By Howard Solomon

Assistant editor, NetworkWorld Canada

As the world’s economy is seizing up, it’s a good time to get the pulse on what’s doing in the telephony industry. By coincidence, on the other side of the pond the first VoiceCon Amsterdam conference is taking place, where Yankee Group Zeus Kerravala has been doing the rounds. “Everybody’s complaining about the economy,” he told me, with vendor reps going everywhere from “cautiously optimistic to pessimistic.” Yankee believes 2009 will be struggle for customers and manufacturers, with broad network upgrades unlikely. But, he adds, buyers will spend on what they see is strategic, and these days that includes mobility and data centre consolidation.

Here’s some advice to chew on: “Spending’s not going to zero. There’s money out there. To capture some of the budget you (manufacturers) have to be able to articulate your value proposition very clearly and help companies understand exactly what it’s going to give them in productivity and what it’s going to save them in money. Unfortunately, he adds, until now productivity proof points have been “nebulous,” especially in manufacturer-produced case studies. In particular, he said, vendors have to move away from trying to persuade organziations to shift to VoIP to save money and instead show the value of communications-enabled business processes. “The industry needs to grow up,” he concluded.

In tough economic times the old ways won’t work. Some vendors are about to find out the hard way.

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Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com