More Australian enterprises turn to consumer communication products: Report

Consumer offerings fill the gap as IT executives discard traditional communication products, finds Telsyte

Consumer communication products are gaining popularity with Australian enterprises as IT executives face long upgrade cycles for traditional telephony equipment, according to the latest report from analyst firm Telsyte.

The Telyste Australian Enterprise Communications Market Study 2012 surveyed over 300 IT executives on their use of enterprise communications technology ranging from unified communications (UC) to videoconferencing systems.

The study found the key trends to be consumerisation of IP-based communication products, the increasing use of software-only telephone systems and uptake of Cloud services for voice and mobile UC.

Telsyte senior analyst, Rodney Gedda, said in a statement that long upgrade and implementation cycles for enterprise telephony equipment will be challenged by fast-paced consumer products which are available on people’s devices of choice.

“Advancements in Cloud and consumer grade systems allow workers to bypass an organisation’s existing investments in enterprise communications systems and software,” Gedda said.

“The use of mobile devices instead of company handsets can also impact enterprise communication requirements. For example, if a consumer-grade UC app is available on a smartphone and an enterprise vendor app is not, people will choose what is available.”

The study found that Skype was being used for videoconferencing by 30 per cent of companies which have deployed the technology. Gedda added that Skype, now owned by Microsoft, also has a leading position for public voice over IP (VoIP) software indicating a strong trend towards the consumerisation of voice communications.

“With more software-only communications systems available today, we looked at how comfortable IT leaders are using software and Cloud systems instead of a traditional hardware PABX,” Gedda said. “CIOs are quite receptive to these changes so the market is wide open for new players.”

According to Gedda, 30 per cent of the hosted telephony market is now defined by CIOs as Cloud telephony. “As Cloud telephony services mature and more business processes can be performed in the Cloud, CIOs will have fewer reasons to invest in on-premise systems,” he said.

While most executives were interested in Cloud telephony, 37 per cent of those surveyed said they had no plans to deploy UC while 6 per cent have a five-year UC implementation plan. “This indicates there remains some reluctance from CIOs to take on a UC project,” Gedda said. “As a result, the public communications tools are filling the void.”

Mobile UC was proving more popular with more than 50 per cent of organisations indicating that they had integrated mobile devices with UC implementations.

“Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype is a big endorsement of the reach of consumer-oriented communications software,” Gedda said. “The company has started to integrate its Lync server with Skype and other UC vendors can increase their relevance by integrating consumer communication services as they become popular.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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