ShoreTel Sky Intros Cloud UC-CRM Integration

ShoreTel  introduced Tuesday ShoreTel Sky AppFuse, a  new application integration solution from its cloud division (formerly M5 Networks) that ties cloud-based unified communications and CRM.

ShoreTel Sky AppFuse leverages the Salesforce cloud-to-cloud adapter to provide an unprecedented level of integration between the ShoreTel Sky cloud-based phone system, ShoreTel Sky Contact Center and Salesforce.

Keith Nealon, ShoreTel Sky’s vice president of revenue, told Channel Partners that Appfuse takes typical UC + CRM integration to a new level. In a typical integration, employees log into their CRM and a CTI widget enables them to see a screen pop with customer data tied to incoming calls or to click on customer names to automatically dial out.  “We’ve had that for years,” Nealon said.

With Appfuse’s cloud-to-cloud integration, all activities are fully integrated whether or not the employee is logged into the CRM by automatically initiating tracking based on the employees’ phone numbers (desk or mobile). Because it’s true cloud to cloud, it’s not on the desktop and not initiated by the user, he explained.

Because no desktop client is required, a broader selection of devices, including Macs, tablets and smartphones can be supported in line with corporate BYOD initiatives.

Nealon explains that this enables various stakeholders to get truer metrics for employee activity as well as the number and types of contacts needed to close a sale or resolve a problem, as two examples. In addition, he said, top performing sales reps can save time by not having to manually log activity, marketing managers can easily validate follow-up on leads and service manager can ensure that top accounts are being serviced proactively.  “It’s a more complete data view,” Nealon said.

And, he noted that with integration to ShoreTel Sky Contact Center, there is the ability to take advantage of intelligent call routing and also to transfer not only the voice call, but the CRM workspace to a colleague or supervisor for further action. Plus ShoreTel Sky contact center agents can log in and out of queues from within the application.

Appfuse will be available to customers later this year. Customers can purchase it along with the ShoreTel Sky license or as an add-on for existing customers. Once it is purchased,  customers would install it through the AppExchange.  Pricing and availability date are yet to be determined.

It also will be available for sale through ShoreTel Sky’s channel. Nealon said Appfuse offers partners an opportunity to elevate the conversation with customers. “By integrating in a more meaningful way, they can have business process conversations with line of business decision makers,” he said.

ShoreTel will demonstrate the new technology, which will be available for clients later this year, at Salesforce.coms Dreamforce 2012 user conference this week.

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