Enterprise Communications

Avaya Messaging Service Fills a Gap in the UC&C Application Stack

by Michael Brandenburg 15 Oct 2013
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“Kids these days, they would rather text than talk on their phones.”

As a member of Generation X, I can attest that this sentiment is becoming our generation’s equivalent to “Get off my lawn”. Nonetheless, it’s clear that the rules of personal and business communications are changing. We’ve all seen the stories that have been written about the Millennials, the generation of kids born between 1982 and 2004. As they enter the workforce, pundits say, business communications will have to adapt to these children of the Information Age. Avaya has seen to it that text messaging, which has been largely ignored or relegated to niche verticals, is now a solid communications avenue for businesses of all sizes. More importantly, Avaya is offering it in a way that businesses can actually manage.

In simplest terms, the cloud-based Avaya Messaging Service (AMS) enables short message services (SMS) to be associated with corporate direct-in-dial (DID) numbers. At launch, Avaya’s new text and picture message service will work with North American carrier partners to support the +1 country code. Users can receive notifications via dedicated apps on their smartphone, tablet, or PC, which will no doubt be a relief for those that are still struggling to type on smartphone or tablet virtual keyboards.. In many ways, the functionality is an enterprise version of Apple’s iMessage service available to iOS and Mac users.

Simple terms, however, understate the capabilities of this service. By text-enabling enterprise DIDs, AMS reestablishes the traditional separation between work and personal communications, and re-enforces the users’ professional and personal personas. By design, messages related to work exist in a dedicated Avaya app, rather the device’s built-in SMS app. At present, given the popularity of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and users, enterprise users who want to engage colleagues, suppliers, or even customers via text messages have to give out their personal cell numbers. AMS essentially updates one-number reach for the smartphone era, rolling text messages into a single number on your business card, as well as removing the pain associated with phone number changes that can occur on a user’s mobile device.

The separation of work/personal communications is an important consideration for businesses. As the clearinghouse of mobile messaging, AMS puts the enterprise in control of the conversation. Businesses can set retention and archive policies to adhere to corporate or regulatory compliance. Equally important, however, is the fact that customer interaction is maintained within the organization. For example, by associating text messaging with a salesperson’s DID number, the business can retain that conversion with the customer if the salesperson leaves the company.

Ultimately, AMS addresses a gap in the unified communications stack that most of us even didn’t recognize was there, and does so in an elegant over-the-top approach. There are competing offerings available from hosted UC providers and independent developers for specific verticals, but Avaya’s approach with AMS offers significantly less friction to deploy. With Avaya Messaging Service, businesses can tell Millenials to text to their heart’s content, but do so on the organization’s terms.

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