If you want to have telephones, mobiles and SIP softphones on tablets or other computers all working together, then you would probably be looking for a Unified Communications solution. That category of system has been the established approach for some time now.
It is understandable why “Unified Communications” gets a bad rap. Once you deploy a unified communications solution from a traditional vendor, you usually encounter two issues: the total cost of ownership is high. But worse, it is often a more-or-less closed solution. Every integration costs too much and the functionality is limited. The same applies to many office telephone systems. All is fine, until you need to integrate your calls and communications with your other process tools: CRM, Helpdesk, BI, ERP, Inventory, Billing …
This does not have to be the case. In fact, we have taken a completely opposite approach – a radically flexible and open system to create and manage communications in a business:
- you can connect any device
- you can deploy centrally configured and managed solutions – but you don’t have to!
- every, really every, event on a call or interaction is exposed for integration and data sharing
- process logic, call routing, etc. can be changed using dynamic settings and not pre-sets
One of the first things I would suggest checking if you buy a unified communications or system with deskphones, after you have the telephone devices, is:
– Are they open for connection to any other standard interface for telephony, presence, web integration, etc.?
If the answer is “no”, then run away. Think about it. The only reason that a modern telephone system cannot be connected easily to another system, is because the vendor or manufacturer have deliberately made it so. It is a lock-in and lock-down strategy.
The second and third questions to ask are:
– Can you show me the live stream of data for each call?
– Where is the API to integrate calls, interactions, reporting with anything else?
If you don’t get access to the above, then you know for a fact that you will run into major difficulties and high costs to do even simple business process integrations.
Not opening those interfaces is a business decision made by many vendors. Good for them, but bad for you as a customer. There is no technical reason why you cannot integrate everything very cost effectively with your office, call center and sales communications tools.