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Office Holiday: Co-Workers, Clients Tag Along on Family Vacations

07-28-2004

An increasing number of vacationing workers include laptop computers, cell phones and PDAs with their beach towels, sunscreen and paperbacks in order to stay in touch with office business.

An increasing number of vacationing workers include laptop computers, cell phones and PDAs with their beach towels, sunscreen and paperbacks in order to stay in touch with office business. According to survey results released today by Avaya Inc., a leading global provider of communications networks and services for businesses, voice over IP (VoIP) and other new technologies have given business communications its highest profile in years, but employers and users are struggling with a host of communications-related issues. Key findings show:

  • 85 percent of respondents remain accessible to co-workers during nights, weekends and vacations
  • 76 percent regularly retrieve messages during time off
  • 54 percent said they sometimes feel "overwhelmed by pervasive communications," and 93 percent of these people reported a "negative effect on quality of life"

 

Nearly 300 information-technology professionals representing a variety of industries responded to the survey in March. The results indicate that voice over IP, wireless technologies and other sophisticated business communications applications are posing challenges to enterprises deploying them, and intruding on the personal lives of these professionals.

 

About 61 percent of respondents reported they work more hours in a typical week due to communications capabilities that allow working away from the office. A quarter of all respondents said they work two to five hours more, while 17 percent said the addition exceeds five hours.

 

To help enterprises manage and deploy communications technologies in a fashion that optimizes functionality, productivity and management of communications for users, Avaya has launched a formal Business Communications Consulting practice.

 

"Many enterprises, large to small, private to public, are finding that even if they have the best and newest communications technologies, they need help in making it all work well, without overwhelming them," said Peter Licata, vice president of Consulting and Integration Services for Avaya. "And while the IT professionals we surveyed may be more exposed to some of these issues than the general workforce, their responses don't differ greatly from what we see on a daily basis."

 

The survey results indicate that enterprises need help in reaching that ideal. Despite the respondents' intimate familiarity with their local IT processes, 57 percent said their employers do not give clear direction and assistance to employees in one or more of the following: setting up a robust home office; traveling as a fully equipped road warrior; implementing a wireless local-area-network card; or implementing a PDA device.

 

"Devices, systems and protocols from a range of sources are multiplying, converging and overlapping, creating confusion for users and employers alike," said Licata. "What will differentiate enterprises going forward is whether they incorporate these developments in a manner that simplifies and improves the efficiency of their communications, rather than just adding more complexity. Ultimately, these improvements should also help workers manage personal time more effectively and enjoyably, too."

 

In fact, 61 percent in the survey said that on at least one occasion they'd had an important communication delayed because they or the other person didn't know the best medium to use at the time, creating response gaps and wasted effort.

 

"It's clear from our research that enterprises stand to benefit like never before from communications, but they can use some help in doing so," said Licata. "For instance, we find enterprises using architectures and processes that can be made more efficient. We can help these firms by designing solutions that streamline processes, improve quality and cost less to run. It's all about optimizing performance and creating a seamless, consistent customer experience."

 

Business Communications Consulting professionals, drawing on a wide-ranging variety of areas of expertise, meet with senior IT personnel. Together they examine the enterprise's business goals, network architecture, and workforce profiles, to find areas for improvement, and develop plans to address them.

 

Enterprises are seeking help across a variety of areas, including customer interactions; securing communications networks for regulatory compliance; developing disaster-recovery and business continuity plans; integrating multi-vendor platforms and applications; accelerating return on communications investments; and better understanding how they can use communications technology to cut costs, increase revenues, and build customer loyalty.

 

"Whether it's secure communications, customer interactions, or technology-migration strategies, Avaya understands communications better than anyone, and we're in a unique position to help enterprises move from where they are today to where they need to be," Licata said.

 

About Avaya
Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than one million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol (IP) telephony systems and communications software applications and services.

 

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications — and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services — Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information visit the Avaya Web site: http://www.avaya.com

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