Ampersand provides technology management consulting and system implementation professional services in three related areas:
VoIP Strategy & Implementation
Ampersand can engage with clients at any phase of a project life cycle. We can provide the best value and leverage for a company if we are brought in early, during the strategy and goal setting part of a project.
VoIP Management Consulting
Ampersand is experienced at assessing the best ways VoIP technologies can be harnessed for strategic and economic advantage for our clients' businesses.
VoIP Strategy Development
Ampersand can lead a client through a workshop designed to identify key elements of the clients current and future communication needs. Typically we start with an audit of the existing enterprise communication systems. Next we use various visioning exercises that educate the client about the capabilities of VoIP and explore future organizational needs. Finally we develop and document a comprehensive strategy for our clients.
VoIP Business Case Analysis
Given a strategy or a goals statement, Ampersand can perform high-level or detailed business case analysis of the costs and benefits of migration to VoIP for any given project. Such an analysis includes current vs. future OPEX, NETEX, and CAPEX expenditures, transition cost, notional time lines, ROI analysis, and risk analysis.
Once a decision is made to proceed with a VoIP implementation, there are a variety of aspects that lead to a successful implementation.
VoIP Project Management
Proper project planning and project management are instrumental to any successful project.
VoIP System Architecture
Ampersand is expert in designing the overall enterprise system architecture relating to the VoIP Implementation. This comprises a network architecture, a hardware architecture, and a software and application architecture. Good architectures deliver the level of fault tolerance and redundancy required by the client, and also have a migration path forward for refresh as technology evolves.
VoIP Vendor and Carrier Selection
Depending on the given implementation, there are a variety of vendors that may have products or services to contribute to the implementation. These could include
- VoIP carriers for inbound and outbound calling and trunking;
- ISPs who provide bandwidth
- collocation providers
- servers, switches and other commodity hardware
- specialty hardware such as gateways or session border controllers
Ampersand can source products and service providers for the client, or can assist the client in the sourcing and negotiation process.
VoIP System Integration
A typical VoIP Implementation will include a number of products from various providers, all of which need to be installed and configured. Ampersand is expert at bringing up VoIP networks and systems, and in getting them all to function together seamlessly. This practice area includes providing full documentation of system configurations, allowing in-house operational maintenance teams to take over once the system is up and running.
VoIP Software Development
In many VoIP implementations there's a missing piece. Something that's critical that just isn't available off the shelf. Ampersand has knowledgeable and efficient software developers on staff to quickly develop and test these missing pieces, to allow the complete system to function as a whole.
When VoIP systems don't work the problems can be difficult to trace. Ampersand utilizes a variety of tools, including call load generators, QoS measurement systems, packet trace and debug tools, to isolate system problems and then devise solutions.
Ampersand staff have an extensive history with the development, deployment, provisioning, tuning, and support of Interactive Voice Systems (IVR).
We can audit existing IVR systems and telco relationships, and advise clients on how to improve and update these systems. Ampersand can help with migrating VXML and non-VXML applications to new engines and IVR architectures.
Ampersand is an active supporter and contributor to the Asterisk® open source community, and can help our clients leverage this powerful open source telephony platform for a variety of uses. Ampersand is a leader in deploying voice applications on top of Asterisk, and is the lead developer of voiceglue, a set of software that allows the open source openVxi VXML engine to run on top of Asterisk.
IT Management Consulting
Ampersand staff are skilled and experienced and many facets of general IT needs, from overall strategy and architecture, to detailed system implementation.
IT Management Consulting and IT Governance
Ampersand can advise clients leadership teams on IT strategy, architecture, and can serve as outsource members of the client's team to provide effective governance of the IT function.
IT Analysis and Strategy Development
Ampersand principals can review an organization's IT architecture, data, applications, and infrastructure to identify strengths and weaknesses. We can then help a company's leadership develop an IT strategy that addresses issues of redundancy, security, disaster recover as well as specific application shortcomings or goals.
Outsource CIO / CTO and IT Governance
Ampersand has served as an outsource CTO or CIO during both "change state" while migrating to new architectures and systems, and during "run state" to help organizations remain aware of evolving technologies that can provide new opportunities. Ampersand staff continually study IT technologies and trends, to be able to advise our clients on best practices. Ampersand also has participated in other IT governance activities and can sit on a board of advisors and/or an IT steering committee.
Ampersand principals have participated in successful due diligence efforts on both the buy side and the sell side; and are skilled at rapidly assessing technology infrastructure, staff, as well as risk and opportunities. Such an analysis often includes assessment of infrastructure, vendors, process, business disaster recovery plans, and technical staff. It often can include an analysis of synergies or efficiencies with the buying organization and opinions on growth strategies.
Ampersand also provides system implementation and development services, including a wide range of services across the complete life cycle of a project:
Specific task areas
- project management;
- business case analysis;
- project charter development;
- requirements development and analysis;
- architecture and design;
- data schema design and database development;
- software implementation;
- SQA plan and test case development;
- rollout and fielding;
Ampersand's team has led a number of website development projects and web 2.0 initiatives, and has gained a solid sense of appropriate use of social media and other web 2.0 techniques and approaches. Ampersand can advise clients on how to create a dynamic web presence that allows them to interact with and engage customers, and to position the client's website to gain market share and impact the bottom line. We are not a design firm, but rather engage with a client to architect a strategy and approach, then help the client line up vendors to implement the various parts.
Specific task areas
- Audit of existing website(s);
- Web trends and strategy workshop;
- Landing page strategy;
- Keyword strategy;
- SEO and SEM approaches;
- Assessment of potential use of blog technologies;
- Understanding the ways in which social media can impact a firm;
- Technical architecture and infrastructure planning;
- Selecting a design firm;
- Overseeing site implementation and rollout;
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