Cisco versus Avaya versus Mitel

Unanswered Question
May 14th, 2010

We are trying to make a decision about a phone system.  We have approximately 30 phones with some somewhat complex ACD routing.  We are just trying to make sure the phone system will do what it's meant to do.  We are also looking at ease of administration/maintenance, changes, additions, etc.  I would like input on the following features if the Cisco phone/phone system can handle it.   It is very confusing trying to understand the different Cisco product lines and how they differ and that is why I am posting this to try and get some straight answers on what will work. Salesman say one thing but when it gets down to the nitty gritty of how it actually works is another thing.

The system quoted was for Cisco Unity Express, Communication Mgr Express, 2921 Integrated Services Router,

Cisco Unified Contact Center Express v7, UCSS for CCX.

      a. Can a user log into multiple acd groups at one time with a single button login on the phone or do they have to login to each acd group individually?
      b. Our setup will require logging into groups and backup groups unless Cisco supports "expansion groups" (a term that one system uses for this functionality) where if a call cascades from one group to the next it will continue to look at the 1st group to see if anyone becomes available. This would eliminate the need to have multiple groups. Does Cisco support expansion groups?

We would like for a call to go to a queue example queue A.  After 30 seconds it goes to another queue for 20 seconds.  Then after that another queue for 20 seconds.  The queue base gets bigger and bigger until the call is answered. We want it to keep trying members in the previous queue.  We have seen this done 2 ways.  Expanded queues and having members in more than one queue. The expanded queues works nice in the fact we

We would like the call as it flows from queue to queue to maintain total wait time or take on a different priority so it gets answered first


      We are unable to find a system that works as simply (as few keystrokes and buttons as possible) as our current system when it comes to Park / Pickup / Hold.    We are looking at the Cisco 7900 series phones.            

      a) Currently we can put a call on hold, go hunt down who we are looking for (unknown location and possibly unknown person) and have them pick up the phone call from any other phone by pressing Pickup button, my extension button.  1 click to put on hold, 2 clicks to pickup without remembering any special parking lots.

      b) Currently we can pickup a ringing phone AND on hold phone on anyone's extension by hitting Pickup (ext#).  Preferably we would like to keep the same button as above. The pickup button picks up both ringing and on hold calls. PICKUP BUTTON + EXTENSION OR BLF

      c) Currently we can park a call on an extension (if the person is already on a phone call with someone else).  When that extension hangs up the phone, the phone rings again.  If after X seconds they don't hang up it rings back the parkee extension.  PARK BUTTON + EXTENSION OR BLF

The terms I am using are what we use here but may not be what Cisco uses.  We are open to options but would rather not add more keystrokes to do the same items. Maybe there are workarounds you have used in the past or can think of a code that would allow us to continue using this functionality.



       3. How long before Cisco drops support of the 7900 phones where they stop throwing devlopment time to upgrade firmware to work with the latest versions of

       4. What tool does Cisco offer to customize the soft keys / screen on a 7900 phone.  With Avaya they offer a Screen designer where we can customize it. Does Cisco have anything like that?


      5.  How often is the system need rebooted. On Avaya if you add an IP endpoint you have to reboot the system along with other reasons as well. Do the phones reboot when the system reboots or do they stay on? We have applications that if they lose their network connection they are dead in the water.  The less phone reboots the better.


      6.  We would like to have unified communications but it looks like Personal Call Connector Server does not sync with the main database of phones.  Is this another administrative headache or does it interact with the main system?

Thanks in advance for your time.  You can pick and choose what you want to answer.  You can just put the number like 2c and the answer.    I know this is a lot of questions but we don't like to be "surprised" on a sizable investment. Any input on why Cisco is a better choice than Avaya and Mitel would be appreciated to if we are missing something.  Thanks!


I have this problem too.
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Jonathan Schulenberg Fri, 05/14/2010 - 11:06

I will answer what I can:

1a: If they are using CCX, then this is more than one button. The IPPA XML service on the phone requires a username/password login. An agent is all in or all out; they cannot select the skills which they are taking calls for. This must be done by an administrator or supervisor if they are provided access.

1b: Based on your description the answer is yes. A caller can be simultaniously queued against up to 25 CSQs in CCX. The thresholds or conditions under which it is added to additional CSQs are up to whomever writes the script.

2a: Call Pickup does not do this in the Cisco product, only alerting [ringing] calls can be picked up. Directed Call Pickup does allow you to specify the DN to pickup.

2b: The GPickUp or PickUp soft key does this.

2c: What you are describing is called Camping which is not native to either CME or UCM. Directed Call Park can be configured to revert to an extension however.

3: Quite a while as they are currently being sold and aren't going anywhere anytime soon. End of support is typically five years after the announcement and done on a per-model basis.

4: Available background images and ring tones are configured on the CME router and available to a user to select. CME does not support the Phone Designer application that UCM does.

5: CME router should not be restarted on any regular basis. It runs on Cisco IOS and is generally quite stable. Configuration changes do not require a restart of the router; however, they do typically require the phone to restart.

6: I cannot answer this one.

My parting comment on this one is that you will be required to accept change. No PBX works identically and each will have features the other doesn't. CME is a great product; focus on what you gain and don't get hung up on the minutia. Whatever wasn't there is usually forgotten about six-twelve months after deployment anyways.


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