Business telecommunication revolution coming… Sickies to soak up the sun… New source of retailer lease information… Online retail yet to take firm hold here… Reverse mortgage worry

Ring, ring… Microsoft calling

Telecommunications market researcher Telstye has warned that while most Australian businesses are likely to continue their relationship with existing telephony vendors, getting ready for unified communications would be the key reason prompting more than 24% of businesses to switch vendors.

Telsyte surveyed 900 respondents as part of its 2007 Business Decision Maker Report Series.

Telsyte senior industry analyst, Sam Yip, told ITWire: “This result did not come as a surprise as many businesses that implemented IP (internet protocol) telephony in 2003-04 did not take an evolutionary approach to IP communications.

“Early IP telephony vendors encouraged businesses to set up their IP telephony for the sake of cost savings, not realising that they were supposed to be building early foundations for the real killer IP application, that is unified communications,” Yip says.

“A lack of end user understanding of existing vendor IP telephony and unified communications roadmaps will prompt them look at other companies such as Microsoft for these next generation solutions.”

Yip warned vendors to “stop inflating technology hype and start concentrating on customer retention in the next six to 12 months before their installed bases get eaten up by their competitor”.

The survey also suggested that many users are not overly happy with their existing telephone systems, with only 55% of respondents saying they were satisfied with their current telephony vendor’s ability to meet business needs and requirements.


Summer sickie a common tactic

Over a third of employees have taken a day off sick to enjoy a day in the sunshine, according to a Harris Interactive poll reported in

The poll of more than 1000 employees in the US shows 39% have called in sick to work just because they want to enjoy the summer weather, and 30% said they were planning to do so again in the future.

Among employees who faked sick days, most said they used their time off to go to the beach or go shopping. Not surprisingly, the most popular days to skip work were Monday and Friday.

In addition to wanting to enjoy the weather, respondents also said they called in sick whenever they needed a mental-health day or had limited time off due to a demanding workload.


New way to get lease info

Retail tenants of shopping centres regularly complain that landlords have too much power over them because they know the retailers’ turnover, but the tenants do not know what the other tenants in the centre pay as rent.

In Victoria it is notoriously tough to get shop lease information for negotiations with landlords. Now a Sydney-based company has struck a deal with LeaseWise to provide lease info to Victorians through its site The site already has info about NSW, Queensland and the ACT.


Australian retailers slow to move online

Australian retailers are lagging behind Europeans and Americans in getting online. The number of registered users of eBay in Australia tops five million and about 9% of Australian retail spending (outside food and grocery) was spent online in 2006, according to internet research firm Forrester.

Perhaps our bricks and mortar shopping is too convenient to get consumers online. The failure of chains like Myer, David Jones, Harvey Norman and Bing Lee to invest heavily in online shopping is no doubt doing the small players a favour – leaving opportunities for small and medium sized retailers to make the most of online.


Reverse mortgages growth

The reverse mortgage market grew by 80% last year and comprised more than 27,500 loans valued at $1.5 billion according to the Senior Australian Equity Release Association of Lenders.

The booming industry is getting the attention of the regulators with five mortgage brokers getting into trouble for making misleading advertising claims that investors did not have to repay their loans.

Sales tactics are under scrutiny because the market for this type of loans is typically older home-owners. Even though they don’t need to make regular repayments, interest and fees are added to the balance while the borrower lives in the property.


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