Nearly 90 per cent of UK midsize businesses have already rolled out IP telephony or plan to introduce IP telephony services by 2009, according to research conducted for COLT. This compares to a lower European average of 56 per cent. The country least likely to adopt these services was Spain where only 42 per cent of business either have or plan to adopt IP telephony. In Germany, intent nudges slightly higher to 45 per cent and in France, an even 50 per cent of businesses surveyed reported plans to move to IP telephony.
The research was conducted by independent firm Vanson Bourne with 600 IT Directors at businesses with 251 – 1,000 employees in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Research findings revealed that although cost-savings were cited as the key driver for IP telephony adoption, UK organisations were quickly recognising the wider, value-added corporate benefits. These include increased employee flexibility, the potential for a larger mobile workforce and significantly greater improvements in business efficiencies.
Dr Alireza Mahmoodshahi, Chief Technology Officer at COLT commented: “This research confirms that IP telephony is a mainstream business solution here in the UK and that we are leading the way in Europe. The UK’s willingness to embrace new technologies in order to reduce costs, increase business efficiency and allow more flexible working conditions are all reflected in the findings of this research. However moving to IP telephony is still a major change for an organisation. Service providers need to work harder to demonstrate the benefits and ensure the ROI model and migration path are well designed for each customer. We at COLT are focusing on this.”
The research also high-lighted a growing trust in managed IP telephony in the UK, where a PBX is managed onsite by a third party or hosted in a data centre with no need for onsite equipment: 21 per cent of those planning to adopt IP telephony said they would choose this approach.
The findings support recent research from Ovum. Chris Lewis, Enterprise Practice Leader at Ovum, said: “Our research shows a growing acceptance of IP telephony and associated services and that end users are increasingly looking to third parties to take the burden of management of services off their hands.”
Comparing Britain’s industry sectors, respondents from IT businesses were the most interested in IP telephony (67 per cent expect to be using it by 2009) and the least interested in handing over management to a third party. 69 per cent said they would manage the system themselves.