Mobility and the cloud have become the primary drivers for organizations to integrate communication capabilities like voice and video with business applications. Moving unified communications (UC) to the cloud allows organizations to embed communication into the business applications they use daily with click-to-chat and click-to-call, and support a more mobile workforce.
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“Marrying mobility and the cloud is the perfect storm of opportunity” for communication integration, said IHS Infonetics Research Director Diane Myers in the IHS and RingCentral webinar “How to Improve Business Productivity with Integrated Communications.”
According to IHS research, 85% of organizations are using smartphones as part of their UC strategy and 79% view voice integration with their business apps as critical.
“When you integrate communication into your business apps, it can make your life easier,” said Marco Casalaina, vice president of contact center and integrations at RingCentral, a cloud-based business communications provider. “It drives higher user productivity.”
A simple integration like click-to-call, which lets users make calls directly from an app, can be very useful for someone who spends much of the day dialing numbers and making calls, he said.
Myers said the top three applications that organizations are moving to the cloud are email, collaboration apps and customer relationship management (CRM). CRM is a big area where people expect voice integration, especially with apps like Salesforce and Zendesk, Casalaina added.
“These are the apps people live in,” he said. “They are in these apps all day long and need communication to be part of that.”
Myers said voice integration with business applications is about breaking down silos between business apps and communication tools. Organizations that integrate see the value it brings to IT and their employees in improving productivity, she said.
Key voice integration considerations
Before organizations begin integrating their communication tools with their business apps, they need to understand the requirements that a cloud communication provider should meet to make integration successful.
Myers said organizations need to find a provider that understands what an organization needs to get from application integration. Organizations should request demos to understand a provider’s integration services.
Casalaina said most cloud providers offer pre-built applications for the most common cloud tools to minimize IT involvement and make integration easy. But for organizations that have custom-built apps, Casalaina said a good cloud provider will also be a platform that offers application program interfaces (APIs) to support flexible voice integration that includes custom applications.
Voice integration with mobile devices can be tricky since it can be difficult to do deep integration with specific applications, Casalaina said.
For example, the Salesforce1 mobile app does not allow for much integration, but RingCentral uses mobile deep linking to make the app launch a RingCentral app that offers some voice integration.
“Mobile integration is newer when compared to Web-based integration, but it can be accomplished successfully,” he said.