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phwinmd Offline OP
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Hello,

My name is Patrick. I am a physician starting a new private practiced in a building I just built. It has been designed for two separate companies to reside in the building but if my practice takes off, I may use the entire building for myself. That being said, I may branch off and start a different corporation to occupy the second half of the building that would require a separate name and phone/fax numbers. As it stands, I've 2 other employees, 2 phone lines, 1 fax line and I'm looking to install a phone system to handle calls to the office. When my practice takes off I will probably have 3-5 additional employees including one other physician in this company. I'm looking for a phone system that will work for us now, but is expandable for the future.

I contacted two local telephone installation companies who install Vodavi and Avaya phone systems. As one might expect, the company selling the Avaya phone system says I will be unhappy with a Vodavi system, and Vodavi says their system is more than suitable for my situation.

My contractor (for the building) is excellent friends with the phone company selling Vodavi and stands by their work. The company selling the Avaya system has a less favorable standing in the eyes of the contractor...either way it is my decision on what system to go with.

Here are the systems they have suggested.

Avaya
1 x Partner ACS 509 R7.0 Processor
1 x Partner Voice Messaging 2 Port 4 Mailboxes
4 x 18 Btn Display Set
1 x 4CO Surge Protector (protection for phone lines)
1x 4AC Surge Protector (protection for AC power)

Vodavi
1 x Basic STSe Gold KSU w/4 lines by 8 digital stations
4 x 24 Button Digital Speakerphone w/Display
1 x 8 Port Flash In-Skin VM Module

Are these sytems comparable in features? The warranty seems better for the Vodavi, but I'm not sure it cover lightening protection like the Avaya system. Will either system work if I divide the building and run two separate corporations with different phone numbers/fax numbers?

The cost is comparable...I'm just looking for the product that will suit my needs best...and I'm looking for some unbiased 3rd party assistance.

Any input will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much,
Patrick.
:confused:

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Both systems are top quality as far as equipment is concerned. I won't be able to recomend one over the other however I can say this with cetainty. The actual equipment itself is only a minor percentage of the overall picture. The most important factor in the decision is the representative behind the sale.

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Both are good systems with thousands in use. So I'd say go with the best company. As far as a warranty that covers lightening I don't believe that would be a manufactures warranty, so check that out pretty close. Protection on the lines and power is your best insurance against lightening and power surges.


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phwinmd Offline OP
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So both systems are comparable and will do the job I want, now and in the future?

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phwinmd, Also see the reply in Vodavi, I've locked that one so we don't have duplicate post running. In answer to your question, Yes.


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If you are going to have 2 sep. co. using vmail, with sep. company greeting for certain lines,Avaya vmail is to small and does not expand.Have Avaya dealer offer bigger Vmail.

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The Vodavi offers a bit more in flexibility with regard to the voice mail since it can handle multiple entities and up to eight simultaneous calls. You might want to invest a little extra in the Vodavi system to add a remote programming modem so that your dealer can perform programming and maintenance without the need for a service visit. It's a small price to pay since it allows programming of the phone system AND the voice mail in one unit. Be sure to ask about it.

On the other hand, Avaya has more brand name recognition due to the original Partner products being marketed under the AT&T name. The Partner is expected to remain in current production until 2010. As was already suggested, you really should explore the cost of a larger voice mail offering with the Partner if you will be operating as separate companies.

Both systems operate on platforms that date well back to the early 1990's, so it's safe to assume that they are stable investments.

I think that everyone here will agree that the key to a satisfactory installation is a strong relationship with the equipment vendor. Reputation is everything. Remember that you are entering into a long term relationship with the vendor, not the manufacturer. Be sure to check references, licensing and insurance coverage held by both parties.

This forum alone has plenty of end-user feedback regarding both of these systems. Feel free to browse the Avaya-Lucent and Vodavi Categories. Being two of the most popular products from these manufacturers, there is plenty of information to be had.


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The Avaya voice mail that was quoted only offers 4 mailboxes. It will not handle the anticipated growth of your own practice let alone a 2nd entity. You will want to have the Avaya dealer upgrade his quote to include the current version of the more robust Partner Messaging which will add a decent chunk of change to the price. If you truly expect to have two operations you want to look at a system that offers "tenant services" capability. This will allow each entity to have separate "zero out" destinations and music on hold. The Vodavi brand of equipment is just fine as far as quality is concerned and if the company selling them is highly recommended and the warranty appears better then as long as the system does what you want it seems like the decision should be fairly simple. You should ask for some references from both companies - ideally you will find someone else you know and trust on their reference list.

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No brainer... The Vodavi proposal is much closer to what you will need now and for future growth.

1- The Vodavi quote is for 24 button phones as opposed to 18 for the Avaya . ( You will be surprised at how fast the buttons will disappear after features, stations , and lines are programmed.

2- The Vodavi proposal is for an 8 port 64 mailbox voice mail / auto attendant as opposed to a 2 port( ? ) 4 mailbox ( ? ). Wow.

3- The Vodavi proposal is also for the "Gold Software ". This will allow you to use either 8, 24, or 30 button telephones. I don't know whether the Avaya gives you that option.

These are the main reasons at a glance that I would choose Vodavi. However, you definitely need to check their references and go with the company that will provide you with the best service. I am a Vodavi dealer so yes, I am biased. Biased or not, this appears to be a no brainer to me.


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As an Avaya dealer the only major difference is the voice messaging. The little 4 mailbox/2 port VM quoted by your Avaya dealer is only capable of one menu, certainly not what you are going to need for multiple companies. There is a 12 mailbox version, but it too only supports only one menu. You are going to need the Partner Messaging R7. That supports four separate auto attendents that can handle four companies and 200 mailboxes if you needed to. I actually wouldn't worry too much about the number of ports. Surprisingly two ports are satisfactory in many instances where it isn't hammered like most small businesses. If you find that two isn't enough you can always upgrade the license card.

I would also question the dealer to see if he is actually authorized by Avaya to sell Avaya products. That can be easily done by going to the Avaya site. I would also check the Vodavi dealer but it's less likely he is not legitimate. Avaya products are available all over the net as gray market and it seems everybody and their grandmothers are selling it. The reason I question it is because the ACS R7 continues to have problems, many legitimate dealers will know enough to sell only the R6. Both the R6 and R7 are just as current, offer the same feature set but differ only in the number of lines and extensions on the one module.

-Hal


CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 65 WARNING: Some comments made by me are known to the State of California to cause irreversible brain damage and serious mental disorders leading to confinement.
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