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Hosted VoIP Prevalent Among SMBs

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October 31, 2011

Hosted VoIP Prevalent Among SMBs

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Hyoun Park, lead analyst in collaboration and integrated communications for Aberdeen (News - Alert) Group, spent the past four years surveying the best practices of more than 2,500 organizations seeking to optimize their collaborative environments.

He recently wrote that while hosted VoIP has provided strong business value, “traditionally the benefit has been associated purely with cost savings.”

His question: “Is this the full value proposition of cloud communications?” In other words, are there more compelling reasons to adopt hosted VoIP than simple cost savings? Yes, in fact, there are.

Pushback against hosted VoIP has come in part from companies focused on uptime and the reliability of communications systems, who consider the on-premise PBX (News - Alert) a safer bet, Park explains, “because the equipment is locally available and can be accessed more easily in the case of a business continuity threat.”

That’s certainly the perception, but Park finds it’s not always reality. He points to a recent Aberdeen Group research report on the matter, “Conquering the Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt of Managing Integrated Communications," which found that of over 100 organizations, the top 20 percent of telecom end-users in terms of performance had “five percent of the downtime and one-fourth of the SLA-defined issues faced by typical respondents.”

These top-achieving companies were “more than twice as likely to use hosted communications compared to all other organizations,” Park reported, saying that this demonstrates that “the real-world usage of hosted VoIP is now strongly associated with improved uptime and reduced service impairment.”

In fact, as Park said, small organizations were “most excited by hosted VoIP, with 32 percent of Aberdeen’s survey audience stating that they had already adopted this technology and another 35 percent planning to do so within the next 24 months.”

Of course, cost was a big factor in this. The study found that these companies were driven first and foremost by budget, but there were some significant secondary concerns listed, including a lack of vendor support and the need to improve external communications with partners and customers.

Mid-size companies are much less likely to have adopted hosted VoIP, the Aberdeen survey found. As Park reported, “only 11 percent of our respondents between 51 and 2,500 employees actually had implemented this technology although another 30 percent planned to do so.” And large enterprises are similarly uninterested, as “none of the large organizations that Aberdeen spoke to were considering hosted VoIP in the next 12 months,” Park said.

He concluded, based on all the research, that hosted VoIP currently is seen as most valuable for solving the needs of small and medium organizations. However, “the value proposition must be articulated appropriately.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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