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Thinking About Replacing Your Voicemail System?

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Voicemail Replacement Featured Article

October 22, 2009

Thinking About Replacing Your Voicemail System?

By Patrick Barnard, Senior Web Editor, TMCnet

Companies considering replacing their traditional voicemail system should consider the advantages of migrating to a unified communications solution that integrates phone, voicemail, email, fax, conferencing, chat and text messaging on a single platform.

If you are using multiple stand-alone applications and/or services for your corporate communications -- or if you’re one of the few companies that hasn’t made the jump to VoIP yet -- you should consider the advantages of deploying an “all-in-one” IP-based system that let’s you start out basic and add new features and capabilities as your business grows. For example, you might want to start by integrating phone, voicemail and email – and then add other channels such as fax, chat or SMS later.

There are many advantages to integrating your communications channels on a single platform. For one thing, your employees will be able to get all voicemails, emails, faxes and other messages, as well as alerts, via a single user interface – both from their PCs and their mobile devices. This helps improve collaboration, speed communications and boost employee productivity.

In addition employees will have greater control over their communications preferences – including the ability to record custom voicemail greetings from any location to alert callers as to their status. An employee could, for example, have all calls forwarded to voicemail if they are in a meeting – but still be able to receive emails or text messages. Or they can set the system so they only receive calls or text messages from certain people.

One major advantage of today’s unified messaging solutions is that they enable single number reach for all employees – meaning if an employee isn’t in the office, calls are automatically forwarded on to their mobile device or voicemail -- as opposed to having the caller hang up and dial the employee’s mobile number separately. In addition they allow for a single voicemail box for each employee, as opposed to having separate voicemail boxes for desk and mobile phones.

Another extremely useful feature that most of today’s systems deliver is “presence,” which is the ability to see the availability status of other users on the network. With presence, it is possible to find out if a user is, for example, at their desk, on their phone, on vacation or business travel, temporarily away or working at a remote location. In fact, using the software interface, most systems let the user see the availability status of all the other users on the network in real time. This means a fast decision can be made whether to transfer a call or forward an email to another user who is available, thus speeding service and resolution time.

Interactive Intelligence’s (News - Alert) Messaging Interaction Center (MIC) is a unified messaging solution that delivers all of the above capabilities and more. With this innovative, all-in-one, IP-based messaging system, organizations can effectively and affordably streamline communications and boost employee productivity.

MIC is Interactive Intelligence’s “entry level” UC system – yet it delivers many advanced capabilities, including a speech-enabled auto attendant that allows callers to dial by name or by dialing an employee’s extension. The system, which can be integrated with Microsoft (News - Alert) Exchange Server, IBM Lotus Notes and or Sun iPlanet Mail Server (or all three simultaneously if needed), delivers an email-like interface, with all emails, IP faxes and voice message alerts displayed in the user’s “inbox.” And because it is based on Interactive Intelligence's software-based call routing platform, companies have a smooth migration path to Interactive's more full-featured and "heavier-duty" Customer Interaction Center platform.

To learn more about this reliable, highly-scalable and full-featured “voicemail replacement” system, click here.

Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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