The Vertical Professional Services Market Rates Importance of IP Telephony Features, Management and Applications

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1 White Paper The Vertical Professional Services Market Rates Importance of IP Telephony Features, Management and Applications Research conducted by: April 2007 Sponsored by:

2 Contents Overview Profile of respondents Executive summary IP telephony implementation vertical professional services vs. all industries IP telephony implementation comparing vertical professional services Phone system challenges vertical professional services vs. all industries Phone system challenges comparing vertical professional services Important telephone capabilities vertical professional services vs. all industries Important telephone capabilities comparing vertical professional services Important management functions vertical professional services vs. all industries Important management functions comparing vertical professional services Additional telephone system capabilities vertical professional services vs. all industries Additional telephone system capabilities comparing vertical professional services Conclusion Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 2 of 15

3 The Vertical Professional Services Market Rates Importance of IP Telephony Features, Management and Applications Overview In February 2007, Computerworld invited IT influencers in the vertical professional services sector to participate in a survey on IP telephony. A pop-up appeared on Computerworld.com inviting visitors to take the survey. The goal of the survey was to better understand the challenges of IP telephony within the vertical professional services market. The survey was commissioned by ShoreTel, but data was gathered and tabulated independently by Computerworld Research. The following report represents top-line results of that survey and is meant to serve as a brief benchmarking tool for IT managers in the vertical professional services market seeking information about how their peers are managing their telecommunications systems. Profile of respondents Total respondents: 320 The survey was conducted among IT influencers in the vertical professional services market. The 25 real estate/brokerage respondent base was too low to report that group s results separately. For this report, we are comparing results between the architecture/engineering and consulting/accounting/legal segments only. The following is a breakout of respondents by sector. 54% Consulting/ accounting/ legal 38% Architecture/ engineering 8% Real estate/brokerage For the purpose of analysis, this report will at times compare responses to this survey with those to this same questionnaire when it was given by Computerworld Research to 388 IP telephony influencers across all industries in March Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 3 of 15

4 Executive summary Vertical professional services organizations (28%) are slightly more likely than the average organization to have already deployed IP telephony (24%). Over one-third (34%) of vertical professional services organizations either have IP telephony implemented or are in the process of implementing it now, compared with 36% among all industries. Within the vertical professional services market, architecture/engineering and consulting/accounting/legal showed only a slight difference in deployment levels. In fact, just under one-third of the influencers in each group indicated that their organizations have already deployed IP telephony or are now implementing IP telephony. Since March 2005, there has been an increase in every phone system challenge, according to influencers in the vertical professional services market. The biggest perceived challenge is inconsistent/incompatible systems, with nearly half of respondents indicating this as a challenge. Respondents to both this study and to the study across all industries in 2005 showed system reliability to be far and away the most important capability, while advanced features and applications were least likely to be considered important. However, respondents from the vertical professional services market do feel slightly more strongly than their counterparts outside of vertical professional services about the importance of ease of use, ease of management and advanced features/- applications. In terms of management functions, respondents in the vertical professional services market appear to feel more strongly than the overall industry base about the importance of a single interface to manage phone systems, the ability to use a Web browser to manage the system from anywhere and the ability to view the status of all sites from one screen. Vertical professional services respondents, like those across all industries, see mobility and conferencing as the two most important additional applications they need for their phone systems. However, respondents in the architecture/engineering market are significantly more likely to consider automatic call distribution (ACD)/contact center as important. Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 4 of 15

5 IP telephony implementation vertical professional services vs. all industries When comparing responses from influencers in the vertical professional services market to those across all industries from the March 2005 survey, we see a slight difference in implementation levels. Vertical professional services organizations are just slightly more likely to have already deployed IP telephony than organizations on the whole. Some of this may be attributed to the time span in between surveys, but either way it seems to support the idea that vertical professional services organizations may be more reliant on IP telephony than standard companies. Already deployed 24% 28% Implementing now 6% 12% Testing/evaluating 15% 18% Gathering data 23% 31% No current project 17% 26% 0 10% 20% 30% 40% Vertical professional services, February 2007 Overall, March 2005 Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 5 of 15

6 IP telephony implementation comparing vertical professional services Based on responses to this survey, the architecture/engineering and consulting/accounting/legal markets appear to have similar deployment levels. In fact, just under one-third of the influencers in each group indicated that their organizations have already deployed IP telephony or are now implementing IP telephony. Already deployed 25% 28% Implementing now 3% 7% Testing/evaluating 16% 22% Gathering data 18% 29% No current project 24% 28% 0 10% 20% 30% 40% Architecture/engineering Consulting/accounting/legal Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 6 of 15

7 Phone system challenges vertical professional services vs. all industries When comparing what influencers in vertical professional services consider their biggest challenges against the responses of influencers across all industries, we see that all of these industries are now more concerned about long-distance costs. Compared with the March 2005 study, there has been an increase in every phone system challenge among influencers in the vertical professional services markets, showing companies need to find a vendor that understands these challenges. The biggest challenge perceived is inconsistent/incompatible systems, with nearly half of respondents indicating this as a challenge. Costs for moves/ adds/changes 40% 44% Management time/ complexity 33% 47% Inconsistent/ incompatible systems 44% 49% End-user complaints/ difficulties 32% 39% Long-distance costs 27% 38% 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Vertical professional services, February 2007 Overall, March 2005 Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 7 of 15

8 Phone system challenges comparing vertical professional services When comparing architecture/engineering and consulting/accounting/legal, phone system challenges appear fairly consistent overall. These markets share the same biggest challenge of inconsistent/incompatible systems. Where they differ is in regard to the smallest challenge faced: For architecture/engineering, the least threatening challenge is end-user complaints/difficulties, whereas with consulting/accounting/legal, the least threatening is long distance costs. Costs for moves/ adds/changes 43% 42% Management time/ complexity 43% 50% Inconsistent/ incompatible systems 48% 54% End-user complaints/ difficulties 38% 37% Long-distance costs 33% 42% 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Architecture/engineering Consulting/accounting/legal Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 8 of 15

9 Important telephone capabilities vertical professional services vs. all industries When looking at what IP telephony managers in vertical professional services or in any industry consider the most important issue related to their phone systems, it can be summed up as follows: reliability, reliability, reliability. Respondents to both this study and to the study across all industries in 2005 identified system reliability as far and away the most important issue, while advanced features and applications were least likely to be considered important. However, respondents from the vertical professional services market do feel slightly more strongly than their counterparts outside of vertical professional services about the importance of ease of use, ease of management and advanced features/applications. System reliability 87% 89% Ease of use (end user) System scalability 72% 74% 69% 66% Ease of management 68% 64% Advanced features/ applications 44% 57% 0 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Vertical professional services, February 2007 Overall, March 2005 Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 9 of 15

10 Important telephone capabilities comparing vertical professional services While respondents in both architecture/engineering as well as consulting/accounting/legal appear to place a similar amount of importance on the various capabilities measured, those in architecture/engineering are more likely than their counterparts in consulting/accounting/legal to place importance on system scalability and advanced features/applications. System reliability 87% 89% Ease of use (end user) 75% 76% System scalability Ease of management Advanced features/ applications 61% 55% 67% 66% 54% 44% 0 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Architecture/engineering Consulting/accounting/legal Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 10 of 15

11 Important management functions vertical professional services vs. all industries In terms of management functions that are important, we see that vertical professional services place a slightly higher level of importance than all industries combined on the ability to use a Web browser to manage a system remotely, the ability to use a single interface to manage a phone system and the ability to view the status of all sites from one screen. Regarding the ability to create new users quickly and the simplification of moves/adds/ changes, results are consistent among the vertical professional services market and across all industries. Create new users quickly Simplify moves/ adds/changes Single interface to manage phone system View status of all sites from one screen 61% 62% 68% 68% 71% 66% 55% 51% Use of a Web browser to manage the system from anywhere 49% 58% 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Vertical professional services, February 2007 Overall, March 2005 Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 11 of 15

12 Important management functions comparing vertical professional services In the same way that architecture/engineering respondents seemed a little more adamant than consulting/ accounting/legal respondents about system scalability and advanced features/applications as important issues, they also feel more strongly about the management function of simplifying moves/adds/changes. Consulting/ accounting/legal respondents see having a single interface for managing their systems as most important. Create new users quickly Simplify moves/ adds/changes Single interface to manage phone system View status of all sites from one screen Use of a Web browser to manage the system from anywhere 59% 61% 71% 66% 69% 71% 56% 53% 60% 56% 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Architecture/engineering Consulting/accounting/legal Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 12 of 15

13 Additional telephone system capabilities vertical professional services vs. all industries Vertical professional services respondents, like those across all industries, see mobility and conferencing as the two most important additional applications they need for their phone systems. However, mobility is the most important to the vertical professional services market as opposed to conferencing, which was rated most important among all industries. Those in the vertical professional services sector are less likely than respondents in all industries combined to rate ACD/contact center as an important application. In fact, this capability was rated the lowest in importance by those respondents in vertical professional services. Conferencing Mobility 69% 74% 73% 67% ACD/contact center 46% 58% Desktop integration with your PC 54% 57% 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Vertical professional services, February 2007 Overall, March 2005 Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 13 of 15

14 Additional telephone system capabilities comparing vertical professional services When comparing which additional capabilities the different vertical professional services industries favor, we see that mobility is nearly equally important across all industries. However, respondents in the architecture/engineering market are significantly more likely to consider ACD/contact center important. Conferencing Mobility 71% 68% 74% 73% ACD/contact center 39% 52% Desktop integration with your PC 50% 54% 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Architecture/engineering Consulting/accounting/legal Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 14 of 15

15 Conclusion It s clear from this survey that vertical professional services organizations core needs for their phone systems are similar to those of companies outside the vertical professional services sector. All organizations are looking for systems that are reliable and have mobility and conferencing capabilities, and for a single interface to manage phone systems. Vertical professional services organizations also share with other organizations the desire to overcome some of the major challenges of phone systems, such as inconsistent/incompatible systems. There are some issues related to phone systems that are specific to the vertical professional services sector, however. First of all, influencers in vertical professional services see long-distance costs as more of a challenge than do those outside of vertical professional services. Vertical professional services organizations, particularly those in architecture/engineering, are also more in need of advanced features and applications, such as the ability to manage the phone system from anywhere using a Web browser. So, what does all this mean for influencers in the vertical professional services sector who are contemplating what to do regarding their companies phone systems? Basically, if you re an influencer in this industry, you can use responses from this survey as a sort of a benchmark for how your peers are addressing these issues. If you don t have an IP telephony system implemented and have no project in progress to make this happen, you are in the minority (26%). If you are planning to implement IP telephony, it s important that the provider you seek understands the challenges of phone systems identified by respondents in this survey. Make sure the systems are reliable and address issues such as long-distance costs. Most of all, make sure the provider has experience specifically serving the vertical professional services sector, because the needs within this field are unique. Research conducted by: Sponsored by: April 2007 Page 15 of 15

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