Nearly one in five companies planning an IP telephony (IPT) project have no technical knowledge of the technology at all, recent research carried out by network provider SAS Group has found.

Questioning more than 200 end-user IT decision makers, the vendor found that most organisations are unaware of the level of complexity involved in implementing and supporting IPT, where 18% had no lacked the technical know-how.

And 62% of companies planning an IPT project were not actually aware of all the components of an IPT solution.

"There is a serious and concerning lack of technical knowledge when it comes to implementing IPT, this could result in costly mistakes as well as potential downtime for both voice and data systems," said Simon Cranford, SAS Group CIO. "Businesses must be aware of what's really involved in a successful IPT installation and how the technology can be effectively maintained, if they are to enjoy its benefits."

Further findings show that 50% of companies employing more than 500 staff believe they do not have the skills to implement IPT, highlighting the need for more education and a greater understanding of the technology and its enterprise-wide application.

"Companies need to be better prepared for the complexities of IPT," said Cranford. "If we just think about supporting voice, IPT completely changes the complexion of supporting voice systems; where once troubleshooting for voice would focus on handsets, cables and PBXs, it now has to incorporate switches, routers, bandwidth and even applications. IPT can significantly improve business communications and productivity, but it doesn't implement or manage itself."