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Shoreline and Nemertes Research Study Shows Voice-Enabled Collaboration Improves Both Top and Bottom Line

Converged Voice and Data Environment Increases Sales and Improves Customer Service
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SUNNYVALE, CA, May 20, 2003 - Shoreline Communications, a pioneer in the development of multi-site IP PBX systems, and Nemertes Research, a specialist in quantifying the business impact of technology, today announced results of a study showing that voice-enabled collaboration technologies can deliver significant improvements to both the top and bottom line. The findings quantify top-line gains businesses can realize when on-demand collaboration is used to increase sales and improve customer service.

The Nemertes Research study confirms what our customers have been telling us for some time," said Jennifer Stagnaro, Shoreline chief marketing officer. VoIP migration can pay for itself rapidly by providing streamlined management, toll bypass, and other operational efficiencies, but these are just the benefits that have been easy to quantify. The bigger picture is a converged voice and data environment that enables organizations to change the way they do business, increasing productivity and improving customer service."

The in-depth study examined productivity and performance at a cross-section of companies, including midsized financial-services institutions and professional-services firms. In both these groups, the findings show that collaborative technologies combining voice and data not only reduce the cost of transactions, but also improve the likelihood of revenue-generating transaction outcomes.

"In particular, voice-enabled collaboration generates more revenue by delivering what we call 'Just-in-Time, Fetch-the-Expert' [JITFTE] capabilities," said Johna Till Johnson, president and chief research officer of Nemertes Research. "A convergence of presence information, audio conferencing and data messaging lets salespeople pull geographically remote experts into the sales process as needed. This ability to demonstrate subject-matter expertise and gain instantaneous credibility with customers can increase close rates significantly."

Collaboration's Impact on Financial Services

The study found that midsized financial-services companies share some common characteristics and challenges, including geographically dispersed expertise, a dependence on phone interactions, and a need to provide customers with information promptly. In fact, all companies interviewed cited their ability to quickly and effectively interact with the customer as a key differentiator.

Nemertes Research created cost models demonstrating that if JITFTE collaboration technologies could produce even minor improvements in close rates, there would be measurable top-line benefits. By introducing JITFTE collaboration into sales situations, typical community banks can expect revenue gains ranging from $38,000 to $918,000 per year.

Collaboration's Impact on Professional Services The professional-services firms in the study also share some common characteristics and challenges, regardless of the type of service they provide. These include geographically dispersed expertise, the need for a lot of internal collaboration to create and refine client deliverables, and revenue that is highly dependent on effective interaction with clients.

In particular, consulting firms can maintain high margins on projects by deploying replicable methodologies, substituting lower-cost workers for higher-cost workers, and reusing institutional insight—all of which are facilitated by effective collaboration. The study found that collaboration technologies can lower transaction costs, shorten transaction times, and—more importantly—improve transaction quality. Specifically, collaborative technologies can help improve the close rate for project sales as well as the quality of the ultimate deliverables.

Nemertes Research created cost models demonstrating that if JITFTE collaboration technologies could improve close rates by even 1%, professional-services firms could realize revenue improvements ranging from $70,000 to $350,000 per year.

ROI Calculators Estimate Potential Gains

Closing rates increase when employees can reach an expert immediately and get answers to urgent questions that will help secure a deal. To help estimate the potential impact of collaborative technologies, Nemertes Research has developed interactive ROI calculators customized for professional- and financial-services firms. The "Just-in-Time, Fetch-the- Expert" tools calculate the dollar-value benefits businesses can get when collaboration tools help them improve closing rates by various percentages.

Banks or professional-services firms can adjust the calculator based on their own figures for average loan or project sizes, number of loans or bids considered per year, or typical margins. The calculator uses this information to compute the dollar value of improved close rates obtained from the JITFTE technology.

About Nemertes Research

Nemertes Research is an independent research firm that specializes in quantifying the business impact of technology, delivering objective, real-world insight that helps help clients optimize their IT investments. The Nemertes Research team has close, long-term relationships with some 2,600 IT professionals who represent U.S. and European technology leaders and provide continuous input about the current drivers behind their technology purchasing decisions. For more information, visit or call (888) 241-2685.

About Shoreline Communications

Shoreline Communications, Inc., provides next-generation voice systems that are IP Phone Systems by Design. Thousands of enthusiastic users are taking advantage of the company's award-winning distributed IP PBX technology, leveraging expertise and resources across multiple sites to improve customer service, increase employee productivity and lower operational costs. Shoreline has a select group of channel partners that provide top-notch service and support.  For more information, visit or call 1-877-80SHORE.

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