Ask the Experts: Hybrid VoIP Solutions

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle talks about the role of business analytics in hybrid VoIP solutions with ShoreTel’s Partner Business Manager Ross Anderson. Find out more about utilizing VoIP business analytics as strategic business asset from Ross and the ShoreTel team here:

Andrew: All right guys, we’re diving into our next Ask the Experts session, and I’m sitting here with Ross Anderson, the Partner Business Manager for ShoreTel Sky. Ross, welcome, man.
Ross: I appreciate it. Thank you, Andrew, for having me.
Andrew: You’re welcome. You and I have some history together. You’ve been in the hosted VoIP game a long time, and when we started to look at this particular session and going deep on a hosted VoIP with our sales partners that are going through this whole certification process, an interesting question came up. I want to ask you this one question and get your expert opinion on it. When it comes to hosted VoIP, what role can business analytics play in a hosted VoIP solution? Let’s talk about the business analytic side of this, because I think it’s really, really cool. Speak to that real quick.
Ross: I appreciate that. That actually is becoming more and more of a topic of conversation amongst customers to partners. It’s a big problem that people are trying to solve and they’re trying to answer the question in terms of relevancy to their business based on reports—more importantly the dollars and cents spent on lead generation, for example. Assume that a customer out there is utilizing an ERP or CRM-type solution; is probably a great example of that to be used, and maybe it resonates very well with the partner community out there. An example would be a sales and marketing organization that is spending a significant amount of capital monthly. Perhaps on search engine optimization and/or trying to tie into a very important, critical business role and rule called, “Net Promoter Score” out there—customer surveys and satisfaction. Customers may recognize this as general consumers when people ask them for their experience before you purchase. They may say, “After this purchase, three to five minutes later, I’d like to get your feedback on how things are going.”
Or when a sales and marketing stakeholder is talking to a partner, that partner might want to ask them questions about what ERP and CRM applications that their solutions integrate into. With that, it’s important to know things in terms of how quickly are my customers being contacted by my sales reps? How are my marketing dollars spent? Are the leads going to the wayside? Is there a rapid response factor happening? If I’m a contact center environment where it’s a customer service driven environment and I’m getting a lot of calls, am I staffed appropriately? What is my percentage of live answer?
Andrew: You’re suggesting that all that type of data is available with a hosted VoIP platform?
Ross: Yeah, absolutely. It’s available and the reports that we have within ShoreTel Sky are very canned and built purpose-driven for this. It answers that question that the customers have out there, and really defends their spend and gets them to think a little bit differently. Think of VoIP’s as a strategic asset and a weapon for their business out there that can help their company realize, not just dollars and cents, but also increase customer satisfaction.
Andrew: Got it, love it. So really leveraging all the calling data that we’ve got in the hosted VoIP world and pushing that visibility out to a decision maker and a customer so they can be smarter about what decisions they’re making about their company. I love that. I know I’ve heard you guys use this term the “money engine” before—the idea that anytime that a customer’s telephone system is the money engine of the business, then business analytics really becomes a big priority for them.
Ross: Absolutely. The other reports that are interesting, too, is trying to identify this problem in the market—which is what do people, how do they defend their productivity for their mobile workforce? How do they know if their mobile workforce is actually working? How do they address this “bring your own device” problem? The reports that we have with their application can tie into CRM solutions and it can go back to understanding how many outbound calls people are making and their percentage of live answer as well. It really plays into that next-generation type of business that is rather mobile in today’s environment.
Andrew: That’s perfect, and that’s a great way to close this, Ross. I think being able to push that visibility, not just within a customer’s prem and the users that are sitting at a physical location or multiple physical locations but down to a mobile workforce, which is an enormous trend that all of our sales partners are going after today. That’s great insight and you’ve been at this a long time, I know. It’s great to have your voice as part of the Cloud University—smart guys that are talking about how to make this stuff more reachable and more attainable for our sales partners. I appreciate that. Ross Anderson, who is the . . . your title again, Ross is the Partner . . .
Ross: Partner Business Manager.
Andrew: Partner Business Manager for ShoreTel Sky, working the in the West region. We’re excited to have you part of our esteemed faculty, Ross. Guys, if you get a chance check out ShoreTel Sky’s learning center here at the University and go deeper with them. They’re doing some really, really cool things about business analytics and that could be the one thing that you need to really disrupt the conversation with the customer and get them thinking differently. We’re big fans of that approach, so Ross, thanks for your time.
Ross: I appreciate it, Andrew. Thank you so much. Have a great weekend.
Andrew: You too. Good stuff. Good selling guys.