Monday, January 14, 2008

Avaya IP Office: Phone Manager -- What were they thinking?

I have to say that I've met a new low in bad applications from big companies--the Avaya Phone Manager Pro (works--using the term loosely--with IP Office). Let's see what wrong with it:

  • Doesn't work with Vista: vista has been out for more than a year and is the choice of lots of business users. It can't be that hard to make the program work with vista! (Actually, the application barely works with Visa, the softphone doesn't work at all.)
  • Completely unique skins: the program doesn't pick up any of the windows colors or themes. For some reason the kid that programmed it decided that he liked brushed metal--which doesn't look anything like windows in general or the phones. If it was to mimic the phones the application should use dark gray type on a light gray background. (The Avaya phones have almost no contrast on the screens.)
  • It's a PC application; you'd think you could record voice menus using the PC. No! (Remember, we're Avaya we think like Western Electric.)
  • You can sort of control your voice mail from the application; however you can't forward your messages to email, save them on your computer or even forward them to another extension from the PC application.
  • You can't control how voice mail to email works using Phone Manager. This option is only available via an obscure setting on the phone.
  • Number displays can't be formatted. Phone numbers display 99085551234; the probably could have tossed the programmer a couple of more bones and had it displayed as 9 908-555-1234 (for extra credit, they could of allowed a formatting string).
  • The caller ID information isn't displayed with the voicemail tab (but is displayed in the other call listings).
  • There is a check for update under the help menu, but it's not yet implemented (yo...we are on release 4.20 now!)
  • How many different speed dial lists can we have: the speed dial on phone manager are stored locally on your computer and are completely separate from the user speed dials stored on the phone.
  • Speed dials for the internal have to be added one at a time (did the programmer ever hear of shift-click?).
  • The profile is stored on the local machine and in a non-standard location; re-installing the application trashes the profile.
  • Someone else pointed out that the application doesn't work with Citrix servers (can't confirm this as we don't use one).

If you are considering an IP Office system, look pretty hard at the flaws in Phone Manager. They are indicative of the quality of IP Office.


Bitt said...

I couldn't agree with you more. You have to wonder what 17-year-old they contracted to write this piece of crap, and what the percentage of the total development time that was spent on the stupid, ugly skins was.

Bitt said...

My biggest peeve is that virtually the only useful thing about the application is the random access to voicemail, and if you have it set to hide itself when there are no calls, for some reason it decides to hide itself when you start to play the first message. And then when you bring it back up, the voicemail tab is no longer selected.

Also, there is more information on the phone display for an incoming call than there is on PMP. CallerID, for one thing.

And, despite the fact that there's an option to call a number back, there seems to be no way to have it prepend the "9" to get an external line, or, for that matter, to dial "1" first.

I've come to find lately that technology products that purport to have features that then fail to work is more irritating than simply not having those features to begin with.