Thursday, November 12, 2009

More challenges ahead of fixed-mobile convergence

UK: Ovum’s research shows that there is currently little integration between the services available for the different users’ profiles. Most companies struggle with separate fixed and mobile devices, independent infrastructures and separate voice-mail systems.

However, these companies want more integration of their mobility services to support the growing mobile workforce with better productivity, simplified management and save cost through an integrated approach.

Enterprises will choose either integrate all the parts of this puzzle themselves or outsource the challenge by picking a one-stop shop. However, even the latter option requires that many decisions be made. Furthermore, there is a wide range of suppliers approaching enterprises with their offerings.

Enterprises can turn to a traditional systems integrator (SI), a vendor, a network service provider or pick the best-of-breed offering and integrate the services themselves — or even a combination of these.

For most enterprises, the migration from legacy telephony technology to an integrated collaboration environment will normally occur in several steps. A multi-vendor environment will initially be the norm, and system integration is a key part of this transition.

Cost is a key decision factor in any enterprise communication project. Enterprises with a significant long-term investment in communication systems will rely as much as possible on their existing infrastructure. Reutilizing existing components might result in lower entry costs and less deployment complexity. Furthermore, users will be more familiar with some of the functionalities, requiring less effort in education and business customization.

We expect that larger enterprises with recent investments in communication systems will use their existing premise solutions as a basis to integrate their fixed and mobile services. Established relations with SIs and UC vendors are likely to be the starting point.

We believe that enterprises will also start to evaluate their suppliers’ approach to cloud capabilities. Telcos are developing next-generation networks (NGNs) that will support integrated services.

The advantage for enterprises is that the hosted approach can avoid up-front capital investment and brings the flexibility they need to respond quickly to market pressures. This allows them to pay as they grow or reduce their operations when business gets tough.

However, most of the offerings are still in the early days and larger enterprises might think it’s too risky to have their communications locked in with a single provider and will prefer to retain management and control a little longer.

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