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May 2007
Volume 10 / Number 5
Case Studies

Enventys turns to AltiGen

By Erik K. Linask, Case Study

Out With the Old

Enventys is a product design and marketing firm with the goal of being a singular solution for product development. It focuses on the end-to-end process, from ideation to distribution, developing simple, yet effective strategies for launching new products or developing existing ones. Being at the forefront of leading edge product development with many prominent Fortune 100 companies as well as start-ups - Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, Verizon Wireless, and Siemens, to name a few - it is easy to see why it also felt it needed the latest in communications technology.

Enventys was using an “old” PBX system - it really wasn’t very old at only five years, but perhaps the more appropriate term would be outdated PBX system that simply was not able to meet its evolving needs.

The company’s founder, Louis Foreman, explained that, while the existing telephony platform didn’t have anything terribly wrong with it, neither did it offer all the features he would have liked, and which he knew were available from newer IP-based phone systems.

Considering the Alternatives Enventys considered the hosted model, but decided it was too big - especially with its current growth rate. In addition, the company was willing to make the investment in on-premises equipment that would provide more control as needs changed.

“We make decisions based on efficiency rather than on cost,” said Foreman.

So, after looking at six or seven alternatives - all the key players in the space, according to Foreman - Enventys chose AltiGen. AltiGen (news - alert) offered a competitive product at a very reasonable price, but with the features and flexibility Enventys was keen on acquiring.


In With the New

So, having decided that AltiGen was the way to go, Enventys bought two MAX 1000 systems, which together give the company room to expand to as many as 96 extensions. Currently, it has about 60 in use, but, as Foreman noted, growth potential factored into the decision to deploy an on-premises solution.

The MAX1000 is an all-in-one system that performs most of the functions many systems require two, three, or even more appliances to handle, which not only adds to the cost, but also the maintenance requirements. Each MAX1000 supports as many as 48 extensions, and include 4,500 hours of voice mail storage, an integrated conference bridge, call recording functionality, mobility solutions, auto attendant features, SIP trunking support, and more.

According to Foreman, the installation went remarkably smoothly. In fact, the only hiccup, if it can even be labeled as such, was that Enventys had to be completely wired - there had to be a Cat 5 cable to each office.

“But that’s a small price to pay to have that kind of capability,” consoled Foreman. “It’s nice to have flexibility, and to be able to change call routing schemes and make adds and changes. For once, I feel like we’re in control of our phone system.”

Enventys even has two remote employees - in Asia - whom they have added network extensions for, so, despite being thousands of miles away, they can easily interact with main office personnel and gain the benefits the MAX1000 offers.


Assessing the MAX1000

According to Foreman, three of the most beneficial features of the system - and the three he uses most frequently - are call forwarding, the conference bridge, and Outlook integration.

“These are the features that have proven to be time saving and efficiency boosting features for me,” said Foreman. “There also are all the features that are taken for granted these days - kind of like power locks and air conditioning on a car. They just come with them. Instead, it’s the new things that we’re excited about.”

The call forward feature, he says, is among the most important features today, since it enables forwarding to a cell phone, allowing you to react to incoming calls as though you are at your desk - even though you might be on a train, in a hotel, or shopping for an anniversary gift.

Most of the other options Enventys considered had a conference bridge available, but at an added cost. The nice thing, says Foreman, is that AltiGen includes the bridge in its system, which make it a very easy solution to like. And of course, the Outlook integration, which can display information on the monitor based on the incoming call. Foreman says that he doesn’t gain the full benefits of this, since he is not in sales, but the feature enables users to instantly see all pertinent information about a caller, making interactions more pleasant and more efficient.

In addition to the functionality of the system, AltiGen’s phones themselves have “a nice look and feel to them.” Though people are beginning to use headsets more and more, and answering calls via their computer monitors, the phones look nice in a modern office environment and are completely functional. In fact, Enventys purchases two extra phones that employees can take with them when traveling. They merely need to plug them into a network connection, and they instantly have connectivity, as though they were still at their desk.

Though it has only been using the MAX100 system for about a month, it is evident the Enventys is patently pleased with its choice. Not only does it meet its needs with regard to features and ease of use, but it is also scalable should the company need to add a third unit. One thing is certain: this proves that there is on-premises equipment available for the SMB space that is both feature rich and affordable.

Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY, IMS Magazine, and SIP Magazine.


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