Commenting on the 25-50 user PBX market, Andrew Fullman, Datasharp Group Support & Training Manager says the question of the current economic climate having affected the small business sector is really left with no doubt whatsoever.
“It seems apparent that many small businesses are making use of their current phone system, adopting the approach “if it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it”. That being said, there are still those businesses that are looking for a way of expanding their companies and investing in the latest technologies to accommodate this. But even so, the economic climate is such that we are all after a good deal and will not invest in something that has the same features as another product equivalent at a higher price.
Of course we all know that the larger companies are also being affected by the global credit crisis, with this in mind the product being purchased can take two approaches. For a small business, the solution bought will need to be future proof, it will need to expand as the business grows and be cheap enough to initially encourage initial investment. Does it need to be all singing and dancing? No, because gone are the days that we are trying to impress people with some fancy Auto Attendant or IVR asking the caller to select from a series of unnecessary choices.
Now we want that personal touch, talking to a person who can route the call effectively. That being said, there are still those individuals that want to increase efficiency, and so Unified communication to the extent of at least TAPI functionality and voicemail to e-mail integration may be a requirement for some, but not if is going to increase the cost of the system exponentially.
So the general requirement is simplicity, something that can be upgraded to provide more functionality in the future, and of course allow for IP telephony as the business grows. There is a strong likelihood that an IP system at this stage would be too expensive in comparison to a traditional TDM system. Because let’s be honest, the existing network infrastructure of many small companies would also need to be improved in order to carry the voice traffic over the LAN.”