A recent study by Access Markets International Partners, Inc. has reportedly revealed that small and medium businesses - companies with up to 99 employees - in the Indian subcontinent are set to spend $48.8 million on unified communication in 2009.
The study also found out that medium businesses - companies with 100 to 999 employees will account for more than 40 percent of the country’s total SMB expenditure, while small businesses will increase their adoption of basic UC solutions.
According to Sumeeta Misra, AMI’s Bangalore-based research associate for Indian SMBs, UC is a low-cost tool to communicate effectively with customers and suppliers and also to facilitate communication across multiple branch locations. SMBs are streamlining their communication infrastructure to cut travel costs, maximize operational efficiency and improve business and customer strategies. Conferencing and collaboration tools like video, audio, Web conferencing and instant messaging will account for a majority of the total UC spending.
Communication-as-a-Service, an extension of the SaaS (News - Alert) model, will provide UC over a service provider’s network. Due to the current economic constraints, the Indian SMB market is looking at on-demand collaboration applications and network-based solutions for delivering a seamless business-to-business partnership. It is expected that the hosted VoIP spending among Indian SMBs will be around $18 million in 2009.
The report predicted that the open source UC suite will raise the interest of users looking for a solution with a minimal initial investment. System integrators are migrating to a solution-selling approach for UC from their conventional box-pushing strategies. Since Indian SMBs are adopting UC solutions to enhance the customer experience and enhance business continuity, vendors and channel partners need to overcome significant challenges like clarity in TCO, need for higher bandwidth, maintenance of IP networks, and hardware expense.
Since unified communication is a collaborative tool, companies typically start with IP telephony and then add video application and later go for an application to integrate both audio and video. SMBs in India are progressing from using IM and click-to-call services solutions that will enhance business processes and line-of-business applications.
The “2009 Marketing Telecommunications Products and Services to India SMBs in the Emerging Asia-Pacific Region” report provides service providers, vendors and marketers an understanding of how the SMB market has been impacted by present day business concerns. It offers detailed analysis on fixed-line telephony, mobile telephony, Internet, and broadband market in India along with its current economic environment and future prospects.
AMI-Partners specialize in IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services strategy, venture capital and actionable market intelligence.
Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Calvin’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Amy Tierney