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The REAL reason for controlling Skype within the Enterprise
Butler Group Independent Analyst Comment

Butler Group Independent Analyst Comment
Richard Edwards, Lead Analyst, Butler Group

11 November 2005 A call has been made to enterprises to ban Skype - or at least take steps to ensure it is secured. Five reasons for an enterprise to ban Skype in a corporate environment are outlined. However, Butler Group, Europe's leading IT research and advisory organisation states the REAL reason for controlling Skype within the enterprise and which has been missed, is 'Super Nodes'. Butler Group acknowledges that Skype is not the perfect enterprise VoIP solution but is certainly a boon to small groups and the private individual. Following is comment from Richard Edward, Lead Analyst, Butler Group.

Skype was never after the 'enterprise market' just as MSN, Yahoo, and Google weren't either. Unfortunately, however, enterprises are made up of private individuals and consumers, and if IT can't provide us with the tools we need, then we go out and get them from elsewhere.

The analyst from Info-Tech Research Group missed the real reason for controlling Skype within the enterprise: Super Nodes. Skype (the company) has very few physical assets, and that's because they leverage the power of the devices connected to the network.

The reason why Skype works as well as it does is because of these computers called Super Nodes - think of them as you would a local exchange, routing your call etc. Any computer running Skype with a clear-line-of-site to the Internet, plenty of bandwidth, and plenty of resources (memory, CPU) can become a Super Node, and this could result in this machine and its network segment becoming overwhelmed by Skype traffic.

Skype is not the perfect enterprise VoIP solution, I don't think anyone said it ever was; but it's certainly a boon to small groups and the private individual. At the start of 2004 there were around 4.3 million businesses* in the UK, and only 0.1% of these (around 6,000) had more than 250 employees*; 0.6% have 50-249 employees*. So, for 99.3% of small firms with less than 50 employees Skype is great.


Notes to Editors:
*Source Department of Trade and Industry (DTI, UK)

Richard Edwards is lead analyst of Butler Group's Information Worker Communications and Collaboration practice. He has contributed to a number of In-depth Reports covering the E-mail Management; Document and Records Management; Workgroup and Enterprise Collaboration; Corporate Performance Management; Managing Costs in IT; IT Governance; and Identity and Access Management. Prior to joining Butler Group, Richard was a technology management consultant with one of the world's largest IT services companies; providing strategic and technical insight to organisations seeking to use IT to run their businesses better. He specialised in the architecture and design of IT infrastructures for knowledge worker solutions, and helped some of the world's largest organisations formulate their information worker strategies.

Over a 15 year period pre-Butler Group, Richard has helped many blue-chip companies reap the business benefits of information and communication technologies. His IT career started in 1986, when he switched his focus from civil engineering to the rapidly expanding world of 'Personal Computing'. An early advocate of the PC, Richard introduced this new technology to hundreds of local government workers, engineers, managers, estimators, and clerical staff in the late 1980s before moving on to take up a role as an industry-focused IT instructor and educator. Later he joined the central IT unit of a large manufacturing and engineering company as technical consultant working within the unit's Networking & Telecommunications department. He was involved in the evaluation, selection, and deployment of many new and emerging technologies such as Local and Wide Area Networks, electronic mail, groupware, document management, knowledge management, and of course the Internet.

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