Ask the Experts: Integrating UCaaS with Third-Party Apps

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle discusses the importance of integrating UCaaS with third-party apps, and how it improves the end user customer journey, with Evolve IP’s Scott Kinka. Learn more about cloud automation from the Evolve IP team here:

Andrew: All right, guys. One more Ask the Experts session with our good friend Scott Kinka, CTO of Evolve IP. Scott, welcome back, man.
Scott: I’m really excited to talk about this particular topic.
Andrew: I know you are. This is where we get to geek out just a little bit. You know, Evolve, you guys have done some amazing stuff.
Scott: Yeah.
Andrew: You’ve taken a Broadsoft platform that hundreds of providers have standardized on and then you guys have focused a lot on integrating other applications into that platform. Some home grown–especially in some of the contact center development you’ve done–but a lot of third-party apps. This question’s really around automation and integration.
I know you’ve done a lot of really tight integrations with and a whole bunch of other CRM’s. Speak about the importance of integrating with these third-party apps and what should our partner community expect to hear from Evolve IP around that. How’s that solving problems for customers? What are your thoughts?
Scott: It’s going to sound crazy when I make this statement but the application integration into a CRM really is the killer app, right. I mean, I think and as largely around the fact that our interaction with our customers have changed, right. 10 years ago, it was likely . . . pick one of your vendors, even maybe someone that you’re paying a bill to at home. It’s likely that your relationship with them was phone based, right.
Now the number one interaction we have with our customers is a Google search, as crazy as it is, right. Which leads to an email or leads to a chat. And generally the phone is the, “I couldn’t get my answer some other way.” So, now I’m going to phone, right. Now, this doesn’t mean that the phone’s not still important. It doesn’t mean that we still don’t need quality. It doesn’t mean that we don’t need to answer the phone quickly.
What it does mean is that the landscape’s changing a bit and we’re really talking more about customer journeys through support then we’re talking about an individual phone call. That journey usually starts someplace else. To us, it’s really about making sure that the phone interaction, whether you’re a salesperson making outbound calls, whether you’re an agent taking inbound calls, whatever it happens to be.
The call data and the interaction with that call is living in the same place that all that other data resides. End users won’t adopt new features if you jam them down their throat. They want to live in the apps where they are. If they’re an Outlook and Salesforce user, go put buttons in Outlook and Salesforce. You know what I mean?
If there are Google Apps and SugarCRM, then go put buttons in Google Apps and SugarCRM, right. That’s been a really big push on our side is to, you know . . . we say we’re all using this UCaaS term. Internally we say it’s unified communications as a strategy, right. Because you have to start with how are you messaging today, what are you using for email and calendering. That’s the first topic.
The second question is, what’s your CRM or ERP? What buttons are your people pressing everyday? What browser window are they looking at? The third one is what operating systems are you living on? Are you Mac, are you Windows, are you both? Are you all into VDI environment with somewhere. You really have to get through those questions to understand how to adapt the UC experience to the end customer because it is unified, right.
It’s not, I’m going to give you 8 things that I sold you right now. It’s I’m going to give you some things unify the rest of what you’re doing. So that’s really been our focus. So,, big bucket; Zendesk on the multichannel side; Microsoft Dynamics has been huge for us. Google Apps, more customers than you would imagine have already made that move. Particularly in municipal and educational types of settings.
You really need to take that . . . We have our little application that they can look at but if we put a button inside that application, there’s a significantly higher chance that they’re going to use the depth of the solution.
Andrew: Got it. As you go deeper into those integrations, I’m assuming the customer also becomes a lot more sticky for you?
Scott: Yeah but once they get there, they’re like . . . you know, it’s not the handset on their desk that they fall in love with anymore. I mean, in 2008, 2009, when we were first getting started and then even earlier days of VoIP. In some of your experience, take it back to 2005. It was all about the buttons on the phone.
The reality of it is who cares now in most cases, right. As long as it sounds good–and granted different handsets have different levels of voice quality on them, there’s no question. The buttons they’re falling in love with right now is the little dial button next to the phone number in the CRM or in the accounting system. Or the stuff that they fall in love with is that, you know when a call comes in, it pops up and there’s a button to go right to that record, you know, on the pop out side of the house.
Yeah, that’s exactly it. Once those features are in, they’re incredibly sticky. They’re the ones that the end users fall in love with and nobody can sink a hosted anything deployment like an unhappy end user base, right.
Andrew: Right, yes, yes. That’s a great way to close out this conversation. I love that. Nobody can sink a hosted anything faster than an unhappy user base. That’s tweetable, Mr. Kinka.
Scott: I might tweet it now.
Andrew: You should. You totally should. That’s great stuff.
Scott: How about you tweet it and give me credit. That would be great.
Andrew: I’ll do that. Guys, that’s Scott Kinka, CTO of Evolve IP. One of our go-to providers for UCaaS and contact center and cloud infrastructure and virtual desktop. We’re big fans of Evolve. Scott, thanks for jumping in, man.
Scott: Awesome. Thanks for having me.
Andrew: Good deal. Guys, do make sure you spend some time at the Evolve IP learning center. It’s chock full of tons of information that can help you sell more deals in the cloud. Good selling.