Progress Report #1

We started our installation process on Monday with our first meeting with Bob Chilcote of Connected WorkPlace Solutions (CWPS). In this 3+ hour meeting we covered a lot of ground and it gave us new ideas on how to take advantage of our new system.

PBX installation is a long road. I was hoping for a new system before Christmas but circumstances slowed down signing the contract, and the holidays will interrupt the installation of a new phone circuit. So we expect to go live around Jan 16, 2013, but we are waiting confirmation of the delivery date of the new phone circuit.

When I started down this road I read to expect to take 6 months to buy and install a PBX. This broke down to 2 months to prepare a RFP, 2 months to select a proposal and 2 months to install a BPX. This seems about right to me, though I took 5 years. Most of that time was spent educating myself about phones, though most of my work was done in the last 6 months.

To make life a little easier we are not switching carriers. We've been happy with WindStream with our analog T1 lines so we are using them for our new SIP Trunk. Our telecom agent, ARG, handles everything to do with WindStream.

I am currently filling out a spreadsheet for CWPS. Information about every user and station. Support related information. Hunt groups. Automated attendants. Lists of remote users. It's a lot of work. This spreadsheet is due to CWPS on Dec 14, and it does feel like a homework assignment.

CWPS is waiting for  Cisco to ship the equipment to them. They should have it by next week. CWPS will do all of the setup work of the PBX, switches and firewall at their offices and then deliver the equipment to us the following week. I hope to have the data switches installed by the end of the year and have all of the equipment in the racks. Final configuration might be done then or the first week of January.

At this point we will have a functional phone system that cannot talk to the world. We are hoping to of the SIP Trunk Circuit installed the week of Jan. 7. If that goes well we will switch over to the new system at the end of the day on Jan 16 and perform training on Jan 17. The reason for Jan 17 is that this is the first day our staff would be able to focus on phone training.

Between equipment installation and going live I will devote time to getting used to the system, both as an administrator and a user. We will set up a few of the phones so I can test out its use and features.

Plus the e-mails between me, CWPS, and ARG. CWPS has a long history of working with ARG on projects so CWPS and ARG should be able to coordinate their work without me being in the middle.