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Change in the Procurement of Enterprise Network Services:

Are We Moving Down the Track or Jumping it?
Voice Report White Papers
Hank Levine

Whatever else you can say about the Great Recession of 2007-2009, it has had a major effect on network services procurement. Last month Tom Nolle posted a typically insightful piece on No Jitter entitled “How Light is the End of the Tunnel for Enterprise Spending?” After reporting the results of an enterprise survey showing that 80% of users now think there has been a significant, recession-driven paradigm shift in IT procurement, he closed with this:

“Vendors usually try to instill a sense of change and thus a need for modernization. Enterprises in 2009 say that their vendors are trying to stay the course in technology while they, the buyers, are trying to look at new options … Enterprises are seeing a whole new technology world out there, and they think their suppliers are missing that shift. If that’s true, then 2010 might bring some very profound changes in the market landscape.”

A “paradigm shift” is a discontinuity in behavior accompanied by a change in world view. Labels aside, there is always a legitimate question about whether a major change is something new and different or just the acceleration of an existing trend. Economists call this the difference between moving along the demand curve and shifting that curve, and the line between them can be fuzzy at times. There is not much that’s really new under the sun, so if you look closely enough even the most novel technology or behavior has antecedents.

But whatever you want to call it, there is unquestionably a big shift in enterprise telecom procurement. Evolution driven by changes in technology and user needs has accelerated or morphed in the face of pressure to cut costs without reducing the volume or quality of service.

Here are some ways this evolution is changing how enterprise telecom managers do their jobs.



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