Headsets Emerging as Key Corporate Purchase

Headsets Emerging as Key Corporate Purchase

Let’s talk headsets. Yes, headsets.

With all the activity surrounding many emerging technologies, ranging from machine learning to collaboration to advanced networking, why headsets?

They’re becoming increasingly more important to the daily life of employees, how they serve customers, and how they interact with others, either from the desktop or while mobile.

What’s more, vendors are innovating, not only in areas such as noise cancellation, single headsets for landline and mobile phones, or headset comfort, but also in completely new markets. For example, Plantronics is adding intuitive management capabilities to its headsets, allowing IT managers to assess the end user’s experience (i.e., if an agent increases his or her volume more than average, it could indicate too much noise near the office). Jabra is expanding into portable, high-quality speakerphone products. Sennheiser is focusing on sound quality (several musicians used its products this year while performing at the Grammy Awards).

Nemertes recently completed our 2017 Unified Communications and Collaboration Total Cost of Operations research. As part of that research, we asked about headset deployment, costs, and provider ratings—an area we anticipate will become more crucial as handset adoption declines.

Three-quarters of companies are using, planning to use, or evaluating headsets already. And on average, 40% of employees already use headsets. As customer experience teams increase, and companies adopt more softphones and/or UC suites, that figure will continue to increase.

Headsets typically have not been a consolidated budget item, since the buying center can be any combination of IT, business units, and employees. On average, companies have spent $1.1 million to acquire their headset inventory, and spend $220,224 each year to maintain/troubleshoot them. The numbers vary based on company size; those with more than 10,000 employees have spent $4.5 million to acquire their headsets, and they spend $875,668 per year to maintain them.

Given the spending, and the growing need to provide employees with headsets that make them as efficient as possible, we expect companies to pay more attention to feature functionality, headset longevity, and buying power by centralizing purchases.

Here are some of the key trends emerging from our research:

  • The top headset providers, in terms of business adoption, are Plantronics (38%), Logitech (24%), Jabra (18%), LG (15%), and Motorola (14%). Our research covers others, as well. Larger rollouts heavily favor Plantronics and Jabra. (See Figure below)
  • IT leaders cite the following as the most important headset capabilities: voice quality management (51%), noise cancellation (45%), and enabling employee mobility (41%). Nearly a quarter already see interest in using headsets as management probes for various contact center agent metrics
  • Mobility is a big driver for headset requirements. Already, 31% of employees use mobile devices (vs. enterprise telephony system) for an average of 42% of their work calls. Also, 68% of companies have at least some Bluetooth headsets to enable mobility, and 19% use Bluetooth for at least half of their headsets.
  • IT buys the majority of headsets, though in larger rollouts, business units and employees also purchase headsets.
  • Top rated headset providers include (in order) Sennheiser, GE, Jabra, and Plantronics. Lowest cost providers include (in order) Plantronics, Motorola, Logitech, and Sennheiser.

Looking for additional data, analysis or advice when it comes to headset purchases? This study gathered data from 723 organizations—we’re happy to help support your decision. Clients can access the research here: https://nemertes.com/research/real-world-ipt-uc-costs-2017/ Comments, questions? Reach out to me at robin@nemertes.com.