Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has fundamentally changed business’s phone service, as well as its ability to tap into other data sources. At the very least, VoIP now means that a single line—the line carrying Internet service—becomes the source of dozens, if not hundreds, of individual access points for office phones. VoIP converts voice data into the same packets used to exchange all Internet-based information. It’s a process that can scale quickly and doesn’t require additional investment in infrastructure.
Computer telephony integration, or CTI, pushes Internet-based communication technology even further. If VoIP lines share the same network access as a customer relationship management (CRM) system, why shouldn’t the two systems exchange data? Connecting a phone system and CRM means that client data passes from a business’s primary database (or databases) to those who need it most: call center representatives and companies’ distributed sales staff.
For users of Oracle CRM, CTI can connect its powerful client databases to most major phone systems. Here are key considerations and steps toward complete Oracle CRM integration.
Oracle is more than just a member of the Fortune 500; it’s the 77th largest company in the United States. The technology behemoth, a stalwart of Silicon Valley since its earliest days, generates roughly $37 billion annually. Its high-tech offerings span software and hardware installations, making CTI a logical involvement, as it blends integrations of both systems.
Oracle began developing its own CRM in the late 1990s. As in other instances, it advanced its position in the market through acquisitions, especially with its announcement in September 2015 to acquire Siebel Systems for $5.85 billion. That acquisition came on the heels of a more contentious $10.3 billion takeover of PeopleSoft, which featured a CRM as part of its suite of software solutions.
Blending outside products with its own cutting-edge database technology has continued to keep Oracle at the forefront of CRM development. In some cases, such as with PeopleSoft, Oracle retained the popular brand name as an auxiliary offering to its core CRM product line and to support the system’s legacy clients.
Oracle maintains two core versions of its CRM system:
1. Oracle On Premise CRM
The Oracle On Premise CRM is tailored toward large organizations with internal teams that can install and manage a locally hosted version of the CRM. Throughout the software industry, advances in cloud-based technology have slowly phased out on-premise installation, although it remains a preferred choice for some exceptionally large clients.
In addition to independent management, Oracle On Premise CRM users continue to pay for Oracle support to handle system changes and upgrades. In 2014, to stay competitive with the ever-growing list of cloud-based CRM solutions, Oracle offered On Premise CRM users the opportunity to convert maintenance fees to cloud-based subscriptions.
2. Oracle On Demand CRM
With popular cloud-based CRMs like SalesForce dominating market share, many on-premise providers have migrated to the cloud. Initially an option for small businesses unable to maintain a costly and time-intensive in-house system, remote hosting of software has continued to grow in sophistication and user demand. Traditional farming states like Iowa have seen data centers as a new and profitable crop to serve SaaS companies undergoing the transition.
Anchored by its core CRM, Oracle supports several niche CRMs and databases to serve industry and business segments. The Oracle CRM CX Cloud Suite attempts to bridge informational gaps across six business departments:
- Configure, Price, and Quote
These cross-channel products integrate consumer data at various stages, promising a complete vision of client interaction with a brand—before, during, and after a sale.
Oracle Phone Integration for Call Centers and Sales
Oracle CRM On Demand has tailored platforms for call centers, Oracle Contact On Demand, and sales operations, Oracle CRM On Demand Sales. A third product, Oracle CRM On Demand Analytics, provides collective insights on performance metrics from Oracle Contact On Demand and Oracle CRM On Demand Sales, as well as other Oracle platforms.
Oracle Contact On Demand: CTI Benefits and Installation Options
Oracle highlights three benefits of CTI integration with its CRM: “Improving service agents’ productivity, providing superior customer service, and keeping IT costs low.” None of these comes as a surprise to call center managers or others who understand that CTI can do more than improve customer service; it also makes customer service—a traditionally burdensome cost center—more efficient.
Key features of Oracle CTI solve familiar challenges, such as getting clients to the right representative, simultaneous cross-channel interaction handling, mobile workforce support, and streamlined reporting. While CTI-enabled mobile workforce support typically serves sales staff, Oracle Contact On Demand promises to deliver smarter staffing, as call center analytics may improve staffing decisions, especially for multi-location call centers. The cloud-based platform organizes and stores interactions from voice, voicemail, email, chat, and web communications.
When integrating Oracle CRM On-Demand with phone systems, managers retain the ability to customize many aspects. For example, managers or technical administrators can change contents of pop-up screens based on the type of client interaction. Further, direct-to-agent dialog windows can allow for manual or automated wrap-up of interactions.
Oracle CRM On Demand Sales: CTI Benefits and Installation Options
Oracle CRM On Demand Sales provides start-to-finish management of sales, from initial lead generation through close. It also offers forecasting to help sales staff identify high-value sales opportunities. Forecasting occurs automatically and can be adjusted to include four independent forecast types.
Embedded analytics and sales coaching are added features to help measure performance and improve outcomes. Analytics measure average sales cycle, win rate, deal size, and other variables. Sales coaching can be tailored to individual organizations, with the opportunity to embed internal best practices at various stages of the sales process.
For sales staff, Oracle CTI supports improved identification of prospects. Information obtained during identification and nurturing periods, often handled by marketing teams, is passed through connected CRMs to sales team members at the opportune moment. Connections between Oracle’s marketing and sales CRMs also allow distribution of leads based on various stipulations. Administrators can set up rules depending on factors such as geography, industry, account size, and product interest.
Manager analytics within the sales-focused CRM offer at-a-glance visualization of individual and collective sales quotas. Setup can target monthly, quarterly, or yearly sales goals, with associated revenue estimates.
Oracle CRM On Demand Sales, while cloud-based, has offline accessibility through Microsoft Outlook and mobile devices.
Integrating Oracle CRM with a Phone System
For businesses seeking a reduction in the total number of outside vendors—or a reduction in the required integrations among them—Oracle’s comprehensive set of offerings can help make a persuasive case for its solutions. Oracle’s recent focus on cloud-based platforms has made installation and integration more competitive with cloud-only providers.
Among noted integration highlights, Oracle CRM On Demand operates in familiar development environments:
- Oracle JDeveloper
- IBM WebSphere
- Microsoft .NET
- BEA WebLogic
Also available are XML/SOAP APIs for access to Oracle CRM On Demand business logic and data services. Built-in third-party integrations include Siebel CRM (an Oracle product), JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, Microsoft Office, and Lotus Notes.
For end users, Oracle CRM On Demand’s single sign-on feature creates one point-of-entry to all integrated platforms. Administrators can configure sign-on options to meet a range of corporate security requirements. Additional security features include IP address filtering, user authentication and validation, session authentication, Cross-Site Request, forgery protection (CSRF), and virtual private network (VPN) support.
Enterprise CTI through Oracle CRMs
The cost and technical challenge of Oracle CTI integration declined substantially with the company’s shift to the cloud-based Oracle CRM On Demand. While persevering customization options for local administrators, the system can efficiently host all forms of communication—critical for call centers logging multi-channel client interactions.
Support and integration with major third-party software—to say nothing of integration within Oracle products—makes Oracle CRM On Demand a potential frontrunner for complex phone system integrations. Oracle’s extensive experience managing unified communications solutions for some of the world’s largest companies continues to be a major selling point for managers seeking a robust CTI solution.
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