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VoIP business phones

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VoIP business phones $10,000

Integrating with your cell phones $49.99

Using another box to talk to your box Silly

ShoreTel makes a terrific product. If someone had me at gun point and made me choose a premises-based phone system, I guess I would choose them. The reality is no mid-sized business should own a premised-based phone system. Depending on which analyst you talk to these systems will become extinct in the next five to seven years, and your best bet for locating one might be to visit a museum!

Now ShoreTel is announcing that their box can integrate with cell phones! http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/merger-puts-cellphones-on-the-desk/

(That’s great; but M5 has already been an innovator in fixed to mobile convergence. http://wms26.streamhoster.com/m5networks/game%20and%20gadgets.wmv)

Right away, this raises the issue of what to do with yet another box! After the Internet, the cell phone network is the 2nd most powerful cloud in the world. Why would you want to put another point of failure in the office? Agito looks like they have a nice little product, but it’s a router! If you are going to do something as powerful as combing the corporate phone system with your iphone, would you really want to store that device next to the mop?

This is inherently the problem with premises-based solutions of all kinds and the power of the cloud. Can you imagine if we all still ran our websites in our offices? Who among us doesn’t use a provider like Rackspace, who hosts our web presence in a secure, redundant data center? The web became too important, and the phones became even more crucial to mid-sized companies.

By the way, the article totally misses the most important part of fixed to mobile convergence. The ability to four-digit dial your colleagues from your cell phone as if you are in the office is pretty cool. And having those calls captured in a cloud-based CRM like salesforce.com is downright powerful.

30% of business calls already occur over smartphones. Losing that data from your CRM when you are trying to forecast sales to the board is missing key leading indicators for sales success. I ask fellow heads of sales how they know whether a new sales rep is going to make it. 90% of them answer: “if they are hitting quota.” But that’s like finding the black box after an airplane crashes. It’s nice to know the cause of the crash, but no one would deny that it would’ve been better to have prevented the plane from crashing in the first place?

Combining smart phones with corporate phones in the cloud is priceless.

Combining smart phones with corporate phones in the cloud with hosted CRM is powerful