Ditch Desktop IP phone to Save Money?

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Tom Keating
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Ditch Desktop IP phone to Save Money?

cisco-7960.jpgWith a slowing global economy, one of the cost-cutting measures desired by IT personnel appears to be the desktop phone, including desktop IP phones. That at least according to an OnRelay survey that shows 88% of cost-conscious IT Professionals would ditch the desktop phone. Apparently, the desire for for mobile working makes desktop tools a low priority expense. I should point out that OnRelay offers a hosted PBX solution with mobile phone only extensions, so you might think this survey has a conflict of interest. However, OnRelay's solutions can work with existing PBXs and desktop phones, so there isn't necessarily a conflict.

In any event, today OnRelay published results from a survey revealing the personal business tools IT professionals couldn't be without, and the equipment they would give up as corporate budgets tighten. Their answers show a clear preference for the mobile office, and question corporate spend on technologies that those in IT have already left behind.

OnRelay surveyed 330 IT professionals in UK enterprise. Reflecting today's tougher economic choices, they were asked to select the four office IT tools they see as essential - out of a list of nine items.

Those surveyed were asked to choose from: the laptop; desktop PC; virtual private network (VPN) access; mobile phone; Blackberry™, desk phone; video conferencing; or their own personal desk.

The top three items chosen by the IT professionals were all mobile office technologies. The laptop came in as the most essential item - making the must-have list of 88% of respondents. The mobile phone came second at 74% of respondents, followed by VPN access (69%).

The least chosen items emphasise the low priority end-users place on fixed desktop equipment. The office desk phone was the tool those questioned were most willing to give up, with only 18% listing the desk phone as essential. This is akin to the 20% who prioritised a desktop PC, and the 22% who chose video conferencing as a must-have.

OnRelay's survey provides insight into IT professionals' disengagement with desktop tools. Although the majority of those questioned (87%) currently had an office desk phone, if given the choice, 88% said they would choose the mobile as their one business phone.

The underuse of the desk phone is already apparent from the fact that only 3% of those surveyed said they forwarded their calls to mobile when away from their desk. A full 54% of IT professionals admitted to never forwarding their desk phone calls, whilst only 10% forward their calls when away from the office.

"This survey shows that IT decision makers want wireless, use wireless, and will lead the drive to cut the cord as budgets tighten," comments OnRelay, CFO Marie Wold. "Costly desk phones will rapidly be phased out of IT budgets to be replaced by mobile-only telephony. The current economic climate is accelerating this shift towards mobile integration in the corporate."

dinosaur-comet.jpgWe do indeed live in a mobile world, but do I see the desktop phone going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon? Not likely. There are just too many advantages to a desktop phone, including a larger LCD, higher quality speakerphone, more feature buttons & speed dials, and more. Still, it was an interesting survey worth sharing.

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