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By Tracey E. Schelmetic, Editorial Director, Customer Inter@ction Solutions

Aspect Debuts Unified Command
And Control

Aspect Software recently announced the general availability of Unified Command and Control, a new solution designed to enable contact centers to centralize their reporting, routing, administration and workflow management in a single console, resulting in reduced complexity, increased productivity and the ability to deliver an improved customer experience. Unified Command and Control helps manage as many as 40 different nodes for as many as 40,000 agents, either within a single site or across multiple contact center locations. Unified Command and Control, a key component of the Aspect Software unified approach, opens the door for expanded virtualization by increasing an organization’s ability to manage and control multiple contact centers and applications. It enables contact centers to leverage existing investments in Aspect Software solutions while also seamlessly moving to new session initiation protocol (SIP)-based voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) platforms.

Telrex Issues New Release Of Live Monitoring Solution
Telrex, provider of the CallRex suite of IP call recording and call center optimization solutions, recently announced CallRex Multi-Media Release 3.7 optimized for formal and informal call centers. CallRex Multi-Media software provides live monitoring of employees’ computer screens, records screenshots, logs Web activity, tracks e-mails sent and received and provides comprehensive reporting on individuals and groups. Release 3.7 features improved desktop computer live monitoring and screenshot recording, enhanced e-mail support and enhanced tracking of both browser-based applications and Internet activity on Internet Explorer 7.0. CallRex Multi-Media, an integrated companion module to CallRex Professional IP call recording and monitoring software, is designed for managers who train employees, monitor performance, and provide insight into customer interactions.

Verint Offering Analytics-Driven Workforce Optimization Solution
Verint Systems Inc. recently unveiled an end-to-end solution for analyzing customer service effectiveness and optimizing workforce performance. The company’s Impact 360 analytics-driven workforce optimization software and services were designed to help organizations striving to analyze and extract critical information from customer interactions to optimize workforce performance and improve the overall effectiveness of customer service operations to enhance the customer experience. As a unified, analytics-driven workforce optimization offering, Impact 360 helps organizations improve the entire customer service delivery network — from contact centers to branch stores and remote offices to back-office operations. The Impact 360 suite includes a multitude of new functionality across quality monitoring and call recording, speech and data analytics, workforce management, customer feedback, e-learning and performance management to help improve the customer experience across virtually every customer touch point across an organization.

TLC&A To Open New Contact Center
Thomas L. Cardella & Associates (TLC&A) has announced that it will launch a new contact center in Keokuk, Iowa, bringing up to 225 jobs and over $4 million dollars of annualized payroll to the city of Keokuk. Anticipated opening date for the Keokuk contact center, located at 3882 Main Street, is March 1, 2008. Thomas L. Cardella & Associates will offer up to 200 entry-level positions and 25 managerial employment opportunities.

Convergys Names Orr Replacement
The board of directors of Convergys Corporation recently elected one of its members, Philip A. Odeen, to be non-executive chairman effective December 31, 2007. Odeen replaces James F. Orr who announced on February 20 of last year that he would retire from the position of chairman on December 31, 2007.

Invervoice Offers Speaker Verification Solution To Banks
Intervoice, Inc. has announced the general availability of its banking application with speaker verification. Government regulations, coupled with the growth of identity fraud, are driving market awareness and the need for enhanced security, making features like speaker verification critical to institutions and individuals that are increasingly concerned about protecting their assets and account information. Intervoice Banking 4.0 works to combat this crisis by helping financial institutions offer their customers more secure access to personal data. Out of the box, Intervoice Banking gives financial institutions a way to provide voice self-service to its customers, either through speech or touch-tone. Customers calling into the system can verbally identify themselves, their account and their requests without having to traverse complex menus. Customers benefit from being able to interact with a friendly, conversational system that provides anytime, anywhere access to account information.

Avaya Tops Alcatel-Lucent In
Western Europe

Synergy Research Group and Current Analysis recently announced the availability of its Synergy Q3 2007 Enterprise Voice Equipment Market Share reports for the U.S. and Western Europe regions. Enterprise telephony equipment sales in the third quarter of 2007 were marked by healthy double-digit growth from Avaya, Cisco and Nortel in both the U.S. and Western Europe. Avaya posted the strongest U.S. sequential revenue growth at 41 percent; however, this was not enough to take back the number one position from Cisco. Nortel managed to maintain their U.S. market share position and posted a slight quarterly gain in Western Europe. Alcatel-Lucent for the first time lost its number one position to Avaya in Western Europe, as it shed 4.5 market share points. Cisco moved up the ranks reaching its highest market share to date in Western Europe, and doubling its share position in less than three years.

Teleperformance Chairman To Retire
Jacques Berrebi, VP of the Supervisory Board of outsourced call center giant Teleperformance S.A. and Chairman of the Teleperformance Group Inc., recently announced his plans to retire. After having consulted the different governing parties — supervisory board and Board of Directors — and very conscious of his responsibilities as co-founder of the Group, the 65-year-old Berrebi has decided to terminate all his operational duties as of January 5, 2009, thus respecting the period of advanced notice and all other contractual engagements.

Open Source CRM's Concursive Releases Concourse Suite 5.0
Concursive Corporation, formerly Centric CRM, a vendor of open-source customer relationship management, content management, and Enterprise 2.0 technologies, has released a new version of its core software suite. The new application, Concourse Suite 5.0, "integrates CRM, Web site creation, content management and Enterprise 2.0 technologies into a complete front-office product," according to the company. A Java-based application with a standards-based plug-in architecture, Concourse Suite 5.0 allows third-party developers to integrate applications and share data with key company applications including HR, financial, inventory and delivery, and logistics systems.

West At Home Agents Now Company Employees
West Corporation has announced that its work at home agent service has changed from a contractor model to an employee model.
The move was triggered by clients’ expressed need for strong agent management, including continual coaching, feedback and extensive quality monitoring. The employee model allows West to enhance the quality of its workforce by holding its at-home employees to a higher standard, by providing more comprehensive training and ongoing quality reviews. Many of the former independent contractors used by West have now been hired as employees of West at Home. By tapping into this large pool of existing talent, West at Home has been able to ensure staffing flexibility while effecting no change in ramp-up time.

OpenSolutions Alliance Finds Rising Interest In Open-Source CRM, Others
The Open Solutions Alliance, a nonprofit, vendor-neutral consortium promoting interoperability and adoption of comprehensive open products, recently announced the key findings uncovered during its 2007 Customer Forum Series. The forum found the most widely used open-source applications included the application server Jboss, the commercial databases MySQL and Postgres and the Eclipse development platform. Software products such as CRM and ECM (enterprise content management) applications are also increasing in popularity. After meeting with more than 100 customers in five cities throughout the United States and Europe, the OSA found that "interoperability between open products" tops the list of requirements among customers and channel partners who are deploying these products.

Oracle Unveils Application Integration Architecture Foundation Pack
Oracle has unveiled Oracle Application Integration Architecture Foundation Pack, a component of Oracle Application Integration Architecture — the open, standards-based platform for business process integration across Oracle, third-party and custom applications. Oracle Application Integration Architecture, according to the company, delivers pre-built service-oriented architecture integrations across Oracle ERP, CRM and industry applications. Foundation Pack "takes this one step further," company officials say, by giving customers and partners "the tools to implement their own composite business processes across all applications."

Oracle Unveils Application
NICE Wins Large Asian Banking Contract

NICE Systems Inc., a provider of solutions and services that enable insightful and proactive action for improving business and operational performance, has announced its NICE Perform offering has been chosen by a major Asian bank to help improve their VoIP environment. The multimillion dollar order of NICE Perform is an expansion of the Asian bank's NICE implementation and will be used to help the bank achieve compliance with regulations in their VoIP environment. NICE Systems offers advanced solutions that enable organizations to extract Insight from Interactions. With NICE Perform's Compliance Suite, the bank, which recently made the move to VoIP, will be able to answer to challenges in financial regulatory compliance and corporate governance.

VIPdesk CEO Named To TelCoa's Advisory Board
VIPdesk, a provider of home-based contact center solutions and concierge services, has announced that founder and CEO Mary Naylor has been named to The Telework Coalition’s (TelCoa) Advisory Board. TelCoa is a non-profit organization that brings together a diverse array of organizations, companies, and individuals with the common interest of promoting awareness and adoption of existing and emerging telework and telecommuting applications including virtual contact center services. VIPdesk operates a customer management outsourcing model called "homeshoring" that uses home-based agents to field various types of customer care inquiries. Industry analyst firm IDC notes there are an estimated 139,000 home-based phone representatives currently in the U.S., and predicts that number could exceed 300,000 by 2010. VIPdesk currently provides remote telework opportunities to more than 90 percent of its workforce. The company’s remote team is expected to grow 640 percent by the end of 2007 to handle a planned 1,120 percent increase in call volume.

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