Large up-front capital costs continue to be a barrier for
businesess and others looking to shift from legacy PBX to IP-based
communications systems. But as Siemens Enterprise Communications
points out in recent market research, the move to IP can save
enterprises 43% over legacy telecom systems.
In conducting its "State of
Enterprise Communications 2012 Study," Siemens also found that
an increasingly mobile workforce is forcing more enterprises to
technology, with staff and headcount issues often delaying
migration to a unified communications system (UCS)
"The findings of this study echo what our customers have been
telling us: that IP-based unified communications not only
simplifies productivity for end users, but it also saves companies
money," said Chris Hummel, president of Siemens Enterprise
Communications North America and CMO.
"Enterprise communications is in transition - from PBX to IP and
from premise to cloud. Siemens Enterprise Communications is
dedicated to providing our customers with flexible, open,
enterprise communications solutions that adapt to their business
needs, helping mitigate IT complexity, support a mobile workforce
and facilitate this shift."
Adopting a hybrid environment helps mitigate the risks and problems
associated with migrating from legacy PBX to an all-IP, UCS telecoms
infrastructure, according to Siemens' survey. Running IP and
PBX communications systems side-by-side is the most common approach
being taken, with 91% of respondents reporting they adopted this
A workforce that's increasingly mobile is adding impetus to the
shift to all-IP and cloud-based infrastructure. Most enterprises
reported just 20% of endpoints are dedicated to phones at corporate
HQ locations. The greatest number of endpoints were dedicated to
remote/branch phones (39%), followed by mobile phones (33%).
Moreover, 1-in-3 call center operators now work from home,
according to the survey.
Only 16% of enterprises responding to the survey currently had cloud services in place, however.
Forty-five percent reported that cloud systems implementation was
part of their 2012 communications plan, with respondents favoring
private cloud to public cloud deployments by a 3:1 ratio. Web
collaboration, UC and video conferencing were the top 3 cloud
application services, with 90% of respondents' reported
implementing them. More than half enterprise respondents' are
already using these cloud services, according to survey
Siemens Enterprise Communications' survey report also lists
five recommendations for enterprises making the shift to an all-IP
communications and cloud services infrastructure:
- Embrace IP-based enterprise communications. Look for a native
SIP-based software architecture and platform that centrally enables
and manages conferencing, collaboration and messaging across voice,
video, text and social media. This approach is more likely to
provide a harmonized user experience, reduced complexity and lower
cost of ownership compared to stitching together point solutions or
'bolting-on' capabilities to legacy architectures.
- Consider the cloud to help lessen staffing issues and
complexity. Cloud solutions have proven to provide rapid and
flexible access to new technologies and capabilities, with fewer
burdens on IT, management overhead and CAPEX budgets. Although
premise-based communications solutions still dominate, we expect to
see a greater proportion of enterprises deploying 'hybrid'
solutions that overlay existing systems with complementary new
cloud-based capabilities. Look for a supplier that can provide
complete objectivity to recommend and provide premise, private,
hybrid or public cloud solutions.
- Consider a centralized session management server to help
mitigate the cost of running a combined PBX and IP infrastructure.
Maintaining a mixture of old and new technology may have a role in
transition plans, protecting existing investments or integrating
organizations, however managing them in-house can burden IT staff
and create complexity. A centralized session management server
which can unify network management, provide least cost wide-area IP
routing and common dialing plans in centralized applications can
help mitigate this cost, as can managed services - use pooled
resources and skill sets to lower overall TCO.
- Consider managed services to help mitigate staffing issues. Managed services and pay-as-you-go
cloud services are valid options to address the ever-changing and
expanding range of staffing and skills resource demands on your IT
and communications departments. Many customers find that the
economies of having a provider manage and/or host their environment
for them not only saves on operating costs and lessens recruiting
and training demands, but also allows the organization to spend
more time and resources on their core business.
- Address mobility needs with flexibility and a full feature set
in mind. The distributed and virtualized enterprise is now a
dominant organization model. However, there are significant TCO
savings and functional advantages in centralizing UC from either
private or public cloud, or from a server-based data center
deployment - not to mention uniform provisioning of security,
reliability, conferencing and collaboration provisioning. Further,
this finding underscores the need for rich and flexible mobility
solutions for a range of voice, messaging, conferencing and
collaboration that are 'open' and can run on all the major mobile
smart phone and tablets.