Many US small and medium-sized businesses that have deployed VoIP have found the technology meets or exceeds their expectations, but not for the reasons VoIP vendors have been touting, according to a new study.
Vendors pitching to the US SMB market need to improve their sales pitches and deliver the right message, said John Macario, president of telecom management consulting firm Savatar, which authored the study.
The small and medium business VoIP market is starting to heat up, yet it is still up for grabs. SMB decision makers still don’t know which providers to turn to for services, Macario said, in a statement.
Boston, Massachusetts-based Savatar surveyed 560 SMB decision makers and did an analysis of the product and pricing strategies of major VoIP providers for its study, which it will present at the VON conference in San Jose, California this week.
VoIP product and service vendors are closing the total cost of ownership gat between IP hosted versus IP PBX offerings by providing new leasing options, the survey showed. But there’s still plenty of work to be done to win in the SMB VoIP market, Macario said.
VoIP vendors continue to promote IP features, but SMBs surveyed by Savatar ranked system management capabilities at the top of their list when asked how well their system performed.
For SMBs considering VoIP, they want lower total cost of ownership and better system management. But vendors are delivering confusing messages about feature sets that SMBs don’t understand, Savatar said.
Seventy-one percent of the 84 SMBs surveyed that had deployed VoIP said their system met their expectations, while 22% said their system exceeded their initial expectations. Their assessment included system and routing performance, capacity, multi-location management capabilities and cost.
But the 476 companies surveyed that have not deployed VoIP said they did not have a strong imperative to do so. Fifty-five percent of companies expected the cost of VoIP to be about the same or worse, while 56% said the same about features. These numbers jump dramatically for system management (74%) and migration (77%) issues.
No single category of VoIP vendor has gained a foothold in capturing the SMB market, the study showed. SMBs are unclear where to turn for the best VoIP options and the market is still wide open for providers who want to seize their share of this growing segment, Savatar said.
SMBs with VoIP are mostly, or 39%, buying from equipment vendors, while 20% are buying from VARs. Just 14% of respondents said they were buying VoIP from traditional telcos.