If Found a Really Good Article in Channel Partners regarding Savings with Hosted PBX

This article appeared in www.channelpartnersonline.com. I was totally impressed – because of the sample size of the survey and the findings!

By Hyoun ParkHosted VoIP has provided strong business value for years, but traditionally the benefit has been associated purely with cost savings. But is this the full value proposition of cloud communications?

Companies that have placed high value on the uptime and reliability of communications systems traditionally have considered the on-premises PBX to be a safer bet because the equipment is locally available and can be accessed more easily in the case of a business continuity threat. However, Aberdeen Group’s most recent research for the July 2011 report, “Conquering the Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt of Managing Integrated Communications” found this assumption is no longer accurate.

When Aberdeen polled more than 100 organizations in their use of telecom, it found that the top 20 percent of telecom end-users in terms of performance, which Aberdeen defines as “Best-in-Class” companies, had 5 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 a hosted communications solutions solution compared to all other organizations, demonstrating that the real-world usage of hosted VoIP is now strongly associated with improved uptime and reduced service impairment.

Given the cost savings associated with a hosted voice solution, the support advantages associated with managed voice and now the service benefits in this maturing market, the value proposition for hosted VoIP has become much easier to articulate.

However, to fully take advantage of these trends, channel partners must be aware of the markets that are most ready and willing to move towards the cloud. To better understand this market, the channel must answer:

  • What kinds of companies currently identify cloud-based or hosted communications as a priority?
  • How can the channel better support these customers to successfully transition from on-premise to hosted services?

To answer these questions, Aberdeen broke out its respondent base into three different categories for further profiling:

  • small organizations of 50 employees or less
  • medium organizations of between 51 and 2,500 employees
  • large enterprises with more than 2,500 employees

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. These companies were driven first and foremost by budget and were simply seeking the cheapest solution. However, secondary concerns that these companies faced included a lack of vendor support and the need to improve external communications with partners and customers. The ability to provide improved service while reducing the company’s need for IT overhead should be attractive because these firms tend to be disproportionately dependent on their communications system to support a partner and customer ecosystem because it is more cost effective than event-driven or travel-based face-to-face meetings. By moving to a hosted VoIP environment, these smaller organizations are more likely to achieve the “five 9s” (99.999 percent uptime) support that they may have assumed was only possible for enterprise-level accounts.

 

At the midsized level, companies are much less likely to have adopted hosted VoIP. 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. Part of the problem here is that 61 percent of these companies already had invested in an on-premises PBX and felt obligated to continue using that equipment until it was fully depreciated. However, this frugal instinct and familiarity with existing equipment did not lead to improved uptime: the average organization in this category had 14.8 hours of communications outage to one or more locations in the course of a year and may simply be taking these outages for granted as the cost of business. At the same time, these midsized companies were more likely to focus on creating a more standardized communications environment, including compliance and security issues. These concerns must be met by channel partners seeking to support mid-market hosted VoIP solutions.

Large enterprises also had low levels of adoption for hosted VoIP, and none of the large organizations that Aberdeen spoke to were considering hosted VoIP in the next 12 months. Although they could realize significant cost savings from this technology, these organizations are more focused on improving the ease-of-use for existing communications deployments and developing a road map for implementing new communications technologies. As a result, these companies seek to continue using the PBX and maintain their current unified communications investments. However, 25 percent of these larger organizations wanted to implement virtualized PBXs in their organizations in the next 12 to 24 months, which provides an alternate mode of support that can be provided to these companies. As these companies seek to move the PBX into the data center and into a virtualized rack-mount or blade server environment, the channel may see increased opportunities to support larger organizations as well.

Based on Aberdeen’s current research, hosted VoIP currently is seen as most valuable for solving the needs of small and medium organizations. However, small organizations and medium organizations have different needs, concerns and goals associated with hosted VoIP, so the value proposition must be articulated appropriately. As the channel reaches out to end-user organizations, it is vital to keep these concerns in mind to make sure that end-users are appropriately educated on the full value that hosted VoIP can provide to their communications environment.

Hyoun Park is lead analyst in collaboration and integrated communications forAberdeen Group. Over the past four years, Park has surveyed the best practices of more than 2,500 organizations seeking to optimize their collaborative environments. Prior to Aberdeen, Park managed telecom environments at Bose Corp. and Teradyne and was responsible for billing and training operations at multiple CLEC organizations.

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About Vic Levinson
Telecommunications and IT professional with over 20 years experience in Business Telecommunications. Specializing in voice over IP (VoIP) for business: hosted VoIP, business VoIP phone systems, SIP providers, carriers, T1's - the works. Founded Prime Telecommunications in 1993 and providing business communications solutions. Cloud Applications- everything from hosted network security, hosted Disaster Recovery, hosted printer management, data centers and colocation solutions for businesses.

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