TMCnet - The World's Largest Communications and Technology Community
ITEXPO begins in:   New Coverage :  Asterisk  |  Fax Software  |  SIP Phones  |  Small Cells

TMC Labs
June 2004

HiPath ProCenter Agile

Siemens Information
and Communication
Networks, Inc

900 Broken Sound Parkway
Boca Raton, FL 33487
Ph: 800-765-6123
Web: www.siemensenterprise.com/
Price: Base Price: $5,000 List for 5 Agent licenses and 1 Manager. 

Editors' Choice Logo


Installation: 5
Documentation: 5
Features: 5
GUI: 5
Overall: A+


Customers are the lifeblood of any organization. As a result, keeping your customers happy is critical. Implementing technology to ensure good customer service is one of the best investments a company can make. Unfortunately, what often happens is that companies weigh the expense of an agent's salary against the cost of good customer service. They often downsize the number of agents or implement self-service IVRs and hope the customers can find the solutions themselves via the IVR before having to 'zero out' to an agent. Some companies even go as far as to disabling the '0' touch-tone key and changing the option to reach an agent to a different key (i.e., '#' or 9), forcing the customer to listen to all of the options before finally discovering how to reach a live agent.

Fortunately, many companies have realized that 'pushing' customers into automated response units, while a valuable tool to reduce costs, is not the entire solution. Intelligent, conditional routing which routes incoming calls to the best available agent has become a valuable tool in ensuring first-class customer service while increasing agents' productivity. In addition, many solutions have realized the power of 'presence management' to ensure that when a call is transferred from one agent to another agent (or manager), that person is 'available' to take the transferred call. This helps avoid unnecessary callbacks and blind transfers, and prevents customers from being sent to voice mail. This results in first contact resolution and increased customer satisfaction.

Siemen's HiPath ProCenter Agile features intelligent call routing as well as integrated presence management capabilities (see Figure 1) in their Windows-based client interface. In fact, the presence management capabilities are some of the most extensive and user-friendly that we have seen. One sure benefit of presence management is that you will know your fellow agents' and supervisors' statuses (at lunch, on the phone, logged out, etc.), which makes it easier to know if a particular person is available to take a call.

TMC Labs traveled to Ontario, to see the product within Siemens' test lab facilities. First, we were impressed with the ease of installation. For such a complex, feature-rich product, installation was an absolute breeze. In fact, Siemens claims that it is a one-day install without any costly professional services that often accompany competing skills-based routing solutions. After seeing the installation phase for ourselves, we couldn't argue with that.


We then moved on to using the application and were immediately impressed with the look and feel of the agent's desktop interface, which was very clean (see Figure 2). It used the minimal amount of valuable screen real-estate while still displaying pertinent information. Also contained within Figure 2 is the optional Broadcaster, which can pull pertinent call center statistics such as service level, average hold time, etc.

In fact, the agent desktop interface is extremely customizable. We should point out that how the agent interface is graphically designed is critical for agent productivity. We were very pleased that Agile doesn't 'pigeonhole' the agent into a single, statically defined view. Agile gives the agent flexibility to view or hide various aspects of the interface, including the ability to dock or undock toolbars. Users can change the languages of the interface on-the-fly to one of six available languages. This is obviously a valuable feature for multilingual call centers. Also, from the agent desktop interface, the agent has the ability to view his or her own personal performance statistics, such as average handle time, calls handled, etc.
We were able to create Team Lists containing our 'favorite' list of coworkers with whom we interact the most. From the Team Lists, you can transfer, consult, conference, etc. Since you can see status/presence of coworkers in your Team List, you can save time and avoid dialing an absent coworker or transferring customers to an unavailable agent. Also, from the agent interface, a contact log displays customers caller I.D. information, allowing agents to simply click on the record to call the customer back.

Other interface capabilities within HiPath ProCenter Agile include screen-pop functionality to display the customer's information, extensive right-click functionality, drag-and-drop functionality, as well as color coding within the agent application to indicate call volume. For instance, you can make a rule that if 5 callers are on hold, the application appears green, if 10 callers are on hold, it's yellow, and if 20 customers are waiting, it turns red. This lets agents know how much they should pace themselves. You can also do this for the 'utilization' category; i.e., utilization can turn red if the agent's utilization percentage drops below a certain number.

The Manager interface was even more powerful than the Agent interface. From this tool, users can set up digital wallboards (broadcasts), add agents and set agents' permissions, monitor important statistics, schedule and run reports (see Figure 3), as well as access the Design Center. Reporting is very powerful, and users can even schedule the reports and have them sent to the screen, a printer or a file.

Design Center

TMC Labs was impressed with the graphical application generator/designer tool called Design Center (see Figure 4), which lets users drag-and-drop various icons, with each icon representing a certain function. For example, we could place an icon with several 'branches' to other icons, and then depending on the DNIS, transfer the call to a certain queue. From the Design Center, users can define both their routing and queuing strategies. The Design Center was very easy to use and features the ability to use wildcards and partial matching. Some of the icon functions included the ability to collect digits, perform a database lookup, play a message and transfer and queue a call. One nice feature within the app-gen is that it shows the number of inputs missing if a user deletes one of the graphical icons. Overall, this was a very powerful tool that was practically a no-brainer to use, yet we were able to create some very complex routing algorithms.

Room For Improvement

We'd like to see a 'listen in' feature from the graphical user interface so managers can quickly listen in on an agent's call. You can, of course, use the switch's listen feature, but typing in a sequence of DTMF digits is tedious. We'd also like to see a one-click record feature within the GUI, although Siemens told us they do partner and work with third-party recording/monitoring packages from NICE, Verint and others.

We liked the 'threshold' notification capabilities within the reporting module. For example, the reports can play sounds and display other visual cues; however, playing sounds can be done only from the real-time report (has to be constantly running to receive visual or sound cues). So we'd like the main client application to monitor various thresholds and play sounds when applicable. One minor complaint is that the Contact Log doesn't display a record with caller I.D. info for abandoned calls. It would be useful to have a record in the Contact Log to return abandoned calls.


When you consider that Siemens will be providing an upgrade path from HiPath ProCenter Agile to the higher-end HiPath ProCenter Suite, you know that Siemens has done a fantastic job of architecting their product to be very modular. Too many other solutions require a complete forklift upgrade, which is much more expensive. We can best sum up this product with the following feature summary: quick installation, excellent user interface with very good customization, powerful application generator for defining your routing strategies, and excellent reporting. The presence management capabilities are certainly a nice touch to an already feature-rich product, and certainly TMC Labs would not hesitate to recommend HiPath ProCenter Agile.

[ Return To The June 2004 Table Of Contents ]

Upcoming Events
ITEXPO West 2012
October 2- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
The World's Premier Managed Services and Cloud Computing Event
Click for Dates and Locations
Mobility Tech Conference & Expo
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
Cloud Communications Summit
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas

Subscribe FREE to all of TMC's monthly magazines. Click here now.