Much of the development effort in enterprise voice communication technologies has traditionally been focused on helping large enterprises, which can have over 50,000 end-users, become more efficient. The real question is whether or not smaller enterprises can also benefit from these advancements? In fact we are actually seeing it happen right now, however, it's not without some challenges and complexity.
As it stands, there are two main barriers that prevent smaller enterprises from adopting this technology: cost and complexity. Small enterprises tend not to have IT departments that are skilled at deploying, maintaining and operating these systems. Aside from the initial investment, there's also an ongoing maintenance cost. Both of these barriers are gradually being removed as time goes on—costs are coming down and maintaining these solutions is becoming easier.
I was fortunate enough to attend the recent International Avaya Users Group (IAUG) in Denver, Colorado. They spoke about focussing on taking their core technology and capabilities to target the mid market. This rapidly growing area has typically been under-served when it comes to enterprise communication capabilities. Rich features that had primarily been reserved for larger corporations are now being delivered to small and medium businesses.
Aside from filling the gap in a previously under-served market, Avaya is also following a growing trend by venturing in to the mid-market space with their IP Office suite. This platform allows smaller enterprises to better interact with their customers by addressing the goal of efficient internal interaction, while actually engaging with the customer base through communication and collaboration technologies. Avaya has since doubled down on their investment, believing they can make a big push into the mid-market space, grabbing additional market share at the same time.
There are notable advancements in IP Office version 9.1, released December 22, 2014. Our R&D team at IR worked with Avaya on co-development projects, allowing us to introduce enterprise-class management capabilities to the platform. This provides the ability to view and troubleshoot IP Office in real time as calls are taking place. That level of functionality starts to bridge the gap, making enterprise-class communications systems functionality available to the small to medium enterprise. They now have the visibility to perform troubleshooting without requiring specialists on staff, making complex systems more manageable.
The cloud is another IP Office feature coming later this year from Avaya. Instead of an on-premise device that's managed remotely, you'll now have a device that's handled via the cloud and delivered as a service. It's a fundamental shift we'll continue to see ramp up in the near future. Of course, the cloud still relies on the last mile of connectivity so while the last mile continues to improve, this may still present quality of service issues (QoS). As with most cloud solutions, it may begin relatively slowly, but it will quickly gain momentum.
Smaller enterprises will have to get over the hurdle of being confident to manage these features in-house. There are many available options: they can leverage these advanced features themselves, they can work with a business partner to help manage it for them, or they can use a service provider-based approach, where the only thing provided is a dial tone. It's really a matter of making an informed decision on how to best manage resources.
As a result the business partners they choose to work with will be instrumental to the success of any new deployment. Avaya has a business partner model, with value added resellers focused on the mid-market space, such as Sunturn, who were recently acquired by NACR, one of Avaya's largest resellers.
Where can smaller enterprises look for guidance to make these decisions? Well, the service provider network is really stepping-up to the plate. No longer are they just selling hardware, value-added service providers are also becoming a trusted adviser, so when business managers ask about taking advantage of the latest technology or communication capability, they're able to help them every step of the way.
If your business is seeking to take advantage of Prognosis' performance management capabilities made available with the release of IP Office 9.1 then reach out to us today.