Deloitte survey: two-thirds of global businesses will deploy Voice over Internet Protocol...


In a report launched today, Making the VoIP Switch: A decision guide for CXOs and the Board of Directors, Deloitte reveals that by 2006 over two-thirds of all Global 2,000 companies will have started deployment of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to the desktop.

VoIP to the desktop provides an end-to-end solution, and offers the greatest potential cost savings, flexibility, productivity, and process improvements for enterprise users. While 26% of survey participants have already deployed desktop VoIP, only one-third of these companies have offered it to all employees.

According to the report, the overwhelming driver for VoIP amongst respondents is cost reduction. 84% of companies surveyed regarded cost reduction as a key driver. Beyond cost saving, VoIP has the potential to transform enterprises' operations including call centres, off-shoring functions and support for telecommuting by improving network ubiquity, utilisation and efficiency. The survey finds 79% of early VoIP adopters are either 'mostly' or highly 'satisfied' with the technology to date.

'The initial performance of desktop VoIP was generally poor, with voice quality significantly inferior to that from existing analogue systems,' comment David Halstead, technology, media and telecommunications partner at Deloitte in Cambridge.

'However, the falling price of VoIP equipment, the rising quality of calls, improved functionality and the growing experience of service providers has collectively made VoIP a much more attractive option for enterprises.

'Organisations must balance the implications of VoIP on their infrastructure costs, alongside its impact on organisational efficiency and performance. It is an important new technology, which has the potential to deliver cost and efficiency benefits to companies that deploy it wisely. But the technology must be applied sensitively, since its potential to disrupt is still substantial.

'VoIP may eventually become a de facto standard communication technology that does not require a moment's thought,' added David. 'But today, it still requires careful consideration. Decision-makers need to bear in mind the telephone's standing as one of the most critical business tools.

'Both clients and employees are far less tolerant of a malfunctioning phone system than they are of IT breakdowns. VoIP requires new systems, new equipment and new skills - all of which require investment, new capabilities, and training.'

The report recommends at least four top executives' involvement to ensure that the benefits from VoIP deployment are maximized across the entire enterprise:

The CEO. A successful deployment can improve the organisation's overall competitiveness, lowering the cost base and improving productivity through enhanced VoIP functionality. Conversely, a flawed deployment can paralyze the organisation, bringing both voice and data communications to a grinding halt. The CEO must oversee the VoIP deployment such that benefits are maximized across all departments, while risks are minimized;

The CFO. Enterprise-wide VoIP deployment can significantly reduce the cost of voice communication and improve cost control, making voice usage and administration costs more predictable and easier to forecast. A strategic implementation can also improve the top line by making staff more productive. The CFO must ensure the VoIP business case is balanced to reflect the full costs and benefits;.

The COO. A well-deployed VoIP system can streamline processes in every department from sales to customer support. It can also improve efficiency across the enterprise by enabling greater integration between information systems and voice-based applications. However, most organisations cannot afford to have their voice systems fail. The COO must guarantee continuity;.

The CIO. VoIP is a major issue that can make or break a CIO's career. VoIP enables centralised deployment and management of voice services and data on a single network, dramatically improving control and efficiency, and allowing closer integration with business applications. Yet, it also increases an organisation's reliance on its data network - driving up usage and complexity, and creating more work for the IT department. The CIO must deliver a VoIP deployment that delivers a strong net benefit to the enterprise.

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In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte & Touche LLP.

Deloitte & Touche LLP is the UK's fastest growing major professional services firm based in 21 UK locations, with over 10,000 staff nationwide and fee income of 1,246 million in 2003/2004. It is a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a leading professional services organisation, delivering world class audit, tax, consulting and corporate finance services, with around 120,000 people in over 140 countries. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu is a Swiss Verein, and each of its national practices is a separate and independent legal entity.

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