Office Holiday: Co-Workers, Clients Tag Along on Family Vacations

Jun 28, 2004, 01:00 ET from Avaya Inc.

    BASKING RIDGE, N.J., June 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- An increasing
 number of vacationing workers include laptop computers, cell phones and PDAs
 with their beach towels, sunscreen and paperbacks in order to stay in touch
 with office business.  According to survey results released today by Avaya
 Inc., a leading global provider of communications networks and services for
 businesses, voice over IP (VoIP) and other new technologies have given
 business communications its highest profile in years, but employers and users
 are struggling with a host of communications-related issues.  Key findings
      *  85 percent of respondents remain accessible to co-workers during
         nights, weekends and vacations
      *  76 percent regularly retrieve messages during time off
      *  54 percent said they sometimes feel "overwhelmed by pervasive
         communications," and 93 percent of these people reported a "negative
         effect on quality of life"
     Nearly 300 information-technology professionals representing a variety of
 industries responded to the survey in March. The results indicate that voice
 over IP, wireless technologies and other sophisticated business communications
 applications are posing challenges to enterprises deploying them, and
 intruding on the personal lives of these professionals.
     About 61 percent of respondents reported they work more hours in a typical
 week due to communications capabilities that allow working away from the
 office.  A quarter of all respondents said they work two to five hours more,
 while 17 percent said the addition exceeds five hours.
     To help enterprises manage and deploy communications technologies in a
 fashion that optimizes functionality, productivity and management of
 communications for users, Avaya has launched a formal Business Communications
 Consulting practice.
     "Many enterprises, large to small, private to public, are finding that
 even if they have the best and newest communications technologies, they need
 help in making it all work well, without overwhelming them," said Peter
 Licata, vice president of Consulting and Integration Services for Avaya. "And
 while the IT professionals we surveyed may be more exposed to some of these
 issues than the general workforce, their responses don't differ greatly from
 what we see on a daily basis."
     The survey results indicate that enterprises need help in reaching that
 ideal. Despite the respondents' intimate familiarity with their local IT
 processes, 57 percent said their employers do not give clear direction and
 assistance to employees in one or more of the following: setting up a robust
 home office; traveling as a fully equipped road warrior; implementing a
 wireless local-area-network card; or implementing a PDA device.
     "Devices, systems and protocols from a range of sources are multiplying,
 converging and overlapping, creating confusion for users and employers alike,"
 said Licata. "What will differentiate enterprises going forward is whether
 they incorporate these developments in a manner that simplifies and improves
 the efficiency of their communications, rather than just adding more
 complexity. Ultimately, these improvements should also help workers manage
 personal time more effectively and enjoyably, too."
     In fact, 61 percent in the survey said that on at least one occasion
 they'd had an important communication delayed because they or the other person
 didn't know the best medium to use at the time, creating response gaps and
 wasted effort.
     "It's clear from our research that enterprises stand to benefit like never
 before from communications, but they can use some help in doing so," said
 Licata. "For instance, we find enterprises using architectures and processes
 that can be made more efficient.  We can help these firms by designing
 solutions that streamline processes, improve quality and cost less to run.
 It's all about optimizing performance and creating a seamless, consistent
 customer experience."
     Business Communications Consulting professionals, drawing on a wide-
 ranging variety of areas of expertise, meet with senior IT personnel. Together
 they examine the enterprise's business goals, network architecture, and
 workforce profiles, to find areas for improvement, and develop plans to
 address them.
     Enterprises are seeking help across a variety of areas, including customer
 interactions; securing communications networks for regulatory compliance;
 developing disaster-recovery and business continuity plans; integrating multi-
 vendor platforms and applications; accelerating return on communications
 investments; and better understanding how they can use communications
 technology to cut costs, increase revenues, and build customer loyalty.
     "Whether it's secure communications, customer interactions, or technology-
 migration strategies, Avaya understands communications better than anyone, and
 we're in a unique position to help enterprises move from where they are today
 to where they need to be," Licata said.
     About Avaya
     Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more
 than 1 million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE
 500(R).  Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in
 secure and reliable Internet Protocol (IP) telephony systems and
 communications software applications and services.
     Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business
 applications -- and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services -- Avaya
 helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior
 business results.  For more information visit the Avaya website:

SOURCE Avaya Inc.