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Georgetown University Taps Cloud for Phone Service

April 18, 2017

The task of replacing a major legacy system is not an enviable one. Trying to take something that may have worked for years, even decades, and shutting it all down, potentially crippling operations during that time, and all to bring in a new system everyone will have to get used to is a tall order and one that may not go celebrated for a long time. Recently, Georgetown University's chief information officer (CIO) Judd Nicholson planned such a move, starting testing on a cloud-based phone service that would replace the legacy system.

The plan, which is itself part of a broader initiative, allows Georgetown to take better advantage of cloud-based systems and mobile software, a development which is itself increasingly prized.  Georgetown is turning to Dialpad for some of the application part, letting users take advantage of a system that runs not only on both iOS and Android devices, but also on the Chrome browser, making it useful for much of the mobile and desktop infrastructure.  Around 200 users, both faculty and staff, are taking part in the initial testing to see how well Dialpad will work with the current organization.

Dialpad also integrates with Google Apps for Education, and given how much of the Georgetown populace—both student and faculty—turns to these cloud apps for editing documents, routing emails and engaging in collaboration, the end result should be one to see. Better yet, Dialpad offers a slate of useful tools itself like call recording, mute, and hold options to produce some really noteworthy results. There are even some privacy protection tools here; faculty who want to communicate with students without handing out a potentially-abused mobile number can instead provide a Dialpad connection instead.

It's a potentially disastrous task, revamping a major system in such a fashion. After all, you're talking about taking a system everyone knows and has used—in this case for multiple decades—out of operation to replace it with a brand new system that only about 200 people on the campus have even tried. It's an operation that could ruin reputations and people's everyday activities for months. Yet if it works...if it works, it produces a new, powerful system that delivers benefit for the next 25 years and becomes the legacy system that someone else will have to put down.

Georgetown's taking quite a chance here, but with some sound initial testing—like it seems to be actively focusing on—the final outcome should be positive, and the university should have a powerful new cloud-based system to put to use.

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