Are Carriers Telling VoIP Users: "I (Don't) Want To Hold Your Hand?"

How was your weekend? Iwatched football, worked ona reportabout robotics, tended to my toe, and attended a house-party lecture on the history of the banjo.

How was your weekend? Iwatched football, worked ona reportabout robotics, tended to my toe, and attended a house-party lecture on the history of the banjo. That's not all:I spentpart of Sundayreviewing a new report from Nemertes Research. The report is entitled "Vendors Vary Wildly On Real Costs for VoIP Rollouts."

In Friday's post, I mentioned that "companies with 1,000 or more VOIP users spend an average of $525 per user on initial costs; those with fewer than 100 users spend an average of $763 per user." OK, well, duh, that's economy of scale at work.

But when I read a little deeper, I see a problem. Carriers don't seem to be capitalizing on what their IP customers want: managed services, and maybe a bit of hand-holding as well.>

A prettysignificant chunk of companies using VoIPwould really, really think it very cool if carriers offered managed services. Put 46% of respondents down for that, as well as 17% who would like hosted applications and 11% who want wireless integration.

My reading of the report tells me that companies want these services because they want to maximize efficiencies possible when IP and other networks are converged. Reasons for this convergence include videoconferencing, 55%; unified communications, 36%; collaborative tools, 29%, and call center/CTI, 26%.

Yet are the same carriers who sell VoIP access aware of what their customers want? Robin Gareiss, author of the Nemertes study, is not convinced. "IT executives are getting impatient with the carriers," he writes. "They haven't effectively marketed convergence services, so decision-makers usually don't have carriers on their short lists."

Now's your turn. Have you tried to talk to your current, or prospective, VoIP carrier about managed services? Is this a big issue for you? Would a rudimentary or even non-existent managed services portfolio cause you to hesitate signing up with a carrier you found wanting in that regard?

Let the fur fly.

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