As small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) embrace VoIP technology, they have also started to use consultants to guide them in their phone purchases, to be sure they buy the right systems for their needs. These consultants, independent of vendors, are sought after to provide advice on various purchases, especially when it involves hosted-IP telephone setups and IP PBXs. According to 2008 Brookside Group LLC market study report , 54% of the independent consultants' clients were considered to be SMBs. This study reviewed responses of 342 consultants and 1,750 updated professional profiles.
A variety of reasons exist to justify SMBs hiring consultants to help them out in buying a system. The most important service a client gets out of a consultant is an unbiased needs assessment to help it purchase the best system for its specific needs. Consultants may also evaluate and select vendors and even help in contract negotiations.
Because of the nature of IP phone services, oftentimes consultants may be involved in technical areas, such as network design and configuration, making their jobs very close to those of integrators.
The Brookside report indicates that the top clients are in health care, followed by banking, finance, local and state government and educations. It was noted that lawyers and accountants also use these specialized consultants as well.
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Many businesses rely on a collection of communication tools that they adopt to address specific needs as they arise. This strategy may seem to work in the beginning, but eventually will lead to a system that is cumbersome to use, difficult to explain to new hires, expensive, and effective in some areas, but full of gaps. more
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