Lucent lets you order and buy phones online

Lucent Technologies Inc. of Murray Hills, N.J., is launching a test program that will
let users design, order and finance a telephone system online.


“We are trying it with about 700 government customers around the country,”
said Denise Gibson, director of government sales for Lucent Direct.


The federal users represent a cross-section of agencies with offices that could use the
small to midsized Partner Advanced Communications System, a telephone key system.


Since 1996, users have ordered specific products from the Lucent Direct online catalog
at http://www.lucentdirect.com, but the Partner ACS is the first system customers can
configure online. They also can specify whether they want to buy or lease, pay by credit
card or direct billing, and get credit approval.


Partner ACS was chosen for the trial because it is easy to configure through a series
of plain-language questions, Gibson said. It is designed for orders of five to 20
telephones.


The pilot is part of Lucent’s electronic commerce effort for small organizations.
Larger customers, including government agencies, already are doing business
electronically.


“The government is driving us” to add more products to the program, Gibson
said.


The government trial follows commercial trials for several thousand customers around
the country.


“We have modified a number of the questions,” Gibson said, to make it easier
for program managers and business managers alike to answer questions and submit orders.


Voice mail, unavailable in the original commercial pilot, is part of the government
trial because users demanded it, Gibson said.


Partner ACS can connect three central office lines and eight phones, and it expands to
15 lines and 40 phones. New applications can be installed via two PC Card slots. The
system can be configured with inbound call center capabilities, basic voice mail, line
pooling, call coverage and Caller ID logging and dating. A basic model starts at $995.


Government users of the Partner ACS include the Defense Logistics Agency and the Postal
Service, which awarded a contract last year to Lucent to upgrade post office
communications.   

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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