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Avaya Bolsters SME Communications/Customer Service with IP Office Release 5

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September 21, 2009

Avaya Bolsters SME Communications/Customer Service with IP Office Release 5

By Brendan B. Read, Senior Contributing Editor

Small and medium-sized enterprises have long sought tools to help them provide greater operational flexibility, such as efficiently supporting home and mobile workers, become more competitive with high quality customer retaining/attracting service, and stay in business during outages. Avaya IP Office Release 5, the latest version of Avaya’s (News - Alert) proven and popular IP Office software promises to do just that. The new solution is aimed at improving SME scalability, resiliency, and productivity.

Avaya IP Office Release 5 is now packaged in six role-based solutions—tailored to roles such as “tele-worker,” “mobile worker,” and “customer service agent”— each designed to meet specific worker needs. Using this approach, small businesses no longer have to pick from a multitude of application options, thereby removing the complexity of choosing the right communications solutions.
Avaya has also strengthened Avaya IP Office by streamlining multiple hardware options down to a single, higher-capacity hardware platform. It now supports 384 users per system, up from 272, thereby extending the scalability and usefulness of an IP Office system as a business grows. Conferencing capacity has also been doubled from one to two 64-party bridges.
For SMEs with multiple sites, Avaya introduces a more efficient and reliable method of business continuity to enable resilience. With Avaya IP Office Release 5, a business site can use servers at alternate locales to keep an IP communications network – including phones and voicemail –operating in the event of an outage. For example, if a site goes down, the system automatically re-registers to another IP Office hub. This feature lessens a major headache, such as rerouting contacts when disasters threaten and strike and drives greater network robustness. It also eliminates having a second system at a site solely for continuity purposes, saving on hardware and labor costs.
Avaya IP Office also delivers new productivity-enhancing applications for unified communications and customer service: now accessible via Web browser using a ‘thin client’ model. Making applications available via the Web eases user access to essential communications tools, while providing administrators a simplified way to deploy and manage communications.
The new Web-based applications include one-X Portal for Avaya IP Office, which is a communications portal designed for PCs, and which enables workers to better manage their phone communications using real-time call control, presence, and call logs.
At the same time Avaya IP Office Release 5 introduced a powerful new contact center reporting application – also accessible via Web browser – that is easier for small businesses to install, update and use. Customer Call Reporter can track customer service progress and agent productivity, while using alarms to help administrators react to issues in real-time. With Customer Call Reporter, agents can see how they are performing against workgroup averages, while supervisors can track factors such as the number of agents logged on, as well as calls arriving, waiting or lost.
With the introduction of Avaya IP Office Release 5 software, available now, the Avaya IP Office 500 server becomes the company’s single server offering for the SME market. The Release 5 software can also be used on existing IP 406v2 and IP412 IP Office servers.
“By strengthening and expanding the range of communications capabilities available to small businesses today, Avaya gives SMEs the tools necessary to compete in today’s challenging business environment,” Anthony Bartolo (News - Alert), vice president and general manager, small and medium enterprise communications, Avaya, said in a statement. “Today’s IP Office enhancements represent our commitment to simplify offers, improve customer service and help small and medium-sized businesses get the most out of user-friendly unified communications tools.”
Avaya IP Office Release 5 has already proven itself, and in a critical application at that. Aurora Enterprises is a 25-person data security business with four offices including its Torrance, Calif. headquarters. Due to the urgent nature of its business, the company required an “always-on” communications solution that ensures calling customers have quick access to a live person.
To quickly get customers to the best representatives, Aurora Enterprises relies on Avaya IP Office, and its unified communications capabilities. The solution had been successfully implemented by Telemasters, an Avaya Business Partner located in Van Nuys, Calif.
Avaya IP Office gives Aurora Enterprises’ employees seamless access to communications from any location. Philip de Souza, CEO of Aurora Enterprises, said moving to Web-based applications with the new version of Avaya IP Office will help its employees gain greater flexibility and productivity while working at home or on the road. Aurora currently uses teleworkers on the front lines of customer service, keeping employees motivated, while helping ensure customers get to associates located anywhere.
“Letting home office-based and mobile workers use a unified communications or customer service application via the Web is a major benefit,” de Souza said in a statement. “This will not only make it easier for workers to bring up what they need from any location, but will also save us the expense of deploying applications on every employee’s laptop.”
Offering Avaya IP Office in just six role-based solutions simplifies purchasing decisions for small business owners. This feature helped Aurora Enterprises to pre-define the tool set it required.
“[This feature] gave us a better way to pick exactly what we need,” de Souza said. “Plus, it does wonders for our budget.”

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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