5.20.2 Voice

Background

Telephone services at SCSU are a critical component in the normal day-to-day functioning of the university. The technology in use is mature and stable, and the campus community expects a certain availability of this service.

A mix of several vendors and/or state agencies provides the current configuration of telephone services. For example, conventional landline telephone service is provided by a state agency, which in turn contracts with one or more vendors. Another vendor provides long-distance service. Voice mail is provided by a state agency. A mix of local vendors provides cellular or wireless telephone service. The contract for most telephone service expires on June 30, 2003.

A telephone services committee is in place during Fiscal Year 2003 to assess campus needs with respect to this service, to negotiate with telephone service providers, to formalize a new contract for this service, and to implement this contract so that continuous telephone service is provided to the campus. The new telephone service is to be implemented at the start of Fiscal Year 2004. (For information regarding this initiative, see http://www.stcloudstate.edu/telephoneservices.)

The opportunity to negotiate a new contract for basic telephone and voice mail service for the university is also an opportunity to seek additional telephone features and availability of service, plus an opportunity to seek cost savings with respect to this fundamental service for the university.

Goals

The overall goal concerning telephone and voice technologies is to provide an appropriate and robust voice services environment at SCSU, at a cost effective price. Therefore, SCSU will

  • evaluate, purchase, and install a new telephone system
  • evaluate an alternative to the state contract for long-distance service providers
  • target a telephone for every classroom
  • migrate from analog telephony to IP-based technology
  • train technical staff to fully support the new telephone system
  • provide education for managers and staff regarding the advantages of digital telephone systems and the application of these phones in a business environment
  • provide unified messaging of voice-messages and e-mail

Specific Actions and Timeline

The telephone services committee has already been created to address issues concerning SCSU’s telephone and voice technologies. The committee is currently in the process of planning for the conversion to a new telephone system, and the actions specified below will not follow the standard timeline.

  • Before the conversion to a new telephone system, during the conversion process, and after the installation of the new telephone system, the committee will keep the university administration and the general campus community informed of issues, plans, progress, and critical dates.
  • By the start of Fiscal Year 2004, the committee will have a contract in place to continue telephone services for the university, to include:
    • an appropriate mix of technologies to provide a stable and reliable telephone platform while at the same time positioning the university to move forward with anticipated technology advances
    • basic telephone service to all faculty, staff, and residence hall students that is equal to or better than previous service
    • basic voice mail service for all faculty, staff, and resident hall students
    • additional features that address specific telephone needs as articulated by the campus community during the requirements-gathering phase of the above project.
  • The committee will plan to provide training for the campus community to enable individuals to use the voice service options to the maximum extent possible. Training will be offered in step with the conversion to the new telephone system. Follow-up training will be provided as needed.
  • After July 1, 2003, the committee will assist individuals and departments with adopting new technology-supported solutions offered by the new telephone system.
  • During Fiscal Year 2004, the committee will develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) for long-distance services to secure the best possible pricing on long-distance services.
  • The committee will develop a proposal and secure funding to equip every classroom with either an analog or IP telephone.
  • During Fiscal Year 2006, the committee will determine if fiscal and operational criteria exist to justify SCSU assuming the maintenance function of the telephone system.
  • During the 2007/2008 academic year, the committee will produce a final report on voice services at SCSU and a planning document for the next five-year plan. These will be submitted to TLTR by February 1, 2008, for review.

Resources

Significant financial and human resources will be required to transition to a new telephone system.

The change to a new system will be underwritten at the campus level. Existing telephone sets will continue to function under most conditions. Departments will need to allocate funds to upgrade telephone sets or add features as they desire.

If a new set of telephone numbers is required, there will be significant cost and inconvenience for the general campus community.

The human resources will be significant in re-training the campus community for the new telephone system. Initial support issues will be considerable. The successful telephone vendor or in-house training resources will facilitate training.

Evaluation

  • Is the telephone service contract in place to continue telephone service after Fiscal Year 2003?
  • Has a long-distance provider been selected?
  • Is a telephone present in every classroom?
  • Have services migrated from analog to IP-based technology?
  • Has technical staff been fully trained to support the new telephone system?
  • Have individuals been trained to utilize the telephone system features?
  • Are emergency telephone services understood and functional?
  • Is the quality of service acceptable to the general campus?
  • Does the system provide unified messaging of voice and email?
  • Is the telephone system stable, available, and reliable?

Revised: May 2003