FrontRange Solutions is expected to introduce GoldMine IP Voice in the United States within the next few weeks.
The application, which combines contact management and VoIP telephony in one package, is integrated in the GoldMine Corporate Edition CRM suite.
Linking Telephony, CRM Layers
Linking the telephony layer to the CRM application has not been easy to master — at least, not in the past.
For instance, when Nortel Networks acquired Clarify — an agent desktop that competed with Siebel — integrating the technologies proved to be difficult.
“Premise-based equipment providers had no idea how to sell business applications,” Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer.
Fast forward a few years, and the advent of IP technology is making it easier to provide these divergent functionalities.
“Now we see more application vendors selling these suites,” Kingstone said.
FrontRange is entering an active space. Siebel CRM OnDemand offers a telephony component that is based partly on technology provided by original equipment manufacturer (OEM) [email protected] and partly on technology it acquired with the purchase of Ineto Services in 2004.
At the beginning of this year, Onyx introduced Onyx CTI 1.5, designed to integrate a company’s CRM application with virtually any telephony system.
Best-of-breed vendor Astute Solutions has also combined telephony functionality with the agent desktop.
Kana is another provider of this functionality.
Some of these existing applications are seamless suites. Others are add-on functionality. With either approach, users may find that the hand-off of a call from self-service interactive voice response (IVR) to agent assistance is still not easy to streamline, Kingstone said, despite the tech advances of the last few years.
“Just because something is IP-based doesn’t mean it is less complex,” she said.
However, FrontRange’s new product includes a software-based IP telephony system (FrontRange IP Office), Unified Messaging, Auto Attendant and inbound and outbound productivity applications that can handle this particular business process, the company said.
When a call comes into a service center, IP Voice Suite triggers screen pops of customer records from the GoldMine database.
“Implementations of VoIP telephony technologies integrated with CRM [are] making a traditionally complex and expensive process … easy and affordable, which greatly accelerates the return on investment,” said Ken Landoline, a principal analyst at Saddletree Research.
This is the greatest benefit of combining CRM and advanced phone system functionality, he maintained.