A Move to IP Communications Can Cut Enterprise Costs by 43%

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 adopt cloud technology, with staff and headcount issues often delaying migration to a unified communications system (UCS) infrastructure.

"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 approach.
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 results.
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.
Written by Kevin Kutcher at 13:00

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