Unified Communications and Productivity Apps: The Perfect Match

Ask people which applications they use most frequently each day, and they’ll likely say email, a browser and productivity apps. Fact is, most of us spend the majority of our time corresponding via email, surfing the web and preparing documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

Software vendors and cloud providers have done a pretty good job of integrating these tools. Whether you use Microsoft Office or Google G Suite, your favorite apps work well together and have fairly consistent interfaces.

However, another important technology tool — the phone system —exists outside of these productivity suites. True, both Microsoft and Google offer voice, video, instant messaging and other collaboration tools, but many organizations remain hesitant to give up their tried-and-true phone systems in favor of these applications.

Recognizing this gap, ShoreTel has developed integrations that enable users to access the rich features of ShoreTel Connect within Microsoft and Google apps. Frequently used call controls, one-click dialing, predictive search and other capabilities are available at users’ fingertips, making it possible to boost productivity and streamline workflows while optimizing existing technology investments.

With ShoreTel Connect Telephony for Microsoft users can dial contacts directly from the Skype for Business client, set up conference calls, transfer calls, access their voicemail box, view and set presence information, and control all of their ShoreTel preferences such as call routing. Connect Telephony for Microsoft also includes a built-in softphone that allows users to move seamlessly between ShoreTel Connect and Skype for Business collaboration tools without opening new apps or windows.

For the IT department, Connect Telephony for Microsoft is a client-side integration, so no changes are required to the environment. The plug-in supports Lync 2013, Skype for Business 2015 and Skype for Business 2016 clients in both Office 365 and on-premises environments. ShoreTel does not require a separate license — the plug-in is part of the mid-tier bundle for ShoreTel Connect CLOUD and Connect ONSITE.

ShoreTel Connect for Chrome browser is a client app that delivers a unified experience between ShoreTel Connect, G Suite and Google Chrome. Connect for Chrome enables users to merge ShoreTel contacts with G Suite contacts so they can easily search through all contacts at once and view presence status for contacts within search results.

Call controls are integrated with the Chrome browser, making it possible to initiate a call by clicking on any number in a web page or the contact list, or by typing a phone number in the browser extension. Users can also create ShoreTel events from Google Calendar, and include a ShoreTel conference bridge in a Google Calendar event. Connect for Chrome browser is available at no additional cost to ShoreTel Connect CLOUD and Connect ONSITE customers in the U.S. with Essentials, Standard and Advanced service or product plans.

Integrating communication tools with business applications is proven to increase productivity, speed decision-making and enhance customer service. IPC’s engineers can help customers implement ShoreTel Connect Telephony for Microsoft and Connect for Chrome and provide training to help users get up-to-speed quickly. Customers will find that integrating ShoreTel Connect with their productivity suites adds to the value of both platforms.