Could your business be more efficient if communications were integrated into your core business processes, such as sales and customer service? Integrating unified communications (UC) features into business applications can increase employee productivity, shorten response times, encourage collaboration, and improve customer satisfaction. The ability to call, IM, email or conference another person from within the application you are using, rather than having to open up multiple applications or reach for the phone, helps workers stay productive. Moreover, the resulting consolidation of transactional data enables sophisticated reporting and analytics that can revolutionize business operations.

Integrating applications into unified communications, known as communications-enabled business processes (CEBP) in techno-circles, puts communications in the context of a business process. For example, with presence information enabled in a CRM application, a broker at a financial services company could, for instance, easily locate an available subject-matter expert to answer a complex question from a client.

There are many possibilities for business process integrations. For instance, a city that wants to improve service to its residents could create an application to allow people to request postal mailings for information. In this voice-forms IVR application, the caller answers a series of “form” questions verbally. The answers are consolidated into an audio file, which is translated to text, and then automatically fed to the city’s mailroom where the letters are addressed to be mailed out.

Large contact centers have long used screen pops to provide additional information to agents about the caller, but business process integration makes this functionality practical for companies of all sizes. An incoming call or instant message can initiate a screen pop onto a worker’s computer that not only presents information such as the customer’s name, level of importance, last contact and outstanding order, but also presents options for driving a back-end system by automatically creating a call-activity record or creating a new case associated with matching contact. This integration gives customer-facing employees the information and tools they need to successfully serve the customer the first time and automatically create a context-specific transactional history that streamlines future interactions.

Take that integration a step farther, and those screen pops can contribute to a more complete view of the customer. An agent can enter notes and wrap-up codes associated with the call, which are then stored as part of the customer record. Harvesting this detailed information and analyzing it can reveal emerging trends or help managers spot problem areas. When viewed at a higher level, the reporting and analytics can be even more important to the company than quickly resolving the customer issue.

Integrated Applications Ready to Go

ShoreTel offers a portfolio of software applications that integrate with organizations’ business processes. Packaged offerings include, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, NetSuite CR and others which allow users to handle their business communications from within a single application and benefit from ShoreTel’s robust feature set. ShoreTel’s Integrated Applications Catalog lists more than 40 integrated solutions.

In addition, ShoreTel offers custom software development services to help address customers’ unique business requirements. Both packaged and custom applications are available through a ShoreTel reseller or distributor.

Open Integration Protects Your Investment

Open integration lays the foundation for innovation and protects your ongoing technology investment. ShoreTel’s architecture includes a variety of open interfaces that allow the creation of rich new applications and simplify the integration of ShoreTel’s UC features into back-office applications.

The new ShoreTel Innovation Network underscores its corporate commitment to open architecture and best-of-breed technology. Solutions from the Innovation Network extend the capabilities of the ShoreTel UC system, and customers can be confident that these solutions from best-in-class technology providers have been validated by ShoreTel.

Digital transformation has become a top initiative for business and IT leaders. In today’s business world, sustainable market leadership is no longer based solely on which company has the best products or even the best people. Instead, organizations that are agile and can quickly adapt to rapidly evolving market trends will become market leaders.

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