Benefits and Challenges of Deploying VOIP in SMBs
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Benefits and Challenges of Deploying VOIP in SMBs

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    Benefits and Challenges of Deploying VOIP in SMBs Benefits and Challenges of Deploying VOIP in SMBs Document Transcript

    • Benefits and Challenges of Deploying VOIP in SMBs By Katherine Trost Research Analyst, Nemertes Research VOIP offers significant benefits to small and midsize businesses, including lower network operating costs compared with traditional TDM-based phone systems, as well as the ability to leverage unified communications. As with most benefits, there are certain challenges, especially in the area of network and performance management. Cost Saving From VOIP Nemertes Research has found that SMBs can save money with VOIP in a variety of ways, including: Migration to multi-protocol label switching, MPLS, typically from frame relay or leased line networks. MPLS refers to a class of wide area network services capable of prioritizing various forms of traffic including voice, video and data. MPLS services may be delivered over any access medium such as DSL, Frame Relay, or T1/E1. VOIP is the driver to switch to MPLS, but the overall costs for the same speed circuits are less. Approximately 54% of SMBs use MPLS for WAN services. (Please see, Figure 1: SMB usage of MPLS of WAN Services.) Integrated access, whereby SMBs combine voice and data over the same access lines, eliminating underutilized pipes. Typically, Nemertes has found that businesses average a savings of 23% on WAN costs when migrating to VOIP. SMBs may be able to achieve further savings depending on their existing environment. For example, those with disparate key systems may reduce management cost and complexity by migrating to a single companywide VOIP system or hosted-VOIP service. ©Nemertes Research 2009 www.nemertes.com  888-241-2685 DN0642 1
    • Do You Use MPLS (SMBs)? 7.7% Yes No Planning 38.5% 53.9% Figure 1: SMB Usage of MPLS WAN Services (Source: Nemertes Research, Building the Successful Virtual Workplace) Ability to Leverage UC Unified communications, UC, represents the integration of disparate communications systems such as voice, video, instant messaging, presence and e-mail. In a UC environment, individuals can easily start a conversation using any available form of communication, while also integrating communications services with collaboration applications such as Web conferencing, or shared workspaces. Presence capabilities allow users to see the status of others before initiating a communications request, such as a phone call or IM chat request. SMBs are very interested in UC. A full 42.9% are already implementing some segments of unified communications, and another 7% have developed UC plans for this year. (Please see: Figure 2: SMB Unified Communications Deployment Plans.) ©Nemertes Research 2009 www.nemertes.com  888-241-2685 DN0642 2
    • SMB Plans for Unified Communications Using 2008 Planned Evaluating 28.6% No Plans 42.9% 21.4% 7.1% Figure 2: SMB Unified Communications Deployment Plans (Source: Nemertes Research, Building the Successful Virtual Workplace) Management Challenges VOIP is sensitive to the performance of the underlying network. If a voice packet doesn’t arrive in a short amount of time, typically 150 milliseconds or less, conversations can become garbled. Delays can occur at any point along the path from phone to phone, even on the LAN. Since many SMBs lack the internal expertise or resources to manage VOIP performance on their network, they are ill-suited for it. Most SMBs, 63%, with in- house VOIP systems, as opposed to hosted services, rely on tools that come from their VOIP vendors. These can lack sophistication for detailed troubleshooting and analysis, and may lack the ability for a detailed pre-deployment analysis of network capabilities. Others, 27%, rely upon third-party, specialty tools for management of IP telephony. These typically provide more detail about the application, network problems, and root-cause analysis. A small percentage, 5%, use third-party service providers to manage their systems, this is not the same as a hosted service, in which the provider owns and operates the equipment on its network, and about the same percentage, 4.6%, use no management at all. (Please see: Figure 3: SMB VOIP Management.) ©Nemertes Research 2009 www.nemertes.com  888-241-2685 DN0642 3
    • How Are SMBs Managing Internally Run VOIP Systems? 4.6% VOIP Vendor Tools Managed Service Provider 3rd Party Vendor No Management 27.3% 63.6% 4.6% Figure 3: SMB VOIP Management (Source: Nemertes Research, Building the Successful Virtual Workplace) Conclusion VOIP services offer significant benefits and challenges for small and midsize businesses. SMBs can leverage VOIP to reduce wide-area network service costs and improve the communication ability of workers. Those with responsibility for managing SMB IT services, however, face the challenge of delivering a reliable VOIP service, meaning that they need to address network and performance management issues before, during, and after deployment to ensure success of their VOIP initiatives. About Nemertes Research: Nemertes Research is a research-advisory firm that specializes in analyzing and quantifying the business value of emerging technologies. You can learn more about Nemertes Research at our Website, www.nemertes.com, or contact us directly at research@nemertes.com. ©Nemertes Research 2009 www.nemertes.com  888-241-2685 DN0642 4