In its early years, hosted VoIP was associated with small businesses of 10 users or less and often also associated with poor quality of service (QoS). Hosted VoIP has drastically advanced over the years and become a proven technology, with adoption increasing quickly and steadily. In fact, Infonetics Research predicts the number of seats for hosted business VoIP and unified communications services is on track to more than double between 2012 and 2016.
Although SMBs were the early adopters of cloud-based VoIP, it is not just for the little guys anymore. The footprint of hosted VoIP is expanding on the enterprise level as more and more enterprises are seeing its many benefits, such as lower total cost of ownership (TCO), scalability, disaster recovery / business continuity, integration with CRMs and other apps, ease-of management and mobility enablement.
Info Track, a provider of in-depth, primary research on enterprise communications, says that spending on hosted IP telephony among U.S. enterprises (defined as firms with 500 or more employees) will grow at an average rate of 27 percent through 2016, which is almost two times faster than the average increase among U.S. SMBs (firms with fewer than 500 employees).
Because many enterprise-sized organizations have multiple locations, remote workers and road warriors, it is not surprising that they are rapidly adopting hosted VoIP systems. A cloud-based phone system unites associates across all locations and enables remote workers and workers who are on the road to communicate and collaborate across the organization as effectively as if they were in the same office through extension dialing, find me / follow me features and other advanced unified communications features.
“Business VoIP services have moved well beyond early stages to mainstream, strengthened by the growing adoption of SIP trunking and cloud services worldwide. Hosted unified communications are seeing strong interest up market as mid-market and larger enterprises evaluate and move more applications to the cloud, and this is positively impacting the market.”
– Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, UC, and IMS at Infonetics Research
Cost savings remains one of the leading reasons for any size organization to go with a hosted IP phone system over a premise-based PBX, which is expensive to install and requires continual costly maintenance and upgrades. Because enterprises tend to have multiple locations, that expense is compounded. In fact, satellite locations will often have separate PBX systems, which means not just added expense, but added complication dealing with multiple vendors and disperse billing. With a hosted solution, there are minimal upfront costs and upgrades and maintenance are provided automatically behind the scenes by the service provider at no additional cost. With a hosted VoIP solution, organizations can easily scale up and down and only pay for the users they have when adding staff or opening a new location.