One in four UK IT departments believe there will be business benefits from outsourcing their messaging services.
The recent survey of 350 businesses, conducted by analyst IDC, marks a change in UK businesses' attitudes toward messaging systems, said Tim Sheedy, a senior analyst at IDC.
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Until now, the majority of UK businesses have been sceptical about outsourcing such services, he said.
"Europe has undoubtedly lagged behind North America in uptake of outsourcing services, as IT managers have faced such issues as network capacity overload due to the dramatic increase of data on the wide area network (Wan)," Sheedy said.
"The dramatic growth in traffic over the last couple of years, together with the recent drop in the cost of bandwidth is reopening the question of potentially outsourcing some or all of their communication problems," he added.
Outsourcing could also pave the way for unified messaging (UM) - a way to provide combined voice, e-mail and fax message services in a single environment. The high initial investment, which has previously put businesses off UM, can be mitigated by outsourcing, Sheedy argued.
The IDC survey was sponsored by software supplier Ipulsys, which on Friday launches Unipulse, a UM system that can be integrated with existing communications functions.
John Delaney, a senior consultant at Ovum, said, "There will be a lot of demand for hosted unified messaging over the next few years. Ipulsys's Unipulse service is squarely targeting a market segment which Ovum expects to grow very soon."