Cost Remains a Barrier to Convergence

Affiniti, the communications integrator created from the coming together of Kingston Communications Business Services, Omnetica and Technica, has announced their ‘Convergence Barometer 2005’, its regular research into the IP convergence market in the UK.
This year’s findings show a significant increase (11 per cent) in understanding of IP convergence with the average UK company having either fully or partly implemented 4.2 out of the eight key elements of convergence – up from 3.6 in April 2004.

The Convergence Barometer takes its reading based on 8 industry recognised convergence elements and the number each company has implemented or planned to implement. These are:

• IP Voice trunking
• IP Telephony
• Personal productivity
• Contact Centres
• Conferencing over IP
• Storage on IP
• Mobilising the workforce
• Integration/networking and middleware

Perhaps most significantly, in the past 18 months IP convergence has become more important as a solution to companies’ critical business issues. The “business continuity plan”, “lowering costs of equipment and maintenance” and “existing equipment reaching the end of its life” were all cited as more important drivers for convergence than they were a year ago.

Mobilising the workforce remained the number one reason for IP convergence, with three quarters of all companies surveyed having implemented this solution. However, the biggest convergence impact in the last 18 months has been in contact centres and Voice Over IP with increases of 22 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

Whilst 96 per cent have implemented a converged solution, at 61 per cent, cost remains the number one concern about implementing convergence.

Alex Black, Strategy Director at Affiniti said: “This high percentage of IT decision makers considering IP convergence too expensive shows they clearly do not understand the benefits it can deliver to their business. The 2005 research findings show the industry has not done enough since the last survey to educate companies on the benefits of IP convergence. The long-term benefits far outweigh the initial cost of implementing a converged solution.”

Paul Rowe, Enterprise Convergence Solutions, Nortel EMEA, said: “These findings are borne out by our own experience as we see more and more of our customers realising the benefits of convergence – for example, in the UK over the past year Nortel sold more IP phones than traditional – and we believe this trend will continue to grow. In our opinion, the key to widespread adoption of convergence is for customers to recognise the real benefits that converged applications can deliver in terms of improved productivity and customer service, cost savings and business continuity.”