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.