Mobile applications lay bare the IT/telephony divide

Open source software will help IT lead the charge toward communications-enabled applications

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The challenge for IT is that these and similar applications require IT and telephony groups to work more closely together. More important, these applications will require a degree of telephony flexibility that enterprise telephony buyers aren't likely to be comfortable delivering based on their risk-adverse nature.

So what's an IT department to do?

Open source and cloud telephone to the rescue
An interesting solution is being offered by open source vendor Twilio Cloud Communications, which recently announced OpenVBX, an open source telephony product in the cloud. OpenVBX offers virtual telephone numbers, voice transcription, voice collaboration among users, and a drag-and-drop approach to building call flows and menus. OpenVBX is offered as a hosted service so that IT departments don't have to trouble themselves with keeping a telephony infrastructure up and running.

Most important, OpenVBX can route calls to existing phone numbers. This means IT can build innovative new applications that rely on the enterprise's existing telephony infrastructure without actually having to involve the telephony department in the application development process.

I am not proposing that IT circumvent the telephony department in the long run. However, I am suggesting IT departments consider applying the lessons of grassroots open source adoption: It's much easier to convince decision makers to use open source when the organization has already been using open source.

Nor am I suggesting that telephony departments migrate away from their existing enterprise telephony products; that would be a fool's errand. But I am suggesting that telephony departments evaluate how open source and cloud offerings can augment the existing enterprise telephony environment to deliver application innovation.

A mobile communications-enabled application generating revenue for the enterprise will go a long way toward convincing telephony departments to augment their telephony infrastructures with open source and cloud offerings. As a user, I can hardly wait.

Follow me on Twitter at SavioRodrigues. I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."

This article, "Mobile applications lay bare the IT/telephony divide," was originally published at Read more of Rodrigues et al.'s Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at

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