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post #1 of 13 Old 03-09-2005, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
 
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Telephony recommendations for a small office?

My company is about to chose a new telephony system for a small office. It needs to be up to date but not bleeding edge. Telephony is critical for our business (like most I suppose, but short outages can cost large sums when you're managing people's money) and we need good facilities, but we're not high volume nor do we have to deal with large numbers of clients.

Three technology providers being considered are Mitel, Alcatel and Avaya.

Anyone in this line of business with opinions on the quality of equipment?

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post #2 of 13 Old 03-09-2005, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

PS it's near end of working day and I'm off to watch a football match (Arsenal - Bayern Munchen) so if you post today I will be unable to respond and thank you until tomorrow.

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post #3 of 13 Old 03-09-2005, 1:22 PM
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

That's a very subjective question, sort of like "which exhaust sounds best" . I've worked on Mitel and Avaya, but most systems are going to be reliable. It's more important to make sure that whoever you choose, that they have an excellent MAC and service department. Look at their guaranteed response times in case of major failure, reponse time to minor service problems. If you're going Time and Material on your service contract, what's the hourly rate? What's the response time for a T&M customer? How much for replacement phones/cards?

Voicemail capable?

ISDN capable?

T1 or Tie line capable?

Call Accounting system?

There are a lot of things to compare when shopping, just make sure their techs are good. Great technicians can not only solve problems quicker but the good ones will offer invaluable information on solutions or answer those "what if I want to..." That is my biggest recommendation. Check with some of their current clients.
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-10-2005, 7:33 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

SuperDave, thanks for the response . I'm like a guy who doesn't ride bikes asking is Honda better than Harley ?

Your comments about service provider are very much to the point, and this is a key focus for us. We're down to two potential service providers, but three potential systems providers. One service provider only works with Avaya, the other with Alcatel and Mitel, so the decisions are interlinked.

I can work out features issues, since these are typically tick box or additional cost and can be compared directly.

Reliability or immediate parts availability from these three systems providers are areas I'd really value opinion.

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post #5 of 13 Old 03-10-2005, 10:49 AM
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

How many employees?

Avaya, is a good solution. Whatever you do, go VoIp, it will save you $.

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post #6 of 13 Old 03-10-2005, 1:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

30 employees, going VOIP where we can, separate internal pipe for telecom from data.

Thanks for the response, Deez .

Change is as good as a rest!

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post #7 of 13 Old 03-10-2005, 1:17 PM
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

No problem.

Also, where you do go with VoIP, if you do it for the majority, have 1-2 metered landlines as a backup.

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post #8 of 13 Old 03-10-2005, 1:18 PM
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

Also, Cisco has a VoIP phone, and a software solution, look at that if you already haven't.

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post #9 of 13 Old 03-10-2005, 1:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

Cisco seems to have been ruled out by my IT consultant, his preference.

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post #10 of 13 Old 03-10-2005, 1:34 PM
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deez
Also, Cisco has a VoIP phone, and a software solution, look at that if you already haven't.
That would be an excellent option. I went to a couple Cisco VoIP seminars and the cost has come down to where it's competitive with PBX equipment. The Unified Messaging was pretty slick. The "phones" were about $375.00 at that time (LCD display, speakerphone, can't remember number of soft keys) and the sound quality was excellent.
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post #11 of 13 Old 03-10-2005, 1:34 PM
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldfogey
Cisco seems to have been ruled out by my IT consultant, his preference.
Avaya's a good choice then

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post #12 of 13 Old 03-10-2005, 1:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

It's lookin that way at the moment, Communication Manager / ECLIPS v IP Office.

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post #13 of 13 Old 04-08-2005, 3:47 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Telephony recommendations for a small office?

To complete this thread, we did go for the Avaya Communications Manager in the end. Alcatel also provided a competitive solution, but we got better references on the Avaya. Interestingly, we got bad references on the Avaya IP Office, which is a Windows-based solution and just not as reliable. Some of those who had installed it were trying to replace it within a year.

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