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Cisco London Partner Forum, apprentices, graduates, growth and investment

Sat with a lot of grey suits at the Cisco London Partner Forum. @richorob is speaking. Cisco always have lots of interesting stats to talk about. They are a rich source of data about the high tech world we live in and make a living out of. You can look on their website for specific stuff, I’m not writing about it here.

What did interest me was the audience response to a couple of questions.

@richorob asked how many in the audience were expecting their businesses to grow this year. My gut feel is that only maybe 25% of people raised their hands. Extending this to 10% or more growth quite a few with their hands up dropped them. I’d say that less than 10% of the audience were expecting double digit sales growth. My hand stayed up btw.

Interesting. Times are clearly hard out there even in a market sector that has always been high growth driven by technological change.

Later he asked how many companies took on apprentices or graduates in their business. The response was astonishing. Maybe 10 or 15 hands went up out of at least 200 people in the room. The businesses in the room are all in the high tech game. They may well be sales orientated but in this world a highly skilled and highly educated workforce is absolutely essential. The quality of the person that you put in front of your customers is the difference between sinking and making that 10% progress. The stream is fast moving.

I’m not just talking about sales people. Our most recent apprentices have been in our reception team and in the IT department and graduate recruits get trained around different departments before deciding on the type of job they would like, except perhaps for the developers who prefer to go into a dark room with other geeks and do their stuff” :).

Times may well be hard out there but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. That’ll do for now – I need to listen to the talks.

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12 thoughts on “Voicemail is for the dead – discuss

  1. Jon Farmer says:

    You are using a pretty rubbish voicemail system if you *HAVE* to dial up to receive it.

    The British do have a particularly hard time with leaving voice messages in my opinion. How often do they wait for the tone and then hang up leaving a useless message.

    Interesting systems that allow you to communicate via short voice messages are starting to gain traction on the Internet via mobiles. So it’s not the concept that is a fault but the poor implementation.

  2. Denesh says:

    Dialling up to retrieve voicemail is dead, however having a voicemail redirected is not dead.

    If people call my personal mobile then if they are in my contacts database they can leave a message. That message not inly appears in my voicemail app but also gets emailed to me. It also gets transcribed. A transcribed message can be IMed or SMSed too.

    Anyone who calls that is not in my contact database or if they call from a withheld number are told not to bother leaving a message and to try again later or send me an email 😉

  3. I think it’s an interesting question, coming from the CTO of a company that sells one of the best voicemail applications for sme’s on the market (along with ourselves!)

    Voicemail is a key component of “Unified Communications” and is there to make life easier. Anybody can call me on one number, get me at my desk, on my mobile, or at home, and on the odd occasion I’m not around, leave me a message. I can listen to, respond, replay, forward (and delete) the message on my mobile, home phone, desk phone, laptop, IPad or IPhone (etc etc etc). if I want to get really “Unified”, it can also read my emails to me (useful when you are driving), allow me to integrate into all sorts of database applications, act as night service, auto attendant and even help me to identify myself!!

    Not dead…..dormant!

  4. I’m with John here, there’s plenty of ways to get that message that don’t require calling someone. In particular, I hate having multiple voicemail systems – it’s why with the converged mobile platform we use, I turn voicemail off on my mobile. I’m slowly working up to taking my mobile numbers off my business card at all.

  5. Andy Ellis says:

    I agree with Jon Farmer – it is a bit of an archaic messaging service if you have to call to retrieve the messages.

    I must admit voice messaging loses that immediateness of contact. I rarely leave voice mail, I simply call back when they will be available. But in complete contrast SMS is no problem, it strangely seems to feel more immediate and personal. I’m not sure whether psychologically vocally speaking to a machine feels impersonal – where SMS messaging always feels personal, even if the language become abbreviated and slightly distorted.

    I additionally use a call centre for certain calls, they simply take the callers details and then email and SMS me the message and details to call back. Strange how this text written messaging ‘feels’ more accessible. Quite a shift, perhaps, in society as a whole.

    1. Trefor Davies tref says:

      Our voicemail is pretty flexible & can be delivered in a number of ways. As well as stimulating the discussion I do think that the way ahead is via presence based services though where you can send an IM

  6. PhilT says:

    I prefer having to dial into voicemail to listen to messages over the infernal Vodafone system that rings you repeatedly like a harasser on speed. A text to inform me of the waiting message and who left it would be useful.

  7. pctech says:

    Not if you are in a telephone based support role like me its definitely not dead.

    My traditional work desk phone has recently been replaced with a VoIP model that works with Lync and a call handling system.

    For security reasons which I perfectly understand Lync does not allow me to add contacts outside the organisation I work for nor can I run Skype as that’s blocked on the firewall too, fair enough.

    The phone has voicemail and an external number but as its part of a call handling system its pointless me giving it out to anyone as I’m either on a call with a customer or away from desk having my lunch for example.

    Now most will send me an SMS but there are a couple that insist on phoning and I can’t very well ask a customer to hold while I answer my personal mobile can I and if I did I think my boss might have a few things to say.

    I’m thinking of acquiring a Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 so I might start using Whatsapp messenger

  8. Gary Hough says:

    Voicemail should be used as one option in a multitude of options that you can make available to your colleagues, customers, family, friends etc.

    Voicemail is useful in screening (Some might insert the word avoidance here) cold callers or where you might be up to your eyes in something far more important at that time (No not Facebook 8 ball pool) that means you cannot immediately talk to the caller at that specific moment.

    Voicemail isn’t dead at all in my opinion but you do need to apply some sense to it’s use and the contact options you set up for those who need to communicate with you.

  9. Trefor Davies tref says:

    We certainly have started to use the answer machine at home to screen Indian Call centres. I think everyone should have an autoattendant – call centre scammers press 1, mother in law press 2 etc. Few people call the home phone for genuine reasons nowadays other than the aged parents. Everyone has a mobile.

  10. Somerset says:

    So genuine reasons are not rare earth metal markets, fine wine or carbon credits?

  11. Trefor Davies tref says:

    Nope.not when you are registered with the TPS

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