Seeking Integration

In passing, most UCC vendors say their software integrates with business solutions. However, the meaning of integration can vary significantly from vendor to vendor.

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When IT leaders are looking for new solutions, like a comprehensive UCC package, the ability to improve efficiency and productivity often rank high as desired qualities driving investments. Integration with existing deployments is often a key component in achieving both efficiency and productivity. In fact, according to a recent IDG report, 83 percent of respondents ranked integration as very or extremely important when selecting a UCC solution.

While, by definition, integration means the seamless coordination of processes to work as a single unit, this meaning does not always ring true. For some, integration means little more than offering a brittle client that inefficiently links two software solutions together. Unfortunately, relying on this type of connection often leads to frustration while hampering productivity.

Yet there are a few telltale signs of real integration. Certifications, cross promotions and publicized strategic partnerships are often signs that a software firm has successfully established solid integration with key business applications. Providing a live demonstration, offering references and conducting a test run within your environment can give you significant insight.

Integration is an especially important attribute when selecting a UCC solution. For instance, when a UCC solution is fully integrated with a key business application—whether it’s the Microsoft Office Suite, a CRM solution or Google Apps—it should only take one click to initiate a connection with a customer, supplier or any other contact. And everything should happen without ever leaving the business application. 

Why is this important? Assume someone is entering a customer order with custom requirements. Obviously, the goal at this stage is always to enter information as completely as possible. With a fully integrated solution, it is possible to reach out to the engineer during order entry to address any concerns before completing the process. Integration not only saves time, it plays a key role in ensuring accuracy at a crucial stage.

Locking in on strong integration may add a step to the selection process, but it reaps rewards down the road. 


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