Are IP Telephony Suppliers Off the Mark?

Are VoIP retailers "failing to rethink their products aimed at small and medium-sized business owners?

It's hard to argue with this argument in favor of simplicity, savings and support. On the other hand, there arguably are other issues. Demand, for example.

Recent surveys conducted by Savatar Research over the last couple to several years consistently have shown relatively high awareness of IP telephony but flattening sales. Quarterly SME adoption rates of IP telephony have been falling since the third quarter of 2006, Savatar notes.

Since it is hard to think of any IP telephony provider that is not acutely aware of the need for simplicity, savings and support or extreme ease of installation so support isn't necessary, there still is some buyer resistance, apparently.

Savatar surveys also show fairly high awareness of new features IP telephony makes possible. About 38 percent of managers or executives at firms with up to 500 employees already believe IP telephony will save them money, says Savatar. At firms with less than 100 employees, as many as 42 percent of prospects might already believe IP telephony will save them money.

About 18 percent of prospects might be expected to believe that IP telephony offers a more innovative set of features, Savatar says.

Of course, some providers would argue they have cracked the code on IP telephony, and do not have any need to "rethink" how they are packaging and selling their products.

As Savatar says, SME buyers just want to be sure they are buying a phone system that works. Unified communications, software as a service, hosted and managed services, cloud computing and mashups are interesting to lots of us. Small organizations and businesses are unlikely to be so inclined. They just want a phone system or service that works.

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