T3i Group Says Escalating Use of Unified Communications Technology Has Increased the Need for Professional Services

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A recent survey of enterprise decision-makers by T3i Group's InfoTrack division indicated that an incumbent relationship with a professional service provider is among the top three selection criteria for planning and design work, and that the relationship most frequently starts with telephony system installation and implementation.

IT departments will grow their use of outside partners for unified communications (UC) technology planning over the next two years, and these client engagements are direct avenues to growth for providers of professional services. A recent survey of enterprise decision-makers by T3i Group's InfoTrack division indicated that an incumbent relationship with a professional service provider is among the top three selection criteria for planning and design work, and that the relationship most frequently starts with telephony system installation and implementation.

As the introduction of UC-driven technology accelerates, opportunities for a wide spectrum of network planning and design engagements are growing. Business leaders, encouraged by manufacturers' and service providers' case studies of deployments that provided strong operational returns on investment, are embedding unified communications applications in their sales, manufacturing, fulfillment and support processes. At the same time, IT departments must support new software applications, interfaces and standards as employees download their preferred versions of instant messaging and independently select their smartphone manufacturers. IT decision-makers are turning to professional service providers to design roadmaps that address the added network complexity and risk, and also assure investment protection. The InfoTrack research found that over half of enterprise and international business decision-makers and one-third of SMB decision-makers surveyed will consider using professional services for security assessments and communications/technology consulting, among other services, by the close of 2009.

Professional services relationships are built on both the technical and management level. Service providers can maximize their sales by properly managing the jobs, maintaining client relationships after completion, and opportunistically selling new services over time. According to a recently-released InfoTrack report entitled "InfoTrack for Enterprise Services: Professional Services Customer Satisfaction," the highest rated service providers were able to design forward-looking customized solutions, and expand their services roles to help their clients attain the best overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

"Services represent the majority of a life-cycle UC solution, and IT decision-makers look to partners to protect their networks and investments," commented Susan Hobart, Executive Vice President and Senior Research Director at T3i Group. She continued, "The challenge for service providers is to equip their teams with the skills to establish technical, contextual and account management relationships with their clients. Technology training is not enough. Successful professional service engagements require project management, constant communication, formal reports and thorough understanding of customers' applications."

T3i Group's latest findings suggest that manufacturers are ceding share to large service providers, particularly among enterprises. Telephone companies, utilized by many manufacturers as system sales channels, received very satisfactory scores for communications/ technology consulting and contact center/ CRM consulting. In addition, specialized security service providers no longer "own" the market for security assessment and design and planning services. Manufacturers, who have focused greater attention on training their channels, have also increased their satisfaction scores.

About the InfoTrack for Enterprise Services (IES) Program:
The InfoTrack for Enterprise Services (IES) program publishes several comprehensive, primary research studies each year, with the professional services reports focusing on unified communications market analysis. The IES program combines competitor information with market demand and issues analysis. For more information about InfoTrack for Enterprise Services, please visit http://www.telecomweb.com/marketresearch/enterprisesvcs/

About T3i Group LLC:
T3i Group LLC provides market research, data, analysis, and consulting and advisory services to the telecommunications industry. It has clients in 46 countries and conducts its business through four operating units: InfoTrack, which publishes reports that analyze shipment, revenue, market share and other pertinent data of importance to telecommunications equipment manufacturers; TelecomTactics, which maintains a database of the features and functionality of major telephony systems; Tarifica, which maintains a database of pricing-related information covering 400 telecommunications carriers operating in 130 countries; and TelecomWeb (http://www.telecomweb.com), which is a content provider with an editorial staff that authors and posts telecommunications-industry news stories every business day. The site also serves as T3i Group's primary delivery mechanism for distributing its reports, analyses and data to subscribers.

T3i Group LLC is headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, with additional offices in New York City, London, England and Cherry Hill, NJ.

Press Contact:
Debra Baker
301/905-7703
dbaker @ telecomweb.com

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