Network and system managers must shift their focus when enterprises move from IP telephony pilot projects to actual deployment. Before deployment, the focus is on assessing the ability of the network to support voice traffic and preparing it for the real-time performance requirements of voice applications. After deployment, the network manager must attend to the ongoing management and monitoring of the converged network. Convergence promises lower administrative costs and the ability to deploy productivity-enhancing communications services. The tradeoff is increasing management complexity. Convergence of voice and data accelerates the need for-and increases the strategic importance of-integrated management. Business and network managers must understand the changing management requirements related to IP telephony and adjust their approach to managing performance. Many tools are available (and more are being developed) for these new requirements. Evaluate tools on their ability to provide real-time management and their integration of fault, performance, and QoS management. Tools should provide an application-centric view. Knowing that a phone call was dropped or an application is underperforming is more important than monitoring individual network devices. CIOs and executives should align applications and performance metrics with the network infrastructure and adopt a management approach to enable real value. The Yankee Group offers the following recommendations:IP telephony will happen-be ready to take advantage of it. Evaluate network and solution vendors and form a strategy. Identify applications that can add value. Preparing a network for voice and data traffic takes time. Process change and new applications require resources and commitment. Delay can create a competitive disadvantage that will be difficult to recover from. Look past cost savings. Initial value propositions for IP telephony were based on cost savings. However, building support for converged networks offsets savings in the short term. The real value is in the new business applications that drive productivity, customer satisfaction, and revenue.Perform a network assessment before deployment. Without proper planning, IP telephony initiatives will fail. Requirements for the network often are underestimated. Thorough assessments need to be completed prior to deployment. Performance management needs to be forethought. Be committed to managing performance and call quality prior to implementation. Success depends on planning and having an effective management infrastructure. Voice and data traffic interacting together presents unique performance issues. Best-effort delivery and best-effort management will not suffice. An integrated, attentive approach to fault, performance, QoS, and VoIP management is the key to success. Measure twice, cut once.