According to IDC, the global small-to-medium enterprise (SME) market is set to represent 52% of IT spending by 2016, with small enterprises one of the largest segments. To ignore this business segment would be folly, says Selvin Kristnen, MD of Avaya South Africa.

“As a global entity, Avaya understands that SMEs will dominate many industries. With that in mind, we have announced purpose-built solutions for the SME segment, tailored by industry and customer size, at comfortable price points,” he adds.

Aimed at up to 2 000 users, Avaya offers an SME Unified Communications (UC) application through its IP Office product range, which offers UC services across voice, data, video and mobility on virtually any device.

The success of the company’s flagship SME solution, with in excess of 12 million users on more than 350 000 systems worldwide, underscores the demand by SMEs for a UC solution that combines the features they demand with simplified management and better value.

Kristnen says collaboration is possibly *the* killer use for UC and says that regardless of company size, employees need their communication tools at their fingertips to be as efficient as possible – and this usually means access through a single user interface.

“Analysts predict that by 2015, there will be more than 1.3 billion mobile workers worldwide and many of these will work for SMEs,” he says. “UC empowers these users to work collaboratively and, therefore efficiently, whether at home, in an office, or on the move.

“As much as we need to keep SMEs top of mind to remain competitive, so too do the SMEs need to think about the future. In these days of consumerised IT, it is unlikely that their entire workforce will agree on a particular application or device from one vendor as they grow. Employees and businesses demand and rightly deserve greater choice; we offer them the best of both worlds through a flexible, all-encompassing solution.”