Telecom departments tapering off

Telecom departments are increasingly being cast aside as IT departments play a greater role in crafting convergence strategies and making purchases, according to a US study from the Computing Technology Industry Association.

CompTIA commissioned IDC (an IDG sister company) to conduct a study on the acceptance of converged applications and services. IDC defines converged applications as those that unite telephony and VoIP networks with data products and services such as e-mail, database and CRM applications.

The survey results show that telecom departments have been folded into a corporation's IT operations. A full 82% of survey respondents said that telephony departments that were once a separate operation now report to someone with "IT" in his or her job title. In fact, 5% of those surveyed have eliminated their telephony staff entirely.

"As telephony department staffs and budgets are shrinking, their influence is waning, and the IT department is making the power decisions when it comes to setting strategies and making purchases," says Edward Migut, director of the CompTIA Convergence Group.

When it comes to making convergence purchases, more than half of those surveyed identified the director of IT/communications or the CIO as the key influencer. The other half identified other individuals as the key influencer, as many large purchases are vetted and acted upon by a committee consisting of both business and IT managers and end users.

How companies are spending their IT and telecom dollars is also shifting. IDC notes that historically, companies spent about 75% maintaining existing applications and equipment and only earmarked 25% for new initiatives. This survey shows that respondents intend to spend 33.4% of their IT budgets on new IT and telephony initiatives.

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