IT Channel, SMB Views on VoIP Dont Match Up, CompTIA Research Finds

The IT channel and SMBs have different priorities when it comes to the importance of VoIP as a technology initiative they will be focusing on in the next 12 months, according to new research from CompTIA, unveiled this week at the associations trade show in Orlando.

The research, conducted for CompTIA by TNS Prognostics, found that while IT Providers identify VoIP in the top three among 18 technology solutions they expect to see significant amount of growth in the next year, SMBs put VoIP much lower on their list of spending priorities, ranking it ninth.

Among the 300 IT providers (mostly VARs) who answered the May 2006 survey, 12 percent said they expect 40 percent or greater growth in VoIP sales compared to last year. Managed services and network security also were noted as top growth areas.

The 600 SMBs polled, on the other hand, said they will spend additional money on network security (48 percent), wireless networks (41 percent), storage solutions (37 percent) and education/training (37 percent). VoIP spending is anticipated by 20 percent, tying for ninth with messaging solutions.

Where there is alignment is in network security and wireless networks, said researcher Dan Ryan, vice president of TNS Prognostics, in a presentation on Thursday at CompTIAs Breakaway convention. Where there is less alignment is around storage, document imaging and business intelligence.

Ryan said this might indicate end users are not as sophisticated as vendors think or that infrastructure required for regulatory compliance, e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA, might not be completed within the SMB group.

As for VoIP, Ryan said, Investment in VoIP will continue to grow, but not at the pace IT providers expect.

The technologies ranked in the study included ASP (e.g., software as a service), business intelligence, certification, data integration, document imaging, education/training, grid computing/utility computing, managed services, messaging solutions, network security, open source/Linux, outsourcing including BPO, RFID, storage area networks, storage solutions, systems integration/application implementation, VoIP and wireless networks.

TNS Prognostics

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