IT Priorities: awesome year for IP telephony

Here's an early Christmas present for anyone selling IP telephony solutions: the ZDNet IT Priorities survey shows that next year should be awesome!
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor on

Here's an early Christmas present for anyone selling IP telephony solutions: the ZDNet IT Priorities survey shows that next year should be awesome!

A staggering 18 per cent of respondents said that they plan on implementing an IP telephony solution within the next year. A further 13 per cent have it in the pipeline for the year after. That's on top of the 33 per cent that already have a system in place.


(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet Australia)

Virtually all of those with plans to implement IP telephony over the next year intend to facilitate Unified Communications (UC) at the same time. UC has been around for aeons, of course, and its meaning seems to change every year — these days, we suspect that it relates to the common functionality of IP phone systems, such as presence, messaging and shared directories.

We didn't specifically ask whether respondents planned for a hosted IP solution over a premise-based system, but it's safe to assume that this is the approach that many will take.

They are more predisposed to it; half of those planning for IP telephony over the next year will be implementing a cloud solution at the same time, and 15 per cent have a cloud solution in place already (against 7 per cent of those not planning IP telephony). If an IP phone system isn't on your shopping list this year, then you are twice as likely to be ignoring the cloud for the foreseeable future, as well.

One reason for hosting a telephony solution, of course, is the benefit from remote access to core functionality. The fact that almost half of those planning IP telephony over the next year will also deploy mobile apps over the same time frame (compared to just 13 per cent of those with no plans for IP telephony) hints that many of these companies are looking at comprehensive telephony offerings for which mobility integration will be a key requirement.

So who are these progressive companies wanting to embrace all the richness of high-end voice capabilities? Well, it's mid-sized corporates, by and large. More than half of those from big companies (500+ seats) say that they already have an IP telephony solution in place, and more than half of the rest have no plans for it. It's a different story amongst mid-sized companies (100-999 seats), with more than quarter pushing ahead over the next year, and a further 17 per cent the year after.

So in the next year, IP phone solutions will provide big revenue opportunities. It's ripe for the picking, but we can see how isolated offerings will fail to win over the customer. The successful vendor will need to provide an integrated solution that will offer a roadmap for UC and mobility, and these target customers are far more likely than most to move some of this core functionality into the cloud. That's got to make 2012 an exciting year for any vendor with a comprehensive IP telephony offering. As we said, Merry Christmas!

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