Back in March, I wrote about enterprises moving their VoIP communication systems to the cloud and why it is more complex than simply putting a credit card number on a website. In that post, I referred to what Don Sadler from Software Advice wrote about 3 Ways to Keep Your VoIP Service From Going Down With the Internet.
The guys from Software Advice were kind enough to send me the results of their latest survey – Small Business Buyer View 2014 and I thought it would be worthwhile sharing the results with our readers.
Survey Key Takeaways
There are several findings in the survey I find interesting. Let’s go over them one by one.
More than half of prospective buyers were investing in business VoIP service for the first time.
Most of us, techy, VoIP savvy people, tend to believe VoIP is common in most businesses. I mean technology is around for over a decade now. How much time do those SMBs need to get going? For many of us, VoIP as we know it is old school; we are looking today at more advanced variations of VoIP like WebRTC that bring VoIP to the browser.
The reality is that most SMBs are not connected to VoIP services. Itzik Feiglevitch from AudioCodes presents more information about this in a diagram based on an analysis he has done.
The answers received in the survey fall nicely within the general point of this diagram – there is still a large market of SMBs out there that haven’t yet made the shift to VoIP.
Buyers were primarily concerned with reliability and scalability when evaluating new phone systems
Scalability is one of the advantages of going cloud but moving VoIP communication to the cloud doesn’t really increase reliability. There is the reliability of the servers themselves that typically improves because a VoIP communications cloud provider would normally have a stronger team of IT expertise that make sure the service is always on. However, having all the traffic go up to the cloud and back and the dependency on the link to be always on remains a challenge.
As explained before in my post All You Need is Cloud, the on-premise SBC would help mitigating this challenge by providing resiliency, optimized call routing, call cost optimization and QoE.
No buyers were interested in an on-premise IP-PBX, while a vast majority wanted a hosted solution
This is a clear trend we see across all businesses of different sizes and for different services – shift to SW solutions and cloud services. Having said that, concerns raised in the previous point must be addressed.
77% of SMBs are looking for services in the browser
Another interesting point that was not part of the “key Findings” presented at the top of the survey but did draw my attention, is the requirement for Web based solutions.
Many SMBs are probably not even aware yet of WebRTC but they are experiencing more and more services that are provided in their browser. Seeing that 77% actually preferred VoIP in their browser is an interesting indication for the potential of WebRTC in the UC for SMB space.
Auto Attendant Tops the List of Desired Applications
The survey was seeking to learn the most important features buyers have on their decision checklist. The diagram below shows that Auto Attendant is well positioned on this list.
Auto attendant is the way to navigate through a company’s directory instead of speaking with a real person who would transfer the call.
What if you could just say the name of that person, or what if employees could dial to anyone on their contact list, company list of suppliers and customers by just saying their name?
Based on AudioCodes advanced voice recognition technology, we provide this service today in the cloud, connecting to any PBX or hosted VoIP system.
Why is this survey important?
Understanding the criteria based on which SMBs make their buying choices is important. It reassures us about the “move to the cloud” trend but also clarifies the need to continue and provide reliability in the process.