Working as a voice engineer at a big company can seem like a thankless job. Every morning, a new stack of phone-related tickets is waiting for you: Change my voicemail password, update my phone number, change my PIN number, forward my calls, fix the spelling of my name–on, and on, ad infinitum.
Some of these tickets can take up to two weeks to close, depending on their complexity. That complexity multiplies if your company runs legacy phone systems from multiple vendors.
One 8,000-employee company was spending more than 3,000 help desk hours per year on password reset requests and other simple administrative tasks, said Teresa Dixon, Director of Product Management at Minneapolis-based Unimax, which makes a range of unified voice administration products.
“That’s astronomical,” she said.
She says it can cost as much as $85 in IT labor time for a company to complete a single MAC–a “move, add, change” telephone request–depending on whether the company employs an in-house voice engineering team, or outsources the work.
At Avaya’s Converge2013 conference in Orlando, Fla. earlier this year, Unimax launched a new product called HelpOne, designed to streamline the “move, add, change” process for Tier 1 help desk agents with virtually no voice administration experience.
Unimax executives demoed the product on an International Avaya Users Group webinar earlier this week.
HelpOne’s web-based portal gives help desk agents the ability to reset voicemail passwords and phone PINs, set speed dial shortcuts, call forwarding and simultaneous ring settings, voicemail notification preferences and more, in a matter of minutes, rather than hours.
HelpOne also allows administrators to throttle access to specific, advanced features on an individual basis, for example, giving a brand new help desk agent access to a limited range of MAC commands, while opening up a wider range of commands to more seasoned agents.
By giving basic voice administration tasks to help desk agents, trained voice engineers can instead turn their attention to tackling bigger projects internally. Unimax estimates HelpOne (and related productsLineOne and 2nd Nature) save their customers as much as 50 percent in voice administration-related costs per year. HelpOne and LineOne are offered either as a hosted, cloud solution or installed on-premise.
Unimax’s customer list is extensive, ranging from medium-sized companies with 1,000 employees to major multinationals with more than 100,000 employees. The company says it’s collectively saved customers millions of dollars in phone administration costs over the past 20 years.
The company was founded in a dorm room at the University of Minnesota in 1991. It has been an official Avaya development partner since the start of the Avaya DevConnect program.
“As a starving computer science student, I took a part-time job managing a PBX for a multitenant office building,” founder Andrew Hunkins wrote in an email this week. “The moves, adds and changes were time-consuming and the user interface was built for system administrators, not regular people. One character out of place in a command could have drastic unintended consequences.”
Hunkins wrote an application to send commands to the PBX. Subsequent versions of that application formed the basis for the 2nd Nature platform, which today is certified on Avaya, Nortel, Cisco, AVST, Microsoft and other voice communication systems.