HP recently unveiled an initiative to help telecom service providers take advantage of a new $6,2-billion market opportunity.

The HP Communications as a Service program (HP CaaS) will enable service providers to offer small- and midsize businesses (SMBs) cloud-based communications services delivered on an outsourced basis and priced as a utility, like electricity.
Using HP CaaS, wireless, wireline and broadband companies can grow the enterprise side of their businesses by providing SMBs with “one-stop shop” outsourcing for four key applications: self-service interactive voice response (IVR) and video surveillance from HP, and unified communications and IP contact centers from partners.
Service providers can create attractive bundles that include any or all of the four “as a service” cloud communications solutions, as well as additional solutions from HP or third parties.
By adopting a cloud approach and utility pricing, SMBs can realise key business benefits:
* Access to state-of-the-art communications services;
* Predictability of operating costs;
* Eliminating the need for capital investment; and
* Reducing the risk in new technology adoption.  
With HP CaaS from their service provider, SMBs can shift valuable resources from IT to their core business while becoming more competitive.
By helping SMBs reduce complexity and costs, service providers can use HP CaaS to attract and retain customers, create steady income streams and, ultimately, increase overall revenue.
“Service providers and their SMB customers both benefit from the efficiencies of the HP CaaS program,” says Mary Brady, communications & media solutions principal consultant at HP Software and Solutions, South Africa. “Services on demand enable SMBs to lower costs and increase flexibility, while service providers can generate new revenue from SMB customers.”
HP commissioned Forrester Consulting to analyse the “as a service” market landscape and outline the potential opportunity for service providers. The analyst firm focused primarily on four CaaS services – unified communications, self-service IVR, IP contact centers and video surveillance – as well as other communications services important to SMBs.  
Based on interviews with more than 900 SMBs around the world, the study reached four key conclusions:
*The addressable market for the four CaaS services is estimated to be at least $6,2-billion by 2014, which reflects a compound annual growth rate of 29%.
* There is a strong demand among SMBs to use technologies on an as-a-service basis. For all four communications solutions tested in the study, 66% to 75% of companies said they will continue using, increase their use or start planning to use as-a-service offerings.
* One-third to more than one-half of SMBs would buy these as-a-service offerings from telecom service providers.
* Nearly 90% of the surveyed SMBs that expressed interest in these CaaS services want multiple, bundled applications. The components that SMBs want in a bundle varies by service, but some of the most preferred solutions for bundling are email, voice, IP contact center and instant messaging.
The foundation of the HP CaaS program is the new HP Aggregation Platform for Software as a Service (SaaS), which acts as a mediation layer between the communications services, the service provider’s operations and business support systems (OSS and BSS), and the SMB environment.
The cloud-based HP Aggregation Platform for SaaS streamlines operations for both the service provider and the SMB customer by automating processes such as provisioning, activation, mediation charging, revenue settlement and service assurance. It also provides an ecosystem for HP and third-party solutions in as-a-service domains such as infrastructure, IT management and business management.
HP provides the consulting and integration services that are needed to build the communications solutions into the HP Aggregation Platform for SaaS. HP then integrates the completed platform with the service provider’s OSS and BSS.
With flexible, usage-based pricing from HP, the service provider then manages delivery of the on-demand services directly to the SMB.