IMS Is a Gleam in Enterprise Carriers' Eyes
Enterprises have been switching from traditional telephone service to IP solutions like IP-PBX and IP-VPN for quite some time, and technology advisory firm In-Stat believes this trend could blossom into a hot market for IP multimedia subsystems (IMS) by 2010. According to "IMS in the Enterprise Market," these next five years are the window of opportunity for service providers to capture an estimated $15 billion of the U.S. enterprise IT spending, which in 2005 hit $512 billion. For this to happen In-Stat says carriers must overcome inertia and the tendency for larger companies to prefer handling multimedia communication in-house.
"Carriers have two things to sell: traditional transport, such as T1 lines, IP virtual private networks and VoIP; and hosted services," says Keith Nissen, In-Stat analyst and report author. "Carriers can use IMS-based network applications and services to become more than just suppliers of enterprise transport facilities."
Current all-IP networks are open affairs in which users are essentially creating ad hoc peer networks where it's up to them to be using the same software, he says. "Networks are becoming intelligent and are including presence information. IMS creates all these functions within the phone network itself, adding video conferencing, document collaboration, and more. IMS is the network intelligence with a guarantee of service." IMS unite all these functions, integrate with CRM, and provide business continuity without the expense of purchasing extra capacity that doesn't get used until an emergency occurs.
Worker mobility and the birth of virtual enterprises have left IT departments ill equipped to meet corporate needs alone, Nissen says. "IMS provides enterprises with the means of accommodating secure data transmittal and communication between remote workers, outsourced third-party vendors, and trusted corporate partners." As with other hosted models, IMS-based infrastructure reduces the IT workload and related expenses.
More than 45 percent of respondents to the In-Stat survey indicated they would consider reengineering internal processes to take advantage of IMS-based network services. However, Nissen emphasizes that the opportunity is just that: a potential for growth, not a guarantee. "The question becomes, so what? for enterprises. In effect they have always done these things and have wanted to manage their own capabilities. The IMS provider has to get the enterprises asking why they want to have it on premise."
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