Over 40% of UK organisations with a converged network are more satisfied with their managed services partners than they were prior to their investment in the technology, according to a new report by BT.
The BT Convergence Services Report finds that cost effectiveness is the prime driver of the improved satisfaction levels, followed by superior network performance and reliability. Only 6% of organisations are less satisfied with their services partners since adopting convergence.
The BT Convergence Services Report examines the experiences of UK medium and large-sized organisations from the finance, manufacturing and construction, government and retail industries in employing third-party service partners to support their converged networks. A converged network supports both voice and data communications, which previously required separate infrastructures.
Cost effectiveness is the prime driver of the improved satisfaction levels, with 70% of respondents highlighting this as the main reason for improvement. Break-fix maintenance - often sold as long-term assurance contracts - and managed Wide Area Networks (WANs) are the services most commonly sourced from third party providers.
Jim Norton, senior policy advisor for the Institute of Directors and a key contributor to The BT Convergences Services Report, said: "Organisations can benefit from embarking on IP convergence by taking advantage of this unique opportunity to update the way they manage their infrastructure. As convergence is such a defined change, it allows them to draw a line under all of their old processes, configurations and work-styles and approach them in a more efficient and effective way."
The BT Convergence Service Report finds that just over one-quarter of all organisations that have invested in convergence now completely outsource management of their network to a third-party supplier and 36 per cent have become more inclined to use managed services since investing in convergence. Nearly half believe outsourcing services frees-up internal resources, allowing them to concentrate on core business activities.
Expertise in voice technology was a prime consideration of the companies surveyed in choosing services partners to support their networks, with 83% of respondents continuing with their previous voice networks services supplier, against 61% continuing with their former data network support supplier.
Tom Craig, President, UK Corporates, BT Global Services says: "As the number of essential business processes that run on converged networks increases, the strategy concerning how an organisation supports its infrastructure becomes increasingly important. The BT Convergence Services Report gives organisations a valuable insight into the real-world benefits that convergence can deliver while emphasising how important credible services partners are to realising business goals."
About the BT Convergence Services Report
The BT Convergence Services Report is based on research undertaken by market research company Coleman-Parkes Research. The research polled telephone, telecommunications, IT and network managers and directors from a sample of 250 UK medium and large-sized public and private sector organisations that had already embarked on some kind of voice and data convergence, who were asked about their experiences and attitudes towards employing external service and support partners.
Other key findings include:
1. The organisations surveyed for this report have all started to adopt some kind of voice and data convergence. 64 per cent have begun using simple voice over IP (VoIP) systems, with 43 per cent sending voice over their local area network (LAN) and 36 per cent sending voice over their wide area network (WAN). Only 13 per cent of respondents have adopted a fully converged voice and data network.
2. Looking at different network elements, break-fix maintenance and managed Wide Area Networks (WANs) tend to be the services most commonly sourced from a partner, 50 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. A smaller number of organisations retain a services partner to provide hosted IP telephony (37 per cent), while 25 per cent outsource the management of their Local Area Network (LAN). 26 per cent rely on an external supplier to provide services to assure business continuity.
3. 53 per cent of respondents indicated they would be happy to pay some kind of premium and only three per cent expect a discount should they give all of their business to one partner. 36 per cent of all respondents are prepared to pay between 10 and 24 per cent more for services through one partner, while 17 per cent are prepared to pay more than 25 per cent. Respondents from government are most prepared to pay a higher premium, with one quarter indicating they would be willing to pay more than 25 per cent.
BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include networked IT services; local, national and international telecommunications services; higher-value broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.
In the year ended 31 March 2007, BT Group plc's revenue was 20,223 million with profit before taxation of 2,484 million.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
About Coleman Parkes Research
Coleman Parkes Research is the premium quality, action-focused marketing research company specialising in the business-to-business market. Its founders, each with over 20 years' marketing research experience, have set-out to provide their clients with high value, targeted research and analysis that creates competitive edge and drives business change. The company undertakes research for IT, service and product suppliers to all parts of the business community including Finance, Retail, Government, Services and Manufacturing. Coleman Parkes Research provides a comprehensive bespoke research service, designing the most appropriate project to meet the business objectives of its clients, and always with a view to provoking debate leading to real business change.