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VoIP Contact Center Featured Article

May 08, 2007

Interactive Intelligence Offers Alternative To SaaS Point Solution Headaches"

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, Editorial Director,
Customer Interaction Solutions magazine

You'd be hard pressed to find a business editor who covers the contact center who doesn't think the potential for call center functionality to be delivered as software-as-a-service is exciting. The benefits that accompany this technology delivery method are numerous and expanding regularly. As organizations choose SaaS (News - Alert) for their contact centers, they are discovering new benefits they hadn't even banked on when they'd made the initial purchase decisions.
 
Today, call centers are finding that they can essentially "lease" call center functionality via software-as-a-service in the following areas (and I'm sure I've missed a few):
 
  • IVR
  • Workforce management
  • Call recording
  • Outbound/predictive dialing
  • ACD (automatic call distribution)
  • E-mail response management
  • Web self-service
  • Speech technologies/speech analytics
  • E-learning/training/simulation
 
What this means is that companies can take the start-up time for a new call center, which used to run to months, if not a year, and turn it into days. They can build virtual call centers where there are no large buildings or even physical premises via distributed or virtual call centers built from a pool of home agents. They can make almost instantaneous changes to their SaaS call center resources, on-the-fly and with little training, via drag-and-drop configuration. They don't need a team of IT professionals to maintain their technologies or try to dream up ways to integrate legacy point solutions. They can scale their contact center's capacity up or down as needed without losing money or making additional investments. They can acquire full-featured call center functionality with little up-front capital. And best of all? They can sleep at night know that the administration and hosting of these contact center solutions are someone else's problem.
 
To date, however, many contact center software-as-a-solution capabilities have been offered as point solutions. Yes, there are companies that offer one, two or a few components of the contact center via software-as-a-service, but by and large, one-stop shopping was not available.
 
Today, business communications software developer Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) announced a portfolio of software-as-a-service solutions for both the contact center and the enterprise. The SaaS solutions are based on the company's all-in-one unified communications suite, which was introduced in 1997 to combat the expense and difficulties of multiple point solutions.
 
Repeating the trend to help correct the complexities associated with multiple SaaS point solutions, Interactive Intelligence's new software-as-a-service portfolio includes components to address IVR, automatic call distribution (ACD), outbound and predictive dialing, quality monitoring and multimedia recording, business continuity, workforce management, real-time supervision, knowledge/e-mail response management and Web self-service.
 
The company's SaaS for the enterprise currently includes "on-demand" automated outbound telephone notification services called icNotify. The company plans to expand these services over the next nine months to include multi-party audio conferencing, disaster recovery, auto-attendant, unified messaging, and real-time communications such as find-me/follow-me services.
 
Interactive Intelligence is offering its SaaS to fill the gap left by carriers, applications service providers and start-up vendors that have little or no expertise developing sophisticated contact center and enterprise telephony applications, according to Joseph A. Staples, senior vice president of worldwide marketing.
 
"Our SaaS offering enables us to meet customer demand by delivering our innovative, yet proven contact center and enterprise applications in a streamlined, and often times more cost-effective manner," Staples said. "With more than a decade of experience developing these applications, and with the advantage of delivering them based on our single-vendor, single-platform architecture, we give customers faster set-up and response time, virtually unlimited customization options, and more robust and reliable service overall."
 
The Interactive Intelligence SaaS supports SIP-based voice over IP, traditional TDM and hybrid switching. Based on a segregated server model, Interactive Intelligence also gives customers a simple migration path should they choose to move the SaaS functionality on premise.
 
For more information about the SaaS portfolio, visit www.inin.com.
 
Tracey Schelmetic is editorial director for CUSTOMER INTER@CTION Solutions. For more articles please visit Tracey Schelmetic’s columnist page.
 
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