Businesses large and small are turning to managed VoIP (also known as hosted IP PBX) as a way to upgrade their telecommunications during the weak economy, analysts said.
"They are seeing VoIP as a way to generate hard dollars they can invest in unified communications next year," Forrester Research analyst Henry Dewing told Enterprise VoIPplanet.
A recent survey of enterprises and small and medium-size businesses tends to bear out Dewing. Forty-seven percent of large companies and 37 percent of small business said they have purchased managed telecommunications services, according to Forrester.
"UC was nowhere a few years ago," said Dewing. Interest is now on the rise, and "we have seen a slight uptick in buying," he said.
The survey found the move to managed services is no longer just about saving money, but also allowing companies to "focus on their core business competencies," rather than keeping networks going.
The shift to managed services also frees up dollars that can be spent upgrading corporate telecom services.
"While the down economy is making most technology areas suffer, managed services is getting a boost," said Ellen Daley, Forrester vice president and research director.
The survey found only 12 percent of enterprises expressed no interest in adopting unified communications, while 20 percent of small businesses were reluctant.
The dichotomy is even more evident when it comes to opinions on WiMAX. While the report indicated "high enterprise interest," nearly half, or 45 percent, of small businesses doubted they would adopt the technology.
"The smaller the business, the less use they have for it," Dewing said. SMBs do not have the support infrastructure required, the analyst explained.
VoIP is equally at home in both large and small business. Both enterprises and SMBs reported 37 percent adoption of Internet voice. Some 14 percent of enterprises said they will expand their IP voice installations compared with 9 percent of small businessjust another sign that large companies see greater savings from desktop VoIP.
"VoIP has become a standard way to deliver telecom" in business, Dewing concluded.