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February 23, 2010

Business Phone Systems Feature: Shorter and Shorter ROIs Challenge VoIP Vendors

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor


Low service fees and cheap international calling are just two of the factors that have people giving VoIP a second look – especially in this economy.

For CIOs and CFOs, however, yeah the cents-per-minute analysis is nice, but it’s not the whole story. They're looking for VoIP service providers based on how quickly a technology investment can pay for itself.

As Michael Khalilian (News - Alert) has written on TMCnet recently, ' From 20,000 feet view it is self-evident that VoIP technology brings an abundance of savings and opportunities to both greenfield as well as existing networks. So why, when it gets to volume deployment, has VoIP not cornered the voice market yet?'

Columnist Doug Mohney also reported in a recent article published on VendorSeek.com that 'the buzz about the latest VoIP services and products was drowned out by a consistent concern from purchasing representatives: pushing the break-even data on new technology spending from the industry standard eighteen months to an unprecedented six months.'

Buyers nowadays, Mohney said, 'constrain their purchases to projects that can demonstrate significant returns within the same fiscal year.'

If you're a vendor you know a six-month cycle of contract to results is a heck of a challenge. One change it's had, the VendorSeek.com article notes, is that it's 'led many managers to rethink their technology needs in a more modular fashion.'

What that means is that a VoIP system installation, say, often required overhauling desk equipment as well as servers and data lines. But today, 'interoperable equipment allows managers to complete smaller chunks of a long term project when prices become affordable and when business downtime can be minimized.'

The fact that buyers are looking at a condensed ROI cycle also requires a different way at looking for measurable results from VoIP system installations and upgrades.

'Although intangible results like call quality and special features can help teams feel more productive,' VendorSeek says, 'smart CIOs justify their decisions by quantifying the cost savings and the productivity gains achieved through targeted purchases.'

This means measuring the salary impact of employees attempts to reconnect dropped calls, surveying customers to discover whether new sales were lost or gained thanks to clearer telephone connections and comparing the cost of a telepresence suite running over VoIP services to a typical executive road trip, among other techniques.
 

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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