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Your Old Voice Mail Will Die

There is a reason so many companies have kept that old Audix, Octel, Active Voice, or what have you in service for all those years. It doesn't usually have to do with nostalgia for the days before Unified Messaging, or a love of antique technology. It's a case of dollars and cents. “If it's working, why pay to replace it?” For many organizations, that's fine – until that dark morning when you hear "The voice mail system is down again", and this time you can't revive it.

There are ways to soften the blow or even avoid it altogether. Of course the best way to make sure you don't get that unpleasant call is to address the problem before the system breaks. This might involve proactively replacing hard drives, or laying in a spare voice board or two. Even if the system is still supported by the manufacturer, (and many –for example older Audix - are not), this approach may be cost prohibitive. This is especially true if your Right to Use (RTU) agreement is not exactly Kosher in the eyes of Avaya.

Surprisingly, the best course may be to replace the system altogether. While the Avaya solutions may seem expensive, a case can be made that the income tax advantage of a new depreciation schedule, new business enhancing features, and the security of having a new system under warranty or maintenance justify the purchase.

Another avenue worth examining is the third party voice mail manufacturers. Companies like DuVoice Corporation provide systems with most, if not all of the features available on the OEM solution for as little as half the cost. Suddenly, you can provide a new Unified Messaging, FAX, Automated Attendant solution for little more than the cost of a port upgrade or an RTU to accommodate additional employees.

Even if you cannot get the funds to replace the system before it dies, you can plan for the event. Work with your telecommunications equipment provider to analyze your current and foreseeable messaging needs. Get quotations for replacing the existing system and most important, get agreement from management that “when the day comes,” this is the plan you will implement. Periodically update the replacement plan to reflect new features or price changes.

Whether you proactively replace your system or implement a contingency plan in anticipation of its demise, you will know that you haven't made a high stakes decision under pressure.

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