Why the most requested unified communications (UC) feature isn’t even a UC feature

Would it surprise you to learn that the most requested Unified Communication (UC) feature I see requested isn’t even a UC feature?

In fact it’s a forgotten, and often overlooked, basic telephony feature that has been available on phone systems prior to even Voice-over-IP.

Case in point: recently, my firm surveyed a large Toronto health-care organization and discovered, once again, that 93 per cent of the departments surveyed wanted this legacy feature, a simple, yet effective feature which IT hasn’t taken the time or consideration to “turn on.”

So, if you’re thinking about purchasing a new UC system, but you’re having a difficult time getting the executive support and funding, I’d recommend programming this forgotten feature to give your organization a “taste of UC” which will force them to come back hungry for more.

Any idea what this old-school feature is?

The UC feature I’m talking about is Single Number Reach (SNR) – a virtual phone number service that allows you to forward a number to numbers of your choice, wherever and on whichever device.

In today’s world where everyone has too many phone numbers, it creates unnecessary confusion and is the cause of time-wasting phone tag. SNR is the ability to use and share just one number. When you receive a call to that number, the phone system routes the incoming call to multiple devices.

Benefits of SNR

You could use the same phone number for your office desk-phone, smartphone and other call enabled devices. No more phone tag, and no more headaches.

Even better, you can tie this number to a corporate Direct Inward Dial (DID) number so that if an employee leaves, that DID number can be easily reprogrammed on the phone system to reroute to the new replacement or manager.

This gives you complete ownership of the number since you won’t require employees to use their own personal numbers when using their personal devices. This is a perfect solution for when a sales person leaves to another organization or, worse, a competitor.

Once you’ve “turned on” this feature you can combine this with other features to make it more powerful.

With Unified Messaging (another legacy feature) you can eliminate the need for users to have multiple voicemail boxes across different devices. With these two feature you’ve given your organization’s employees the benefit of one number and one voicemail regardless of which device they choose to use.

If you setup these two features and someone calls your number and leaves a voicemail, you will receive a voicemail notification not only on your desk-phone, but it will be sent as a .WAV file in the form of an attachment to your e-mail for listening anywhere. When you listen to this message on your desk-phone or by email (using your smartphone or PC speakers), the Unified Messaging feature removes the notification across all devices and systems.

What’s best, SNR is available at no cost on most phone systems. Whereas Unified Messaging will vary based on the capability of your current phone system. In short, see if your current phone system already supports both features.

If you’re thinking about buying a brand new UC solution, and you’d like to “wow” your executives and employees to get the funding you need, set it up! And if possible, take it to the next level with Unified Messaging.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Emily Nielsen
Emily Nielsenhttp://www.NielsenITConsulting.com
Emily regularly acts as a trusted advisor to some of Canada’s largest organizations. In 1999, Emily launched what has become one of Canada’s top Unified Communications and Call Center Consulting firms, Nielsen Consulting. Clients work with Emily when they want to dramatically shortcut their way to the perfect solution to their most challenging communication problems.

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