A study by Forrester Consulting, on behalf of AT&T, indicates that small and medium-sized businesses that are not using IP-based voice services could be doing themselves a disservice.

The study: “VoIP Solution Deployment Enables Enterprises To Achieve Many Strategic Benefits”, released earlier this year, cites figures taken from a Forrester survey of more than 250 U.S. enterprises, conducted in the first quarter of 2013.

It found that almost 70% of companies with 500+ employees had already implemented, were expanding or upgrading their use of LAN IP-based voice services.

Given that the study was undertaken a year ago, we should expect this figure to have jumped somewhat – and this certainly seems to be the case. In the Forrester study, 60% of the 50 enterprise IT decision makers surveyed said that they were currently implementing, expanding or had already completed their IP voice service implementation.

An additional 30% were planning an implementation within the next few years; creating a combined percentage of 90%. Clearly, with such a large number of companies onboard, VoIP is a very popular choice – but why?

Example table from the report showing VOIP features expected to be used.

Example table from the report showing VOIP features expected to be used.

VoIP can provide services that are either impossible, or far too expensive, via traditional circuit-switched services i.e. call forwarding, three-way conferencing, electronic messaging and video conferencing – and 88% of respondents in the Forrester study stated that they used these services, or planned on doing so.

Other benefits cited include reduced costs (61%), a more flexible work environment (65%) and the creation of a streamlined infrastructure via consolidation onto a single network (52%).

In our experience, the majority of enterprise – corporate companies seek an IP infrastructure that is not only voice ready, but also easy to use, with collaborative voice related services.

Clearly, this is an opportunity for service providers to meet customer needs in the Unified Communications (UC) space, while VoIP/SIP platforms need to be standards-ready to support service demand.

See the original Forrester report in full here (PDF).

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