Business VoIP providers typically offer users a standard suite of VoIP features with their service plans. While these features range a variety of functions and applications, many providers don’t go so far as to offer desktop integration. While this doesn’t sound like that big a deal, it most certainly is. Generally, desktop integrations allow users to access, manage, and maintain a service/feature directly from their desktop. In doing so, users are able to utilize their system/feature much more efficiently, churning greater productivity, cost and time efficiency, and customer satisfaction, as well as more effective system management. Yet despite these advantages, many VoIP providers still do not offer these integrations. The reason? Integration is tough to crack.
According to Frost & Sullivan, “The possible permutations of available applications to work with are immense and the challenges of putting them all together are great. The role of integration is to put those applications together into a framework that helps managers of the contact center automate the agent’s activity.” In other words, desktop integration works to seamlessly combine various user applications into a more accessible and efficient body; however, it can be difficult for providers to develop. While integration sounds simple enough, there are a number of ways to go about it—many of which can be difficult and harrowing, expensive, and time consuming. Yet, with a number of different avenues to pursue, some providers have been able to successfully build desktop integrations.
A good example of desktop integration can be seen with RingCentral Office, which includes their Call Controller. Though some could argue that the Call Controller is a glorified softphone, as it allows for users to make outbound calls directly from any internet enabled PC, the desktop integration offers a variety of additional functionality. For example, with it, users can utilize call management features including call screening, one touch call response, call routing, text-to-speech message, conference calling, call recording, sending and receiving faxes, Microsoft Outlook Integration, and easily accessible voicemail. With that being said, users have access to their entire service directly from their desktop.
Another good example can be seen with Vocalocity’s Desktop and Plugins. Where RingCentral offers an inclusive suite, Vocalocity offers desktop integration with various plug-ins fit for a variety of different functionality. These plugins include QuicksBooks, SugarCRM, Microsoft Outlook, LinkedIn, Bing Search, Caller Location/Weather/Time, Method CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, Google Contacts, Web Launcher, and Google Search. In utilizing these add-ons, users are able to integrate each of the above with their phone system, as well as to gain complete insight into each incoming and outgoing phone call.
Though the ends of desktop integration may not seem to justify the ends, it can greatly augment business users’ systems on a number of levels. For example, one of the most prevalent advantages is its ability to augment time efficiency. Simply put, desktop integration reduces the number of steps a user needs to take to perform an action. Additionally, it allows for businesses to build standardized processes for routine matters, as well as provide quick access to information for out of the ordinary situations. While saving seconds sounds petty, it can add up over a workforce and over time.
In addition to time efficiency, desktop integrations can produce faster returns on interest (ROI). According to Frost & Sullivan, integrating client-side architecture can shorten implementation time and server side integrations, resulting in ROI periods in as little as two to three months. Additionally, integrations can be used to help IT infrastructure save money too. “the organization’s IT infrastructure saves time and money by preserving existing applications and not re-coding them to adapt to a new desktop environment. IT doesn’t have to tip, and replace, invest in new technologies, or pay for the support and training for that new technology.”
While desktop integrations are becoming more readily available, not all providers offer them; therefore, users should look for these integrations when choosing a business VoIP provider. Desktop integrations work to make users’ systems easier to use—which inversely benefits both employees and customers. That being said, business VoIP has a lot to gain from implementing desktop integrations.