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Small and Medium Companies Worldwide Solving Business Problems with New IP Telephony Software from Avaya

07-26-2004
  • Firms deliver improved customer service with new Avaya IP Office applications that include enhanced messaging and Web-based contact center capabilities, tools for easier installation and management

What do a credit union that serves agricultural communities in the Midwest, a European-based global risk-management firm for the financial services industry, an online "superstore" for motorcycle enthusiasts and a member-owned retail cooperative society in the United Kingdom have in common?

What do a credit union that serves agricultural communities in the Midwest, a European-based global risk-management firm for the financial services industry, an online "superstore" for motorcycle enthusiasts and a member-owned retail cooperative society in the United Kingdom have in common?

These perse companies are some of the small and medium businesses (SMBs) using IP telephony solutions from Avaya Inc., a leading global provider of business communications software, systems and services, to improve customer service and operate more efficiently.

IP telephony is software-based technology that uses the voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to transmit voice over a data network. Businesses of all sizes are adopting this rapidly emerging technology - which includes features such as call forwarding, conferencing, voice messaging and other applications - to enhance the capability of their communications network and reduce costs.

Avaya has introduced new IP telephony software offering enhanced messaging and web-based contact center functionalities into its "all-in-one" office communication solution, Avaya IP Office, which accommodates up to 360 users per location. This Avaya solution, aimed at the SMB market and branch offices of larger organizations, brings together voice, data and communications applications into a single system.

Companies improving their operations by using the new features made possible by Avaya IP Office software 2.1 include:

Heartland Credit Union, a member-owned financial cooperative ranked as one of the U.S.'s top 10 credit unions lending to the agricultural sector. A networked messaging feature in the new Avaya software enables the company to respond to customer calls faster and more efficiently by using four-digit dialing to forward voice mail messages among six previously isolated branch offices. Previously messages had to be transcribed if they needed to be shared beyond a local office. Now, voice mail can be forwarded across the network to colleagues at other sites, saving valuable time and helping Heartland respond more promptly to customer requests.

Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-operative Society (OSG), a U.K. cooperative society owned and controlled by its members who are local customers of the cooperative's businesses. The Society operates seven lines of business - including a large retail operation, automotive dealerships, childcare facilities, travel agencies, funeral services, property management and Information Services - across five counties. The Society's communications systems located in seven offices across those five counties (Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and the area around Swindon in Wiltshire) now receive software upgrades remotely, using the pre-packaged Avaya Microsoft® Windows-based Installation and Administration Wizard. This reduces the time spent installing an IP Office system and removes configuration errors. The error checking capability can be utilized to review existing configurations that may contain errors and iron out issues, even where the configuration was not created using the Wizard.

Motorcycle-USA.com, an online retail site for motorcycle enthusiasts. Because the availability of customer service agents to assist buyers directly impacts revenue, interrupting the company's communication system for moves, additions or changes is simply not an option. Instead, the company's network administrator makes changes in real time, without rebooting the system and disrupting service, using the Avaya Moves/Adds/Changes Wizard - an easy-to-use, intuitive interface for updating calling paths to employees' extensions, adding and removing users, updating forms and performing a host of other administrative operations.

Capco, a leading global provider of integrated consulting, processing services and products to the financial services industry. To ensure it delivers world-class solutions to its customers, Capco relies on fast, efficient communication between its staff, customers and partners. Today, Capco quickly and economically connects its 500 geographically-dispersed employees in Belgium, France, Germany, the UK, India, Singapore, Canada, and the U.S., by holding conference calls over its own private data network, instead of paying for outside conferencing costs. Doing so has helped Capco reduce its conferencing expenses by 90 percent.

"It's clear that merging data and voice traffic onto a single IP network saves money, but we've learned that businesses are considering IP telephony in a more holistic way - as an important tool to improve customer service and solve many business problems," said Dave Johnson, group vice president, Small and Medium Business Solutions, Avaya. "They recognize that IP telephony sets the stage for advanced communication and collaboration applications, such as instant messaging, audio and video conferencing, application sharing, co-browsing on the Web, presence and mobility. These are all capabilities that can help businesses increase their productivity and maintain their competitive edge and avoid being left behind as communication technology moves forward."

According to The Yankee Group, more than half of small and medium businesses that plan to upgrade their phone systems plan to consider converged solutions.*

New features added to IP Office
The Avaya VoiceMail Pro, Remote Upgrade Wizard, Adds and Changes Wizard, and IP Office Conferencing Center are features of Avaya IP Office 2.1, which has been shipping since May. Heartland, OSG, Motorcycle USA and Capco are using these features, respectively.

VoiceMail Pro 2.1 enables users to send messages to colleagues on other voice mail systems, including other Avaya IP Office systems or Avaya messaging systems. The Remote Upgrade Wizard is part of a trio of new Wizards designed to make IP Office easier to install and manage. For the Avaya IP Office - Small Office Edition, which handles up to 28 users at a location, there is a new Setup Wizard that makes installation and maintenance easier, and a Wizard that enables users to move, add or change extensions without rebooting the system, so changes can be made in real time. Another feature now generally available, the IP Office Conferencing Center, gives customers the ability to book, schedule and confirm conferences by email and post documents and presentations on the web for participants to share.

Note to editors: Profiles on the inpidual customers and a backgrounder on IP Office 2.1 software are available.

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

*Small and Medium Business Strategies, The Yankee Group, January 2004.

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