Mobile VoIP: Great Benefits, but Proceed with Caution

Carl Weinschenk

This AberdeenGroup survey says mobile VoIP is less filling and tastes great. More accurately, the analysts say that when the technology is correctly deployed and integrated with other applications, it both saves money and improves productivity.


The firm says mobile VoIP can save enterprises more than $150 per user per year and provide a return on investment of 49 percent. Sixty-nine percent of organizations see VoIP as a way to enhance productivity and 60 percent expect the platform to reduce the amount of money spent on cellular.


The big surprise here is that none of this is much of a surprise. VoIP has permeated the consciousness of people to the extent that it's pretty well assumed that the platform -- mobile and otherwise -- offers advantages.


The study does come with a couple of significant caveats. For one thing, readers should note that there is a mix of actual apples (money saved) and perceived oranges (portion of enterprises who think mobile VoIP will help with productivity and cellular costs). Also, the benefits are only that high, the survey says, if deployed by "best in class" organizations. AberdeenGroup has a specific definition for this, but suffice it to say that the benefits generally accrue more to organizations that know what they are doing.


While the benefits of mobile VoIP are pretty obvious, users should keep in mind that expertise (either in-house or retained from outside) is vital in this area because it's all very new. Careful consideration must be given to the corporate-readiness of mobile VoIP technologies from such players as fring, Jajah and Microsoft. It's still an immature field, as evidenced by the fact that Skype, one of the big names in VoIP, so far is struggling in this sector.


The study is potent ammunition for planners and IT departments who want to push organizations to adopt the new technologies. Indeed, it all seems so good that planners approaching CEOs and CFOs should focus on a particular benefit instead of positioning mobile VoIP as a magic bullet that will do everything. That may indeed be the case, but it is an inherently hard sell to corporate decision makers who have been told that in so many cases -- and then found that it turned out not to be so.

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