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Executive Spotlight recently spoke with Lou Boudreau, CTO of Verint Systems Contact Center Solutions (www.verint.com). Verint provides analytic software-based solutions for the security and business intelligence markets.


CIS: How do you feel about the apparent new trend of combining contact center solutions vendors into forming large 'super companies'? Do you think it's a bonus or a drawback for customers?

LB: Consolidation is inevitable in markets that have been established for some time. We have not found that our enterprise customers are more inclined to do business with 'super companies' that are looking to offer a wide variety of solutions. Our customers are demanding the freedom to choose best-of-breed solutions that meet their business requirements, with the comfort of knowing that they will interoperate with our market-leading ULTRA suite.

To address this requirement, we recently announced ULTRA IntelliConnect, a comprehensive set of prebuilt integrations to a wide range of best-of-breed vendor solutions such as CRM, customer surveys, workforce management, knowledge management, performance management and business intelligence. ULTRA IntelliConnect enables customers to take advantage of best-of-breed solutions while leveraging their existing investments in contact center technology. The result is differentiated technology while reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) for their customer-centric technology solutions.

ULTRA IntelliConnect integrates data for more powerful analytics through a 360-degree view of agents, contact centers and the enterprise, and powers more effective scorecards and reports, richer data mining and more effective call content categorization. ULTRA IntelliConnect reduces administration and improves operational workflow across contact center and enterprise applications. IntelliConnect is designed to ensure that ULTRA will grow with customers as their contact centers and enterprise technology evolves.

We believe that this 'open-standards, best-of-breed integrations' approach gives our customers the best possible solutions to meet their important business requirements. This freedom of choice protects customers from being locked into a single vendor with reduced functionality with the potential for increasing maintenance costs over time.

CIS: The contact center industry has, as of late, been emphasizing that it's not only data and analytics that are needed, but real-time data and analytics. Does Verint have the ability to meet this need for real-time statistics?

LB: Yes, we do. Earlier this year Verint announced ULTRA Analytics, our latest generation of actionable intelligence solutions for the contact center market. ULTRA Analytics, powered by Verint's IntelliFind and IntelliMiner solutions, combines speech and data analysis to help enterprises identify, understand and resolve issues that impact the effectiveness of their customer-focused operations.

ULTRA Analytics provides immediate and actionable intelligence on such critical issues as why agents are under-performing, why customers are dissatisfied or why enterprise processes are ineffective. Armed with this intelligence, ULTRA Analytics enables managers to take action to improve workforce performance, enhance the effectiveness of upsell and cross-sell initiatives and reduce customer defection and churn.

Unlike most other solutions in the market today, ULTRA Analytics' powerful root cause analysis helps enterprises understand why customers are calling and take immediate and effective action to better address their needs.'

CIS: How is Verint serving the burgeoning SMB (small to medium-sized business) market? Are recording and analytics solutions cost-effective for these small organizations?

LB: In 2003 Verint launched ULTRA Express, a quality management and liability recording suite designed specifically for the 120-seat-and-below call center.'ULTRA Express provides easy-to-use but robust solutions for smaller centers that operate in competitive markets where quality is an important differentiator or where sales verification, compliance or regulatory pressures demand a comprehensive recording solution. Key to ULTRA Express is the ability for rapid deployment on industry-standard servers, thus lowering costs ' both initial and ongoing. ULTRA Express has been well received, and has proven to be a cost-effective solution for this growing segment of the market.

CIS: How can companies better protect themselves in this era of compliance issues (do-not-call, information disclosure, data security, etc.)?

LB: Solutions like Verint's ULTRA Transaction Management help companies address the challenges of compliance and liability management by enabling them to record, store and readily access all of their customer interactions ' even for outsourced and offshore contact center locations.

ULTRA captures, stores and analyzes customer interactions and makes them instantly available to key personnel across the enterprise. ULTRA provides a robust search tool for rapid access to any recorded contact, no matter how old. ULTRA tags customer interactions with contact-related information to enable users to access customer calls within seconds, helping to improve customer service and reduce call handling time.

By enabling customers to record and readily access interactions from all of their locations across the globe, ULTRA helps them comply with government and industry regulations and more efficiently manage compliance processes. Further, ULTRA offers a secure solution, built on industry standards enabling customers to safeguard sensitive customer data.

CIS: What kinds of new or updated products and services will we be seeing from Verint in the near future?

LB: Verint is focused on discovering new ways for our customers to obtain actionable intelligence from their recorded customer interactions, and to extend these valuable insights across the enterprise. As the first vendor to bring speech analytics solutions to the market, we will continue to innovate in this area and to deliver actionable intelligence solutions that enable our customers to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and enhance customer loyalty and satisfaction. Additionally, we will continue to help our contact center customers better align their processes and programs with enterprise initiatives, and to deliver intelligence throughout the enterprise to key stakeholders who can learn from and improve everything that touches the customer. CIS

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