Microsoft’s Smart Unified Comm Move
The VAR Guy spends ample time bashing a few Microsoft offerings (chiefly Windows Vista). But in this blog entry, he needs to tip his hat to the software giant. A small announcement between Microsoft and ShoreTel provides some big ideas for partners moving into the unified communications market. Here’s why.
Generally speaking, Microsoft works most closely with Nortel Networks in the unified communications space. That relationship has developed somewhat Microsoft-Nortel showdown against Cisco Systems. But another Microsoft division — the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team — is doing some interesting work in the unified communications market as well. In fact, the Dynamics team has worked closely with ShoreTel to integrate phone communications with customer tracking, Microsoft and ShoreTel have disclosed.
This isn’t rocket science: Linking voice-over-IP with CRM is a big trend. Cisco, for instance, has a relationship with SalesForce.com in the unified communications market. But here’s the twist: Cisco will need to work overtime to convince more software developers to integrate their applications with Cisco’s unified networks.
Software developers are busy folks, after all. When they think of platforms, their first thoughts typically involve Windows, Linux, Unix or perhaps database-level applications.
Writing for a network platform? That’s a new mindset for many independent software vendors (ISVs).
On the flip side, The VAR Guy expects Microsoft to have an easy time lining up third-party network platform partners. If you’re ShoreTel, 3Com, Avaya and AdTRan, you’d likely be thrilled to hear Microsoft’s application teams want to add value to your VoIP systems.
Cisco is working overtime to line up more application partners. The VAR Guy expects some updates at VoiceCon (March 17-20) and the Cisco Partner Summit (April 8-11). But today’s tip of the hat goes to Microsoft and the ShoreTel deal.