Even as unified communications (UC) solutions become more and more comprehensive, the speed of innovation will always be a challenge for businesses. This is where the ability to offer a unified communications platform that integrates with various other business applications becomes crucial for managed service providers’ (MSPs) offerings.
Let’s look at three key ways that software integrations can help channel partners keep their customers happy.
Create a Cohesive, Interconnected Work Environment
As an MSP selling into a crowded market, one of the main advantages you can offer your customers is the ability to manage both disparate and complementary systems and platforms. This capability solves a very real problem that end-users have in managing multiple vendors. In fact, the very consolidation of features and services into an integrated communications system was the original motivation behind the “unified communications” concept, which drove home the benefits of combining critical collaboration and telephony functionality into a comprehensive ecosystem.
The right integration allows a UC solution to piggyback on both the popularity and the functionality of a major platform such as ConnectWise or Microsoft Office. This delivers huge advantages for channel partners by way of boosting brand awareness, market presence, customer trust, and solidifying your position as the trusted advisor. The ability to promote your UC offering as complementary to a global brand such as Salesforce creates validation by association. It also expands the solution’s addressable market – creating the opportunity to upsell your UC solutions to existing customers of that integrated software and delivering value without adding notable complexity to the network.
Reduce Conflicts Associated With “Bolt-Ons”
Technical glitches and customer disappointment often arise when disparate platforms are cobbled together. Many solutions typically use a distinct interface, operate according to unique software parameters, and access individual databases in order to perform the full roster of functions required to run a business. Furthermore, disparate technology often does not function optimally when it is not properly integrated, which hinders the organization’s ability to reach peak efficiency.
“When companies have to deal with multiple siloed systems and overlapping databases, they can never see a complete view of their business in real time,” confirmed integration expert Angelica L. Cox of the manufacturing software development firm Verenia. “This prevents them from making the kind of quick, accurate business decisions required tostay agile in a competitive marketplace.”
Improving Efficiencies Through Integration
Connecting various communications platforms makes life easier for end-users who can access many of their tools and features from a single, accessible interface. Businesses typically devote a great deal of time, labor, and resources to managing siloed business applications. Customer databases often must be manually updated in more than one application – creating redundant tasks and increasing the potential for errors. Software integrations minimize these redundancies – creating a more streamlined and efficient system overall.
Rob Speakman, founder of global software development consultancy We Know Data, noted this point in his article on the importance of integration. Not long ago, businesses were thrilled to automate workflows that had previously been conducted manually via Excel sheets. However, in relegating these tasks to a series of unrelated software platforms, a new level of complexity was created. Many of these programs conflict, negating some of the efficiencies of the digital transformation.
“Just because we’ve now got online CRM, chat, quoting, project management, as well as accounting and stock control, it doesn’t mean we’ve solved things,” said Speakman. “If they are disconnected, or worse, badly connected, you’ll still have different departments working on different systems, re-entering data or wasting time searching for information.”
The ability to integrate disparate technologies allows businesses to focus their resources on strategic initiatives that support their bottom line – such as sales, marketing, and product development – and not on how to get their various systems to perform synergistically. MSPs that can offer these integration capabilities provide an invaluable service to their customers and will position themselves to be an indispensable resource as innovations and business needs continue to evolve.
To learn more about how UCaaS can help you become a one-stop-shop to your customers – eliminating the need for multiple vendors and services – download our exclusive guide.