FrontRange Creates VoIP/CRM GoldMine

FrontRange's new solution melds customer relationship management with IP telephony for fully integrated customer management solution.

By Jeff Goldman | Posted Mar 16, 2006
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FrontRange Solutions recently announced the release of its GoldMine IP Voice Suite, an integrated offering which combines an enterprise-class VoIP telephony solution with the company's GoldMine Corporate Edition CRM product.

The company uses the catch-phrase The Power of Two to describe the effect of integrating these two key solutions. "Once you combine the phone system with the CRM or the information management, then you begin to more effectively and efficiently process calls, and the customer actually has a better experience," says Jim Puchbauer, FrontRange's senior product marketing manager.

The VoIP side of the IP Voice Suite solution is based on FrontRange's IP Office Suite, a SIP-based VoIP phone system with unified messaging. "In and of itself, it is a full-blown IP PBX," Puchbauer says. "We're not necessarily attacking that market 100 percent, but we're using the powerful switching foundation as an enabler technology for the Voice Suite."

Enabling new functionality
Once the GoldMine CRM functionality is combined with VoIP, Puchbauer says, a wide range of applications are enabled. "The user just sees some additional capabilities built into the GoldMine product set that they've been using all along—so no retraining is needed," he says. "They're seeing the same screens, but now we have this tight integration to telephony."

All calls, inbound and outbound, are automatically logged for future reference. "If a call comes in from one of your customers and you don't take the call, not only is that voicemail recorded in the system, but it also shows up as a contact item in your task list for GoldMine—and you can click on the Details tab and right there available for you is the call, right in that customer contact record," Puchbauer says.

All calls are buffered as they occur, which also enables call recording on demand. "If three quarters of the way through the call, you want to record it, it goes back and grabs the call from the very beginning, for somebody who gets an irate customer, or a really good customer, or a call that would be great for training—there's a number of reasons why you might want to record a call on demand," Puchbauer says.

For outbound call management, a manager can set up a call list, then simply assign it to a group of users. "Then from the GoldMine user's desktop, they see there's a calling campaign available, and they click to make themselves available to it," Puchbauer says. "When they're ready to make a call, they click on Get Next Call, it pulls up that record, and it also pops up information or a calling script."

Options for integration
The system can either be installed as an add-on to a legacy phone system, or it can be used to replace an existing system entirely. "We're seeing both types of implementations, but at this point, we're seeing more interest in the integration—a lot of the work we're currently doing is integrating the IP Voice Suite with current phone systems that a customer would have," Puchbauer says.

Integration with a legacy TDM phone system to VoIP-enable a specific department or group of users, Puchbauer says, isn't a problem. "Calls can come in just like they currently do, on an 800 number or through a current employee, and then be transferred or passed through to the IP Voice Suite—and enable those telephony capabilities to enhance the work environment of your GoldMine power users," he says.

The result, Puchbauer says, is that it becomes much easier for a company to add this kind of functionality. "We've done that native integration, so now you can very simply and very easily do that full-blown, very deep level computer telephony integration for IP telephony and your customer relationship management," he says. "Where before it was expensive and hard to do, we do that right out of the box."

Serving the SMB space
Yankee Group analyst Ken Landoline says FrontRange's new offering is relatively unique, particularly for small and medium sized businesses. "Especially at the low and medium end of the market, we don't see these kinds of tightly integrated products coming out yet," he says. "It's definitely something we're going to see more of in the future, but it's a difficult task."

The first customers to pick up this product, Landoline says, will inevitably be companies that already have GoldMine installed. "People that have their CRM package now will see an opportunity to either put in an overnight move to VoIP telephony with this new suite, or they're going to attach it behind their existing system to add a high level of functionality to some groups within their organization," he says.

And with an installed base for GoldMine of about 1.5 million users in 130,000 companies, Landoline says, FrontRange is in an excellent position to provide solutions like this. "Over the next five years, I think people are going to see the opportunity to use FrontRange going forward into a lot more telephony areas of their business," he says.

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