Making PBXes Play Well Together

Many enterprises are grappling with a mishmash of technologies from different vendors.

Amid what many in the IT industry see as an inevitable move to IP-based telephony, many enterprises are grappling with a mishmash of technologies from different vendors. To make everything work together smoothly in the transition to IP, IQ NetSolutions Inc. is upgrading its call management software and unveiling companion desktop applications.

Integrating disparate phone technologies—for example, a TDM (time-division multiplexing)-based PBX with an IP PBX—is challenging enough, but integrating disparate technologies from different vendors compounds the difficulty. The latest version of IQ NetSolutions VistaPoint Integrated Call Manager and its new VistaPoint Companion Series desktop applications integrate systems from Nortel Networks Inc. and Mitel Networks Inc.

OfficeScape Inc., which manages incoming calls for about 200 real estate agents around the country, deployed the VistaPoint system to improve efficiency. It is vital that OfficeScapes representatives resolve calls seamlessly so that they appear professional on behalf of their clients, said Steve Ames, director of engineering at OfficeScape, in Indianapolis.

Ames said that the companys previous call management system was slow. "There was a noticeable gap between when the phone would ring and when we could transfer it," he said. "The information created gaps as far as how quickly we could answer calls and how knowledgeable we looked." The previous system displayed a greeting and a list of people with corresponding numbers for transferring, but reps had to transfer calls using the keypad, requiring as much as 30 seconds to resolve each call.

VistaPoint generates a company-specific pop-up screen and a group of corresponding icons that display transfer destinations for each call. The new system cut resolution time approximately in half, helping Ames to increase call volume without increasing staff, he said.

"Its just a matter of dragging the call onto the right icon and letting go," Ames said. "Its night and day. It is so much easier to use."

VistaPoint incorporates "presence" functions, letting users see which colleagues are logged in to the system and whether theyre on the phone or on hold.

The product is well-suited to enterprises loyal to a TDM-based switch vendor but interested in migrating to a voice-over-IP system, said Greg Pisano, director of product management at IQ NetSolutions, in Westboro, Mass.

IQ NetSolutions plans to support additional PBX vendors over the coming months and integrate the VistaPoint products with other office automation products, particularly for customer relationship management, Pisano said.