Comms Business Magazine talks to Michael Thomson, VP of Product Management & Development at Swyx about the launch of their latest product, SwyxWare 2013. Launched in June, we wanted to know what new opportunities does Swyx’s latest software offer channel partners.
Michael Thomson, Swyx’s VP of Product Management & Development, has worked at the unified communications vendor, headquartered in Dortmund, Germany for more than 12 years.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM):In June, Swyx launched the latest version of their ‘Unified Communications’, but what are the significant differences of the new product, SwyxWare 2013?
Michael Tomson (MT): The development of SwyxWare 2013 was driven by two main principles. Firstly it was important for us to customise the user experience to support both current and future needs. In recent years, the demands on the modern workplace have changed, with the emergence of new classes of mobile devices and shifts in the overall work culture caused by trends such as mobile working and social media. Secondly we felt it was important from a business perspective to support the latest generation of Microsoft products such as Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, SQL 2012 and Outlook 2013 in particular.
CBM: What specific new messages can partner pass on to customers and prospects?
MT: Swyx connoisseurs are already familiar about the deep integration capabilities between system telephones and back office apps with our SwyxIt! PC Client, one of the great strengths of SwyxWare. However, with the new CTI + option we have gone one step further. This allows not only the control of any SIP or Swyx IP DECT terminal device, but with any device, such as an analogue Hotel Phone or a private DECT telephone in a rural home office where there is insufficient data connection.
By typing the phone number of the device and a few mouse clicks, any personal telephone system can be fully integrated into SwyxWare and coupled with the PC client. This coupling is even retained when the PC is turned off.
CBM: Do you have any favourite features?
MT: My personal favourite new functionality is ‘Linked Speed Dial Keys’. By simply hovering your mouse over any contact in your SwyxIt! you can see at a glance all their presence information plus icons for a choice of contact channels such as email, Instant Messaging, phone/video call.
When you click on the ‘Linked Speed Dial’ arrow key, it expands the window to display all the relevant contact information on-screen and you simply select the best method of communication according to their status.
For example if the contact person is travelling, you might call via their mobile phone or if he/she is in the office simply send an instant message. If a contact changes, you only need to make this change once in your main CRM or database because it is integrated with Swyx, so all updates are made automatically.
The user does not need to maintain a separate phone book, but is guaranteed to always have access to the most up-to-date address information. We currently support Swyx connectors in Outlook, Lotus Notes, plus DATEV and SwyxPLUS Visual Contacts (LDAP).
CBM: What’s planned for the future?
MT: Other integrations for example with social media services such as LinkedIn and Facebook are also being considered. This feature is especially interesting for integrators and manufacturers: the connection of the data sources is done on the basis of open APIs. For example, a project or application-specific integration, with bespoke CRM databases is possible with little development effort.
CBM: Can you summarise what’s new with SwyxWare 2013?
MT: Overall, almost 600 improvements have found their way into SwyxWare 2013. This includes visible enhancements such as support for the extended taskbar functionality in Windows 7/8. This gives the user a quick overview of missed calls or voicemails, even if the client PC is in the background.
The new voicemail player has been adapted to the design of MS Outlook 2013, with the display of search results in the PC client made clearer and sorted by relevance, such as status and data source, plus you can listen to voicemails with a single click.
But even under the “hood” we have made many changes. Improved media handling for example, within Swyx conference services has led to a significant increase in performance, reflected both in the number of conference participants possible as well as in audio quality.
CBM: What is Swyx doing to help supports its partners in selling the latest software to customers?
MT: We freshened up our partner programme in the Spring, so resellers who focus on Swyx, get more holistic support. By offering complimentary software licences to our partners, they can use the software themselves and in turn actively share their experiences with the customer. With our pre-sales support, we also proactively assist partners with the preparation and planning of initial installations. Partners can also claim a ‘free expert’ that will help guarantee the smooth running of the implementation.
To encourage new business, we also provide marketing consultancy and co-op funding to resellers, helping them with lead generation activities such as events, direct marketing and/or advertising, not to mention sales incentives including travel vouchers plus the chance to win an all expenses weekend shopping trip to New York. We will also be announcing shortly a range of sales incentives around the launch of SwyxWare 2013 as well as a series of Sales Workshops to educate resellers on the new sales opportunities created by the new software.
CBM: Finally, Any news on the hardware side?
MT: Yes, we have brought out our Swyx DECT500 phone in the spring that is ideally priced for the SME market. The handset D510, the associated base station and the repeater are also attractive, particularly for partners and end users who have been deterred by the high entry level cost of a full IP-DECT multi-cell system, but want to benefit from full DECT functionality. For a low price, our DECT solution gives HD audio voice quality and updating of new functionality via a simple software download.