A survey of enterprise to midmarket companies in the U.S. and abroad found increased demand for hosted telephony and related applications, due to quick ROI and a shaky economy.
According to market research firm T3i Group's most recent survey of almost
300 U.S. and
international enterprise and small to medium-size business decision makers, the
near-term market for hosted Internet Protocol telephony and applications is
much larger than indicated by previous studies.
The survey addressed global demand for hosted telephony and seven hosted
applications: contact center, audio conferencing, desktop video conferencing, Web
conferencing, voice messaging, unified messaging and interactive voice
response/speech recognition. In addition to the demand research, analysis
included interviews with hosted service providers.
The company's "Global Market Demand for Hosted IP Telephony and Hosted
- SaaS UC Applications Market Outlook" report segments current and
expected hosted telephony customers by their size, implemented or planned
service usage, service provider selection criteria, financial and nonfinancial
decision-maker criteria, and more than 15 measurements of customer satisfaction
or dissatisfaction. The research found that the selection criteria for hosted
applications has shifted with growing awareness of SAAS (software-as-a-service)
solutions and cloud computing.
The survey found bundled access is a second factor in the growth of hosted
services, with companies that provide wideband access for multiple business
purposes finding that customers like the idea of consolidating their voice/PBX
services with provider services. IT and telecom decision makers' disinterest in
hosted telephony and applications was most frequently attributed to their
preference for premises-based solutions and the need for total control over
systems. The group's research detected concern over these considerations has
dropped substantially in comparison with earlier studies.
Russell Horowitz, market research specialist at T3i and author of the
report, said service providers who previously had little to do with the
desktop, and especially not the phone system, are encroaching on the telecom
vendor's turf. "Interest in hosted telephony and these seven hosted
applications was indicated by more than 50 percent of our surveyed research
panel," he said. "It is fair to say that service providers are doing a great
job exhibiting their abilities to supply such advanced features as federating
remote locations or administering collaborative applications by individual
Horowitz said quick ROI (return on investment), defined as applications and
services that pay for themselves within the first year of deployment, has
become a major factor in hosted application deployment. Representing a shift
from prior T3i research, enterprise, SMB and international decision makers
cited the same two types of service providers as being highly capable of
providing quick ROI, based on two factors: the inherent financial benefits of
the core (IPT) hosted service and the use of
such cost-saving technologies as collaboration and IVR.
In addition, the company said a significant percentage of respondents now
view hosted service as having more functionality than similar CPE solutions.
"Enterprises of all sizes appear to be lured to advancing their capabilities
and competitiveness without the need to ramp up/maintain internal staffing, and
to purchase expensive systems and maintenance contracts," noted Horowitz.