Poor management strategies as a result of an ill-informed market have seen the potential cost savings of Voiceover IP (VoIP) telephony squandered by enterprises, according to the Meta Group.
This view comes off the back of a recent US multi-client study conducted by the research firm. It concludes the US VoIP telephony adoption experience, which is ahead of Australia's, has been mired by failure.
Meta Group client advisor, Bjarne Munch, said the major driver for adoption of VoIP among surveyed corporations was expected operational cost savings of at least 50 per cent, but few companies had actually reported any real savings.
About 63 per cent of corporates had not seen a reduction in operational costs, 60 per cent had not seen a reduction in time management, and IP telephony equipment costs had generally been 15-20 per cent higher than for a traditional TDM-based PABX solution, Munch said.
In citing the US figures, Munch said he was sounding an alarm call for the Australian market.
"The key warning here is that in many cases we do not see savings, and those cases are directly related to where organisations don't have a management solution in place," he said. "There is still a very large amount of education in Australia that needs to be done as most corporations don't understand the technology and certainly don't understand the solutions available to them."
Vendors and businesses in the SMB space had enjoyed relatively successful deployments of about 300 VoIP handsets, Munch said, but scaling those successes to 3000, or in the case of a large corporate, 30,000 handsets, was an entirely different matter.
"When we start looking at large deployments, the management of the solutions starts to look shaky," he said.
Neither vendors nor businesses had the expertise to see real work and business flow opportunities taken advantage of, according to Munch, so an opportunity existed for willing and able integrators to step up to create a comprehensive solution for the estimated 60 per cent of corporations looking to implement VoIP telephony.
"Integrators have two challenges - one is to focus on how corporates can take advantage of the operational environment to gain real cost savings. The other is to assist corporates in developing tools that can improve business processes and workflows," he said.
Munch said a corporate CIO/IT manager responsible for evaluating VoIP proposals was usually assisted by a voice or data specialist, but rarely anybody from the rest of the business.
"If integrators want an angle to sell into a corporate environment, they should get the people involved from all the technology silos to create a solution that embraces and converges the whole business," he said.