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Customer Inter@ction Solutions
April 2007 - Volume 25 / Number 11
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By Tracey E. Schelmetic, Editorial Director, Customer [email protected] Solutions



Symon Debuts Symon Enterprise
Server 9.2
Symon Communications, Inc., a provider of real-time digital communication solutions, operational performance and productivity tools, recently announced the release of Symon Enterprise Server (SES) 9.2 software. SES 9.2 is billed as a sophisticated yet easy-to-use software engine that powers Symon products for use in various markets such as digital signage, corporate communications, contact center and supply chain management. One of the key benefits of the SES 9.2 is that one server allows customers to simultaneously operate many devices and applications, reducing the number of servers and other IT involvement.

NICE Launches NICE Inform NICE Systems (News - Alert) Ltd. has announced the launch of NICE Inform, a solution the company says "revolutionizes information management in the security market." NICE Inform provides capabilities for effectively managing multimedia incident information from various sources for faster incident reconstruction, greater insight and improved response. The comprehensive capabilities of NICE Inform can be tailored to the specific needs of command and control centers for first responders and homeland security, transportation, government and private sector organizations, and deliver improved collaboration and operational efficiency to enhance safety and security.

Verint Updates Performance Management Solution Verint Systems (News - Alert) Inc. recently announced a new version of its Verint Performance Management, which combines speech analytics with performance analytics to enhance performance across contact centers, back-office and enterprise departments. Organizations can identify the most important performance indicators buried in large volumes of contact center and back-office data and transform performance management from a metrics-driven to results-driven initiative. Featuring intuitive Web-based dashboards, real-time alerts and robust performance reporting, Verint Performance Management delivers powerful performance intelligence that enables executives to make smarter decisions on the most effective ways to enhance operational performance.

TouchStar Releases IP-PBX (News - Alert) Product For VoIP
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
In an effort to provide its clients with additional functionality that can also cut costs, TouchStar Software Corporation has announced the beta release of its new TouchStar IP-PBX product.

Businesses are realizing the benefits of technology advancements and, as a result, are rapidly upgrading their traditional telephone switches to systems that are also capable of operating over next-generation voice and data integrated networks. An IP-PBX that uses VoIP long distance can provide tremendous cost savings to the organization. These businesses can also realize efficiencies by utilizing one phone switch for multiple offices or at-home users as remote users are connected through an Internet connection. Having the capability to support remote users empowers a business with new operational flexibility.

Offering a rich feature set, the TouchStar IP-PBX provides not only classic PBX functionality, it also offers advanced features like recording, monitoring, conference bridging, call queuing and remote agents. In addition, the TouchStar IP-PBX provides a GUI administrator interface that is designed to make moves, adds and changes easy to implement in a corporate office environment.

According to Steve Bederman, TouchStar Software's CEO, the company has learned to develop, manage and support complex phone systems in a contact center environment. Expanding into the wide PBX market is a natural progression for TouchStar. Through the growth of the company's products and services beyond its current worldwide client base, TouchStar has begun a migration path that will ensure a leadership position in development, sales and service. Bederman went on to add that businesses requiring communications and client relationship data management will greatly benefit from this enhancement.

Aspect Software (News - Alert) Intros Aspect Performance Management
By Stefania Viscusi, TMCnet Assistant Editor
Merced Systems and Aspect Software have announced the availability of a new product offering from Aspect Software to provide performance improvements that are timely and relevant for the contact center. The new offering, Aspect Performance Management, is an application powered by Merced Performance Suite and will combine both companies' technologies to offer dashboards, notifications and workflows that encourage improved alignment between actual operational performance and strategic corporate goals.

The improvement is driven by KPIs and also includes automated results tracking and initiative-based coaching and synchronized performance measurement for a "continuous improvement process at minimal cost," explained Bob Kelly, vice president of performance optimization solutions at Aspect Software.

The performance management solution was designed to provide the tools and information needed to better align call center performance with corporate objectives and to help identify root causes of issues - to better agent performance. The solution can also be used in conjunction with other parts of the Aspect Contact Center Performance Optimization product line to provide increased agent performance, better quality and customer contact.



VoiceLog (News - Alert) And First Marketing Partner To Create e-Kit
VoiceLog, a provider of third-party verification services, and direct marketing services provider First Marketing have announced the availability of the e-Kit, an electronic welcome program designed to give communications service providers, competitive utility companies and others the ability to communicate with new customers immediately following the completion of third-party verification. As an added value, the e-Kit can curb customer churn after a carrier change, reduce customer confusion during the carrier change and improve the new sign-up welcome experience. www.voicelog.com

Altitude Software Launches Altitude Voice Portal Contact center solutions provider Altitude Software has announced the availability of the Altitude Voice Portal, the company's new voice platform designed to deliver an improved self-service experience, increase agent, productivity and help grow the contact center’s role as a high-value-added operation. The Voice Portal is standards-based and includes connectors with best-of-breed automatic speech recognition and text-to-speech solutions. Programming can be done both with VXML or integrated Altitude Scripting Language and runs on top of SIP or CTI / ISDN links.

Richardson Launches Self-Diagnostic Tool Richardson, a sales training and consulting firm, has announced the launch of a new online negotiations self-diagnostic tool to support its portfolio of Richardson SkillGauge diagnostics. The new negotiations diagnostic is a tool to help professionals self-assess their negotiation skills and close performance gaps. Consisting of 30 targeted, multiple choice questions, Richardson SkillGauge: Consultative Negotiation Skills provides professionals with in-depth, confidential feedback on their negotiation strategy and skills. It enables professionals to identify strengths and areas for development in six critical behavioral categories. www.richardson.com

Envox 7 Launches For IP Voice And Video
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, Editorial Director, Customer Interaction
Solutions magazine

It's clear that as we move forward at breakneck speed toward the next era of personal and enterprise communications, there is one thing that is getting consumers very, very excited: IP voice and, in particular, video.

It's also clear that what gets consumers very, very excited makes solutions providers (not to mention content providers) positively giddy with delight. Of course, to get the content to the consumers over the channels of their choice, the industry will need development platforms that enable developers to quickly and easily deliver this material.

Voice solutions provider Envox Worldwide (News - Alert) has been glad to oblige; they recently announced the introduction of Envox 7, the new version of the company's open standards-based communications development platform. Envox 7 was designed to significantly reduce the time, cost and complexity of developing and deploying voice and IP communications solutions, according to the company.

Envox 7 combines support for traditional voice communications with comprehensive support for IP communications solutions, including IP telephony, video messaging, SMS and e-mail, on a single, cost-effective platform. Its new video capabilities enable developers to create a variety of video applications including video messaging, video call-recording and interactive voice and video response (IVVR) solutions. The company cites Envox 7's time-to-market advantages, ease-of-use and flexibility, all maintained to help empower developers to create a range of voice solutions.

Envox 7 includes new capabilities that are expected to help drive revenues for service providers and improve efficiency and customer service operations for enterprises. The capabilities include video communication, support for open standards, redundancy improvements and fault-tolerant operation and a host of other product features.

Gartner (News - Alert) Finds SaaS Market To Hit $19.3 Billion By 2011

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The worldwide software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) market reached $6.3 billion in 2006 and is forecast to grow to $19.3 billion by year-end 2011, according to Gartner, Inc.

SaaS is hosted software based on a single set of common code and data definitions that are consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers, at any time, on a pay-for-use basis, or as a subscription based on usage metrics. The SaaS model is popular for CRM and other technologies such as human resources.

Why such success? "The dysfunction of the client/server era is driving alternative approaches to IT development, delivery and management, which SaaS is the most apparent version of," said Ben Pring, research vice president for Gartner.

SaaS adoption is broadening out from CRM and HR into new areas such as procurement and compliance management, Gartner has found. However, the scale of change involved in moving to a SaaS approach is proving hard for many vendors to manage. "Due to the law of large numbers, traditional IT product models are becoming victims of their own success, while the relative smallness of new approaches facilitates growth much more easily," said Pring.

Although the SaaS market is still small, Gartner analysts said the scale of change that SaaS will produce requires providers to keep ahead of the SaaS wave. To do this, they recommend, among other options, to use products built on next-generation Web services, SOAs and highly automated server farms to produce "multitenant, mass-customizable products that facilitate agility while sustaining uniqueness at a reduced cost."

Nortel (News - Alert) Outlines Its Vision For Unified Communications
By Anuradha Shukla, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Nortel recently announced its vision for unified communications and outlined upcoming solutions to provide enterprises with simple and reliable methods of delivering voice, video and data over IP.

Nortel's unified communications solutions allow users to experience streamlined communications within their business application while leveraging their existing IT investments. The company is launching many new solutions that deliver a richer set of UC tools while ensuring the resiliency of the communications network.

The Communication Server (CS) 1000, Nortel's cornerstone IP telephony solution, will deliver new capabilities and enhancements to further strengthen this VoIP platform. A new version of CS 1000 will provide improved reliability and redundancy, enhanced network and voice call security and new E911 capabilities. The new version will deliver unified communications capabilities through planned interoperability with Microsoft (News - Alert) Office Communications Server 2007.

Nortel is also introducing the Multimedia Communication Server 5100, which improves productivity by providing users with tight integration of telephony and multimedia applications within IBM (News - Alert) Lotus Notes.

Featuring a number of significant enhancements, MCS 5100 boasts improved and simplified collaboration capabilities that enable a full range of voice, video, conferencing, e-mail, IM and presence capabilities at the click of a mouse, along with enhanced mobility capabilities that provide a rich communications experience for mobile workers. Additionally, the new MCS 5100 release also supports new SIP-based IP phones. This capability improves usability and flexibility and improves the overall security, reliability, manageability and scalability of the core platform, which now operates on IBM servers with a Linux operating system.

A feature-rich, carrier-grade solution, Unified Messaging 2000, is also new from Nortel. The solution, which supports up to one million users, enables voice mail, fax and e-mail to be accessed together through common e-mail applications and integrates with Active Directory. Since UM 2000 is standards-based, it can operate in a multi-vendor voice network and is targeted to global enterprises as well as carriers that offer their customers unified messaging solutions.

Aastra Launches Free Hosted Call Center Service For SMBs
By Divya Narain, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Aastra USA Inc., a recognized player in the IP communications space, has unveiled a new hosted call center service tailored for small to medium-sized businesses. The Web-based product, CVCC Express, encompasses key incoming call center features of the company's flagship service, Centergy Virtual Contact Center. These functionalities include automated call routing, announcements, skills-based routing, real-time reporting and historical performance tracking. Additionally, the service is completely Internet-based, even the training and provisioning, which provides agents the flexibility to work from any place, using just a phone and an Internet connection. The service is totally free, without any upfront cost and monthly service charge.

Suited for SMBs and small call centers within larger organizations, the service has the potential to support innumerable agents and supervisors. In addition, being a hosted service, CVCC Express eliminates the need for buying hardware and software.

"Excellent customer service should not be something only large companies can afford," said Dana Call, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Aastra USA Inc. "Our rich history of delivering contact center solutions to major enterprises has provided us with a distinct insight into the most critical needs of call center managers. Using Web-based technology we are now able to provide cost-effective solutions for companies of all sizes."

Automated Voice Response Over Predictive Dialers
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The time spent on outbound calling for the call center is one of the biggest drains on efficiency and resources. While predictive dialers have been used for years to help promote operational efficiency, more call centers are starting to abandon such technologies to focus on automated voice messaging (AVM).

In the latest white paper from SoundBite Communications (News - Alert), Automated Voice Messaging Versus Predictive Dialers, the argument is made that AVM is now the most effective contact tool for the collection manager. The main reason that AVM is taking market share away from predictive dialers is that it eliminates waste from outbound contact attempts. Most outbound attempts for the collections call center result in connecting with the wrong party or an answering machine pickup. More than 80 percent of an agent's time can be consumed with these non-productive contacts. With AVM, agents can start spending the majority of their time talking to the right parties and negotiating payments rather than dialing and leaving messages.

SoundBite's white paper provides insight into how AVM can impact profit and losses; the available capacity and higher callback rates that can result from AVM implementation; how an AVM implementation can produce a reduction in full-time staff as well as agentless transactions; and an in-depth comparison between predictive dialers and AVM.
View the full white paper at www.tmcnet.com/546.1

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