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SMBs Should Consider Saas for Unified Communications: Panel

SMBs that have shied away from unified communications due to budgetary restraints or just plain fear of implementing a new technology can reap its benefits via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach, according to a panel of UC experts during a Web broadcast.Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, NEC and a slew of other vendors have been heavily promoting their UC solutions, which promise to boost productivity and speed business processes as work environments become more complex. SMBs have grown more comfortable with using such tools as instant messaging, social networking and mobility applications, and are now more receptive to building out their virtual workforces, according to the panel's participants. Taking the SaaS route will enable a faster and more efficient deployment path, they said, while bypassing integration snags.

The panel advised SMBs to "stick to an agnostic platform" in terms of technology. The best approach, according to one panelist, is to choose an open-standards platform that allows emerging technologies from different tool makers.

According to a report from AMI, the number of SMBs adopting SaaS solutions has grown at twice the rate over 2004, driven by the need for IT solutions that are easy to use, implement and maintain with limited resources.InternetNews