Wait, you already have that feature!

As someone employed in the technology industry, I will be the first to admit I don’t read any of the manuals that come with the electronics I buy. Why? Because I know what I bought the item to do, and if it performs those functions, I don’t really need to know what else it does. Which is probably the reason my DVD player still blinks 12:00AM on the front.

I bring this up because that mindset seems to happen more and more to customers in our industry as telephony is being plugged into all parts of a business under the guise of ‘Unified Communications’. 

Here’s an example. IBM recently presented a webinar on the telephony features they added to SameTime. We’ve been working with IBM to integrate our products with SameTime, and I noticed one of our long time customers was attending the session. We’ll call him Mr. Smith for this post. After the webinar I contacted him to get his thoughts on the presentation. He said most of the items they already have with our system, but then mentioned a feature concerning call rules, presence and routing to multiple numbers, as something he found intriguing.

At which point we entered into the typical dialog this post is all about:
    Brad: “Wait, you already have that feature!”
    Mr. Smith: “Really, when did we get that?”
    Brad:”When we installed the system 6 years ago”

Mr. Smith had the feature, but it wasn’t core to why he installed our system, so he never pursued it.  I see this happen quite often with all vendors, and the conversation blossoms into what else is out there and/or do I already have that ability.

Another example. Last week I presented a webinar with InfoWeek and Leaden Associates, about planning for the future if you’re a Nortel customer.

Shameless self promoting plug below:

We touched on the business aspects of a world without Nortel, as well as a brief overview of our products. The questions we received after the session show that Nortel customers are going back to their manuals. Most of what I answered centered on what they have today, and may not be using, and how those features are implemented in newer products.

It happens all over this industry. I was recently in a conversation with 2 friends, one from Avaya and one from Aspect. Yes, I have friends at those companies. The talks usually turn to friendly ribbing about customers won/lost, and my Aspect friend mentioned they just grabbed a large account from Avaya. How? They showed an ROI on implementing multi-media into the contact center. A feature that the customer’s Avaya system already had, just not implemented. But the customer didn’t know that until after they’d gone looking for a new solution.

So if you’re about to dive into the UC pool, take a step back and study what you’ve got.
Am I concerned I just blogged to potential customers telling them to keep what they have? Not at all, the more informed a customer is about what they have and what’s available, the better it is for everyone.


That’s all for now. I have to go explore two new features I just found on my cell phone. Don’t worry, I didn’t read the manual, my 11 year old daughter did and texted me the info. She must take after her mother.

Brad Herrington

Brad Herrington

Brad Herrington

As a Manager in the Solutions Marketing Group, Brad is responsible for the product direction and marketing strategy of the suite of products offered by Interactive Intelligence. Solutions Marketing is also the outward facing delivery team for webinar, seminar, analyst and media presentations as well as prospect and end customer demonstrations. His experience includes more than 20 years in the contact center and telephony industry, including the past 16 years with Interactive Intelligence focused on both the traditional and IP telephony markets.