VoIP Set to Transform British Business

VoIP and IP telephony is now having a significant impact on the way organisations run their businesses as revealed by a new survey released today. 80% of responding companies believe that the emerging industry of VoIP and IP telephony communications will help transform their working practices within the next two years.

More than 265 UK companies were questioned about their VoIP and IP telephony experiences and plans between December 2006 and February 2007, as part of a survey undertaken by Business Intelligence, in association with mybusiness.net.

The highlights of the survey include:

The top five drivers for adopting VoIP and IP Telephony are:
– Communication cost reduction – 53%
– Improved customer service – 41%
– Flexible/location independent working – 41%
– Improved cross-company communication – 40%
– Teleworking – 39%. It is of note that teleworking was rated as a ‘very important’ business driver by twice as many companies with a turnover less than £1m (54%), compared to companies with a turnover of more than £100milllion (22%).

For more than two thirds of respondents, getting people to change their working practices topped the list of implementation issues. Large companies are finding this harder than smaller organisations – 30% of companies with a turnover of more than £100m rated this as ‘very challenging’, compared with 21% of those with a turnover of £1m. It appears smaller companies are finding it easier to implement the necessary workplace changes to maximize the advantages of VoIP and IP Telephony.

The number one technical issue was ensuring quality of service. This was rated as ‘very challenging’ by 31% of the respondents. Managing interoperability between manufacturers’ products and other business systems was ranked second, while security emerged as the third most common technical challenge.

In 2007, 44% of companies plan to spend more on VoIP and IP telephony, while 25% expect expenditure to remain the same.

While companies track business benefits, 80% do not calculate the return on investment, ROI, from their expenditure. The minority that calculate the return they make includes a number (4%) that claim to have seen an ROI of more than 100%. More than half (61%) make the business case for investing in VoIP and IP telephony on the basis of a combination of cost savings and business benefits. But a minority made the case on cost savings alone (8%) or business benefits alone (9%).

Business Intelligence, Managing Director, David Harvey said: “The survey results have shown that for every company that succeeds in reaching its targets for cutting communications costs or workplace transformation, there is another struggling to achieve positive results. On average, almost 60% of companies succeeded in meeting between half and all of their targeted benefits. Some companies were significantly better at harvesting the benefits to their business, usually where there is a dedicated in-house focus on managing VoIP and IP telephony. There’s a clear difference between those who think this technology is just a replacement phone system and those who are maximising all its uses.”

“There’s also a paradox here. Most organisations have put cost savings at the top of their list of drivers – yet only a quarter calculate the ROI on their expenditure. Those organisations which have looked at ROI seem to have performed well because they have put their VoIP and IP telephony plans into their business plans, rather than just buying the technology.”