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Avaya survey finds many workers ‘struggling’ with communications-related issues

An increasing number of vacationing workers are packing laptop computers, cell phones and PDAs in order to stay in...

June 28, 2004  

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An increasing number of vacationing workers are packing laptop computers, cell phones and PDAs in order to stay in touch with office business.

According to survey results released today by Avaya Inc., 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 reveal that:

* 85% of respondents remain accessible to co-workers during nights, weekends and vacations;

* 76% regularly retrieve messages during time off, and

* 54% said they sometimes feel “overwhelmed by pervasive communications,” and 93% of these people reported a “negative effect on quality of life”

Nearly 300 IT professionals representing a variety of industries responded to the survey in March. The results indicate that voice over IP, wireless technologies and other business communications applications are posing challenges to enterprises deploying them, and intruding on the personal lives of these professionals.

An estimated 61% 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% 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 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 PeterLicata, 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% 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% 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.

Enterprises are seeking help across a variety of areas including developing disaster-recovery and business continuity plans and integrating multi-vendor platforms and applications.