Avaya IP Office

Avaya IP Office is the interface for complex phone routing and automating.  I recently participated in a site upgrade from the Avaya Definity system to IP Office so my skill set is current in both products and rooted in overseeing multiple PBX deployments.

IP Office is a feature-rich environment so it is easy to over-design your options.  You need a clear hierarchy of service defined before you ever begin configuring the system.  There are classes of users, there are pre-programmed button packs, there are exceptions to every rule.  Don’t be distracted by all that.  Assess what you’re doing now, identify the shortfalls then build solutions into the new system.

You want to create a call flow chart very similar to your company’s organization chart (because they will have a lot in common).  You might divide users into “client-facing” and “not client-facing” which determines if an unanswered call is transferred back to reception or directly to voice mail.  Do you want calls to a group to ring simultaneously or cascade from one number to another?  Most successful implementations are not imposed by a third-party but are the result of in-house study, preparation, and management support of user engagement.

Voice Mail Pro is a companion product that programs the system’s outgoing messages and voice mail options based on day & time to allow for holidays, inclement weather, and corporate events that affect your core service hours.

Popular feature:  Copying voice mail to email.  Seems like a simple thing but it provides a much-appreciated digital-file backup for the user to share and retain.  WARNING:  This takes voice mail out of the closed Audix phone-based system and channels it through your email server which may complicate client-customer confidentiality.

Avaya usually works through a third-party partner for implementation then you either buy support from the partner (recommended) or work directly with Avaya.  I provide a gateway between the outside techs who configure the switching and the end-users who have to work with it.  Many installations make immediate service gains simply by activating under-utilized features on existing equipment and incorporating them into daily use.  Refresher training on the current options can prep users for the upcoming transition by creating a common skill set upon which to build.

Mobile service bridges to cell phones so your office number can ring in your pocket, or not.  Like all good things, consider the implications.  Do you really want company phone calls answered in any location: in a car, in a bar?  Are your employees on duty 24×7 or can they decline the ring-through on their off-hours?

The features you choose should support the overall “branding” message you are trying to give through your phone presentation.  Build a stable functioning baseline for all users then layer in the special services as needed.  Especially in client-centric business, this is a quality of service issue.   One size does not fit all.

Challenge:  If you can have your phone system automatically use the Last Name field for a dial-by-name directory BUT you use first names while doing business, what do you do?

Option:  Put first name information in the Last Name field.  The NAME of the field is not as important as the FUNCTION of the field in this case.  (Smarter systems let you designate which name to use.)

Just the GistMost successful implementations are not imposed by a third-party but are the result of in-house study, preparation, and management support of user engagement.

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