solutions out there and it’s a pig to administer – however as a complete solution incorporating network infrastructure, integrated communications, security, Qualify of Service and all the rest of that jazz that we all need – Cisco’s offering is quite simply the best solution out there.
Now don’t get me wrong there are better telephony solutions available and there are cheaper solutions out there (Asterisk PBX is the obvious choice here and one I’m familiar with so I can speak with some confidence on this matter) but everyone of them brings their own issues. The simple fact is that whatever VoIP solution you go for – Asterisk, Nortel, Microsoft?!? you’re going to need a reliable, configurable network infrastructure to put it on and what’s the obvious answer there? Cisco of course!
So take my advice and make your life easier and implement a full Cisco solution – you’ll thank me in the end!
I’ll cover some of the main advantages (as I see them anyway ) in a future blog – but the phone is ringing and I’d better get back to work demonstrating to my client’s why this CallManager Express system is so darn good!