Cisco VOIP and An SMBs Dream Team?

Cisco's Unified Call Connector for provides VOIP integrated with on-demand CRM.

Cisco Systems on May 9 will broaden the reach of its Smart Business Communications architecture by offering VOIP integrated with on-demand customer relationship management software.

Unified Call Connector for is Ciscos second major CRM integration with its Unified Communications technology for small and midsize businesses after the integration work the company has already done with Microsoft.

"The on-demand version of [Salesforce.coms] CRM application is integrated with Cisco IP phones, so that screen pops, click-to-dial, call tracking and information capture all gives the person on the phone that 360-degree view of the customer on the other end," said Brian McDonald, senior manager of worldwide commercial marketing for Cisco, in San Jose, Calif.

The aim of the integration is to give SMBs, branch office or mobile users simple call control functions to improve customer service and increase productivity.

The connector integrates Ciscos Unified Communications Manager or Unified Communications Manager Express (previously called Call Manager Express) with the CRM application. The GUI in the connector is embedded in the interface. Calls coming into Cisco Unified IP phones automatically populate the employees screen with customer case and profile information, such as recent activity or service-level agreements.

Cisco will make Unified Call Connector for available for free to channel partners that specialize in selling Cisco VOIP (voice over IP) gear. It is also free to end customers. The connector can be downloaded from either Ciscos or Salesforce.coms Web site.

Cisco will also launch a new partner referral program, along with a Web site and sales tools for the companys IP Telephony reseller partners. "Our partners can benefit by selling complete solutions to customers," said McDonald.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read more about Ciscos Smart Business Communications initiative for SMBs, click here.

Qualified Cisco partners can become referral partners online. When they generate a sales lead, they pass that along to a special portal. closes the deal and then pays the Cisco channel partner a percentage of the deal for the referral, said McDonald.

The Cisco Smart Business Communications road map calls for additional integration with other popular CRM and ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications, although McDonald would not provide a timetable or list of other specific integrations planned.

The connector is available now and works with Unified Communications Manager or Unified Communications Express 4.0 or higher.

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