‘VoIP will change the role of the CIO’

The impact of voice over IP (VoIP) technology will have a far reaching impact beyond simply lowering telephones bills and potentially changing the role of the CIO, according to analysts Gartner.

The migration of voice onto IP networks will create the possibility of voice becoming an IT application, raising the possibility of using voice-enabled versions of enterprise applications such as SAP or Siebel, said Neil Rickard, vice president for enterprise communications at Gartner.

Speaking at Gartner's IT Symposium in Cannes, Rickard said that convergence of email, instant messaging, fixed and mobile voice services threatened to overwhelm CIOs that do not plan for this change: "We're talking about a complete change in role; businesses are going to need a communications Czar or some kind of chief process officer to manage this."

The first instances of a this 'messaging as a virtual service' world will be seen in corporate instant messaging, where a user's location and device choices will determine communication channels, he added. Already messaging services, such as Yahoo and AOL, are beginning to work with telecom providers to establish partnerships capable of delivering this service.

The ultimate manifestation of this would see contact centres, collaboration software, email, voice and instant messaging form a unified communication service, potentially pitching vendors as disparate as BT, Microsoft and Accenture against each other, said Rickard.

"This is not an overnight process; the battles are still at a very early stage. But it does require the enterprise to consider what it means to have voice as part of the IT infrastructure."

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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