In the contemporary business environment, the introduction of new technologies, especially in the field of IT and communications, can open larger opportunities for any company to develop its business and, what is more, new technologies can improve consistently the competitive position of a company in the market. The introduction of new technologies is particularly important for such large multinational corporations as Boeing Company, which is one of the world’s leaders in its industry. At the same time, the company cannot ignore the technological progress in the field of IT and communications and, today, Boeing Company attempts to implement new technologies, namely the company tends to switch to VoIP systems, which are supposed to substitute conventional technologies based on the use of the traditional telephone connection. However, the introduction of the new technology and the total switch to VoIP system should be a carefully planned and justified step since, in case of the failure of new systems the company will suffer from considerable problems in the process of communication and, what is more, it can face a threat of information breaches. The latter may threaten to the reliability of the company and its current position on the market because, nowadays, information is one of the most valuable assets of any company, especially, if the company is one of the world’s leader in its industry. This is why, on analyzing the Boeing case, it is necessary to dwell not only on possible advantages and benefits of VoIP systems, but also on the probable drawbacks and limitations of new systems. In addition, it is necessary to take into consideration the general trend on the world market and prospects of VoIP systems.
In fact, it proves beyond a doubt that VoIP systems open larger opportunities for the development of Boeing Company’s communication systems. It is not a secret that the use of phones as the major means of communication has a considerable drawbacks compared to the use of VoIP systems, which have a number of advantages compared to conventional phones. In this respect, it is possible to distinguish several groups of advantages of VoIP over conventional phone connection: larger technical opportunities, costs saving, the possibility of outsourcing and combination of the use of existing network for computing and voice communication.
First of all, it should be said that one of the major concerns for switching from conventional phone communication to VoIP systems is the cost of communications. Obviously, today, the costs of communications are constantly growing, especially for such a large, multinational corporation as Boeing Company. For the company operates worldwide, Boeing Company has to maintain connections with all its units worldwide. Consequently, the maintenance of the connection and voice communication between different units of the company located in remote parts of the world naturally increases the costs of the communication. In such a situation, companies providing Boeing Company with voice communication benefit consistently because there is no effective system being implemented which could fully substitute phones for voice communication. In such a context, VoIP becomes a perfect alternative to the conventional phone communication because it provides Boeing Company with an opportunity to develop its voice communication without the use of international phone connection. Consequently, the company will decrease its costs for the communication because VoIP is consistently cheaper than the conventional phone connections, especially if the communication between remote units, located in different parts of the world, is needed.
At the same time, VoIP systems allows the company reducing the costs of the conventional phone communication because providers of this type of connection will likely reduce their prices in order to stimulate such large companies as Boeing Company to keep using conventional phones for voice communication. This may be particularly important because Boeing will need time and financial resources to fully introduce new VoIP systems, which could totally substitute conventional phone communication. In such a situation, the company can save costs for the restructuring of its communication system with minimal losses during the transitional period when both VoIP and phone communication are used.
Moreover, VoIP systems have substantial technical advantages compared to the conventional phone communication.
In this respect, it is important to underline that along with the voice communication, VoIP provides larger opportunities for the organization of video and audio conferences and product-design applications. In actuality, this means that Boeing Company can benefit from the use of Internet and the ability of the voice communication via Internet without any losses in quality of the communication and, instead, the possibility for video and audio communication increases. In practice, this means that the personnel of the company can not only communicate via VoIP, but also work on various projects or problems online. For instance, if a company develops a prospect project in a remote region and the consultation of leading specialists of the company is needed, the unit working on the project on the spot can connect with the leading specialists, organize a video conference, for instance, and, what is more, the leading specialists can suggest certain technical changes or improvements even without leaving their working place due to the use of the Internet. In such a way, VoIP makes it possible to develop closer cooperation with different units of the company worldwide with minimal costs and with a high quality of communication. Basically, this advantage is the result of the possibility of using Internet protocol for both voice communication and computing.
Another advantage of VoIP is the possibility of the outsourcing of the service and the use of the service for both voice communication and computing. The latter, as it has been just discussed above, is very beneficial for the company, while the outsourcing of the service can also contribute to the considerable reduction of costs. To put it more precisely, Boeing Company is going to closely cooperate with Cisco. In such a way, the company can outsource VoIP and use the existing development and technological potential of Cisco. The outsourcing has a lot of advantages for Boeing Company. For instance, the outsourcing will reduce costs since the company will not need to pay for different phone operators located in different countries of the world and the costs of VoIP is lower compared to phone communication. Furthermore, Cisco has a huge experience in the field of IT and communications, while the independent development of new VoIP and the total switch to VoIP systems will need considerable investments from the part of Boeing Company, which will need to employ new professionals who are able to develop such systems.
Instead, while outsourcing the service, Boeing Company can use the experience and products, which have been already developed by Cisco, while the reliability of new VoIP systems is practically unquestionably, taking into consideration the reputation and experience of Cisco on the world market.
On the other hand outsourcing can have considerable drawbacks that put under a threat potential benefits from the use of and total switch to VoIP systems. For instance, the failure of the introduction of the effective VoIP system supplied by Cisco can deteriorate consistently the communication within Boeing Company and any problems in the VoIP system will affect the performance of the entire company, if there are no alternative to the VoIP system. In such a situation, the total switch to VoIP is undesirable, at least in a short-run perspective, instead, the reliability of the new system needs to be checked. In addition, the outsourcing of the service will make Boeing Company dependent on Cisco since it will be the only supplier of the service to the company. Consequently, there is a risk that Cisco will gradually increase the price of its services and, in such a situation, the benefits of the transition from the conventional phone communication to VoIP become doubtful, at least from a financial point of view.
In fact, there are two major ways of the minimization of the risk of the manipulation from the part of Cisco in regard to the price of the outsourced services. Firstly, it is possible to prolong the transitional period when both phone communication and VoIP are used. In order to secure Boeing Company from the potential risk of the growing dependence on Cisco’s services, it is even possible to preserve the conventional phone communication as a part of its communication systems, which could be used as an alternative to VoIP systems. Secondly, it is possible to contract another supplier of services which could provide Boeing Company with effective VoIP systems. In such a way, Boeing Company can maintain a competition between Cisco and an alternative company or, at any rate, Boeing Company can have an alternative to its major supplier of VoIP systems.
Furthermore, the introduction of VoIP systems will inevitably raise the problem of the adequate perception of the new system by the personnel of the company. In fact, VoIP systems open huge opportunities for the communication, but if the personnel is quite rigid and unprepared for the introduction of this technological change, there will be a risk of the ineffective use of VoIP systems. For instance, the personnel of Boeing Company can use VoIP systems only partially, ignoring such possibilities of VoIP as video-conferencing. Or else, the personnel can even oppose to the introduction of the change simply because people get used to phone communication.
However, there is even a more serious threat which is closely intertwined with the introduction of VoIP systems.
What is meant here is the threat of information breaches. In fact, the use of Internet is always accompanied by the risk of information breaches, while the wide use of Internet protocol for the communication within the company increases the risk of information breaches even more. On the other hand, the problem of information breaches can be solved with the introduction of an effective information system that can protect data and communication within Boeing Company. However, the introduction of an effective information system will need additional funding of the development and introduction of such a system. Naturally, it is possible to outsource this service and use Cisco, but such a step will make Boeing Company even more dependable on Cisco.
In spite of possible risks and threats Boeing Company can face in the result of the introduction and total switch to VoIP systems, such a step is quite logical and justified by the current trends on the global market. In fact, according to specialists (Travis, 211), VoIP will likely to replace conventional phone communication, especially when companies need to communicate with remote units located in different parts of the world. At the same time, technical advantages and reliability of VoIP systems make them very convenient to use and many companies have already launched the implementation of VoIP, instead of the conventional phone communication systems. The further development of technologies will probably make VoIP even more accessible to companies and less expansive but even today VoIP systems are considered to be cost saving (Gates, 95). Hence, these systems have huge prospects for the further development.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the total switch to VoIP is practically an essential step for Boeing Company since the company operates worldwide and saving costs along with the enlargement of opportunities for communication, including the possibility of video- and audio-conferencing, make VoIP more preferable compared to conventional phone communication. Moreover, this step is essential in the context of the contemporary market trends since the delay in the introduction of VoIP can put the company into a disadvantageous position compared to its competitors who readily introduce VoIP system. However, the process of introduction of VoIP should be carefully planned in order to avoid possible errors and minimize the risks which accompany the introduction of VoIP.