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Small Businesses Slow To Adopt VoIP: Survey

Although they are ready to move to voice over IP (VoIP), U.S. small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are slow to make the jump, according to a new report from Savatar Research.

The main obstacle to SMB VoIP adoption, the firm says, is the current inability of VoIP vendors and providers to fine-tune their pitches for the lower end of the market. According to Savatar, telecommunications and network providers and equipment vendors have failed to differentiate their offerings, and to develop compelling strategies to attract SMB users.

With that in mind, Savatar expects providers to enlist channel partners more experienced with the consultative selling process necessary in the SMB space. A substantial part of that process will be education. Savatar notes that, while SMBs know that VoIP exists, they lack familiarity with its potential advantages and delivery models. The firm reports that more than 50% of SMBs surveyed had little knowledge of the various possible internal and external delivery options.

Nevertheless, Savatar says that the SMB market has great potential, and it expects price and service pressures to create a commodity spiral in the next 18 months, allowing companies to refocus their pitches along total cost of ownership (TCO) models. Moreover, there is also great potential for companies to sweeten their offerings with a range of related services, including Web and collaboration tools.

Savatar will present the full report at the Fall VON 2005 Conference in Boston next week.