Microsoft CRM is winning market share step-by-step from such the traditional CRM providers as Siebel, Saleslogix. In this article we’ll show Microsoft Business Solutions CRM potential in the VoIP direction.
Nowadays VOIP-based technologies and Instant Messaging Systems are getting wider and wider spread. Each work desk or each personal computer has one or another instrument of information exchange, belonging to the VOIP or instant messaging systems. Currently the mostly presented information exchange systems are:
• Skype (http://www.skype.com). Revolution system of sound compression – the tolerance to the bandwidth of the channel enabled VoIP amusement features to the general internet world-wide user with microphone and headset, Windows/Linux/Mac OS X operating systems, internet access and free registration with Skype. Plus Skype application has instant messenger between skype users. New features and services SkypeOut and SkypeIn allow you not only to call to the regular phones from your computers with very low rates, but also accept the calls on your skype phone number in the SkypeIn system.
• MSN Messenger (http://messenger.msn.com). Quite successful attempt of the Microsoft open the door to the instant messengers market. MSN Messenger gained market with the speed of light, due to the tight integration with Microsoft Windows. Every new version adds new functionalities – MSN Spaces integration, audio and video transfer etc.
• Yahoo! Messenger (http://messenger.yahoo.com). IM system of the Yahoo! portal, has standard set of features for communication, including audio and video stream transfer.
• AOL Instant Messenger (http://www.aim.com). This is one of the veterans of the IM system market. Considering the popularity of AOL as internet provider – AOL instant messenger holds substantial market share.
• ICQ – (http://www.icq.com). Yes – we do not have to give you additional comments, we are targeting this article to IT professionals who were working in the Clinton era of American internet miracle and booming. Let us just add that with the release of version 5 ICQ introduced new features of the audio and video conversation.
• VoIP & IM systems are popular not only in the home office environment, but are gaining popularity in the corporate market. One of the proves is the release of Microsoft Live Communication Server, which allows messages streams coordination and control. Natural idea – should we enable VoIP and IM conversation with automatic protocol? It is always good to have paper copy of the MSN conference, related to the project, product, in the form of MS CRM Activity. Or, from CRM interface to call your potential customer via Skype. Or accept the incoming call via SkypeIn and record the call to the CRM database to be accurate with the following negotiations. The usage is really unlimited and is currently restricted only by human conservative nature.
Now, let’s consider the schema of MS CRM extensions to enable such a system:
• The main component is Albaspectrum Media Core for MS CRM – the module, providing media streams saving in the special database, interaction with the specializing connectors to IM/VoIP systems. Its function is also Activity creation in the Microsoft CRM system.
• The second important component is modification to these forms: Contact, Account etc. Modification is adding phones, addresses, Skype, MSN, AOL, Yahoo identifiers. Also we have to add SkypeOut phone calls service. In the future we plan PBX/PSTN support via MS Office Communicator 2005
• Planned addition - Answering Machine module, controlling incoming calls and messages from clients and saves them in Media Database. If manager is out of his desk, system will save the message and will create Activity in personal queue – you will not miss no one customer call! Plus all the calls from non-registered clients/prospects might be associated with one or another Account, Contact, Lead, etc.
Let’s consider the process of the phone call/receiving or message recording:
• CRM User opens client form and reads telephone or skype ID to place the call. If she/he would like to talk to skype user – Skype application must be installed of the local machine and she/he needs to be skype online user. If she/he calls to another Skype user, then we don’t have additional requirements. In the case when call is placed on PSTN number, CRM user needs to have SkypeOut active account. In both cases – when user picks up the phone or is absent – CRM activity will be created with the relevant status. If the call was accepted, automatic call recording will be switched on, activity will be created with the indication on the phone duration. For MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ audio conversations – all the mentioned above is relevant, except PSTN support (currently skype only).
• The above described process is similar for instant messenger conversations, recorded by MSN Messenger, ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger.
• CRM User could appeal to Full-Text Search upon the saving to Media Database of text talks directly from the MS CRM interface.
• For the users, who are accessing CRM over the internet we envision IM system support (as http://webmessenger.msn.com) in the MS CRM forms.
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About the Author:
Andrew is Software Developer in Alba Spectrum Technologies – USA nationwide Great Plains, Microsoft CRM customization company, serving clients in Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Denver, UK, Australia, Canada, Europe ( http://www.albaspectrum.com )