IT Update: Telephone System Replacement
This message provides important information regarding the comprehensive end-to-end replacement of the Graduate Center’s telephony system, now underway.
• The next phase of this project will take a more public presence, as we begin an onsite survey of every location in which a telephone is currently installed. Every meeting space, closet, office, nook & cranny on every floor must be personally and individually inspected and documented prior to the forthcoming deployment of new telephones. In some settings this visitation may include getting on the floor to trace existing cable paths and to identify wall outlet numbers.
• It is critically important that we have current and complete information on the location of every existing telephone; simply stated, phones for which we have no record will not be scheduled for replacement and will cease working at some point. Unfortunately, we are not well served by historical record-keeping, so we are relying on the data we have assembled from office managers across the GC; we continue to strive to re-validate such information with end-users. In addition to location and extension information, we continue to discover that in many instances “office extensions” and individual end-user extensions have become convoluted, virtual numbers and physical numbers have become intertwined, call pick-up groups and line appearances are outdated, and in short that the replacement of the entire telephone system provides an opportunity for enormous clean-up.
• Today, GC desktop computers are connected via cables to “data” ports and desktop telephones to “voice” ports on IT wall outlets. Going forward, the typical office configuration will have the telephone connected to a data port on the wall outlet and the computer connected to the telephone. In many settings this will be a routine implementation; in other settings this configuration may require some customization. One goal of site survey is to ensure that during the upcoming deployment and installation of new phones we are prepped and well-prepared for such scenarios.
• The actual deployment and installation of new phones will be done in waves over a span of two to three months, on a floor-by-floor basis. As new phones are deployed to their destinations, existing “old” phones will be removed and users will start using their new phones routinely. Eventually every phone will be migrated from the old system to the new, and the decommissioning of the old phone system will be finalized. Individual departments will be notified as the deployments for their floor are scheduled. During the two-week period immediately prior to the migration of a given floor, any changes to the old phone system will be frozen for that floor.
• The new phones are significantly different in design than the “old” phones; user training will be provided to familiarize users with the features and functions of the new system. Overall, features of the new phone system will include (as the project rolls out over the next several months) incoming caller-ID, enhanced voicemail features, extension look-ups, instant access to six-way calling, a new teleconference bridge system, a suite of call management options and configurations, automated attendants (as previously noted, the GC does not staff a switchboard operator), and various other modern technologies. Outdated technologies that will be eliminated as part of this project include physical fax machines, various analog devices and archaic infrastructure components.
This is a sweeping project with many components and attendant details. We will make every effort to ensure as smooth an implementation as possible, but please understand if an occasional inconvenience arises. Ultimately, we look forward to assisting everyone with reaping the benefits from this massive effort. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Submitted on: OCT 10, 2012