Presence: why it’s important to businesses
You are missing out if you and your colleagues don’t share presence information. Saving everyone small amounts of effort with every call soon adds up. It takes the brakes off your organisation, making it quicker to respond and easier to manage. Presence is often first thing that our customers talk about when we ask them how their system has improved their working day.
To start with something easy: it’s really good to know who is on or off the phone. You might want to transfer a call or maybe just talk to them. A good handset will have speed dial buttons for your closest colleagues. The light next to the button tells you if they are on the phone, so you just need to wait for it to go out and push the button to talk. It’s really easy to underestimate how much easier this makes things, especially if the organisation is spread over multiple offices.
For further time savings, we need to move to your computer which can show more information on screen. This is called “rich presence”. For example you can see if a colleague has meetings booked in their Outlook calendar, if they have a lot of voicemail building up, or if they’ve diverted calls to their mobile.
Rich presence really pays off for fast moving organisations because nobody has to keep anything updated, you just sit down and log in, and everybody knows where you are and how to reach you.
The technology doesn’t have to be expensive. There’s a good chance that you already have the tools you need. For example Avaya provides a free presence application called Phone Manager Lite with all IP Office telephone systems, while Swyx includes all of these features by default. You’ve also go the option of using a separate service. We’ve successfully used Microsoft Live Messenger, Google Talk and iChat in conjunction with telephone systems to deliver these services at very low cost.
If you’re serious about communication, I strongly recommend you add some form presence to your systems.