If you had any questions about the advance of VoIP into the enterprise, we can answer them for you now—planning for VoIP solutions has doubled since January 2005, rising to 35% of all networking plans. This is a dramatic development for our IT Priorities data, especially considering that the trend since August 2003 has had its ups and downs. The low point, 10% of network plans, occurred in May 2004, and the peak in May 2005 at 45%.
Year-over-year planning, which held steady at 15% of networking plans for 2003 and 2004, has risen to 26% of plans for next year's networking solutions. This jump reflects a shift in the thinking of IT managers, who are now more confident in the technology, its implementations, maintenance, management, and, more importantly, the ROI.
These findings are totally consistent with Gartner's 'hypecycle' for networking and communications technologies (subcription required). In 2003 and 2004, Gartner placed VoIP/IP telephony on the segment of the curve that reflects wider adoption of new technology (referred to as the ‘'slope of enlightenment'), where greater success has been demonstrated and implementation has been simplified with off-the-shelf tools. During this period, Gartner predicted that VoIP would plateau in less than 2 years. But this rapid rate of implementation didn’t come to pass, and Gartner's current prediction is that VoIP will plateau in 2-5 years. Our data clearly illustrate that estimates of a plateau within 2 years weren't realistic, while 2-5 years appear to be more in line with the implementation tempo our IT managers are comfortable with.