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January 24, 2008

University of Kentucky Using CosmoCom's Hosted Contact Center Platform to Improve Operations

By Patrick Barnard, TMCnet Assignment Editor

UK HealthCare, part of the University of Kentucky Medical Center and one of the largest medical centers in the mid-South, has reportedly deployed the CosmoCall Universe contact center platform from CosmoCom as its new contact center system. This is the first stage of a larger project to deploy the solution across the entire university.




The contact center platform is delivered over the Internet via the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, which allows for the “virtualization” of all contact center operations and communications throughout the university’s many facilities. Other university departments that will ultimately benefit from the solution include admissions and records, human resources and athletics.

The multi-tenant platform will enable the university to improve customer service across dozens of different organizational units by providing a standard patient/clinic interface, improved measurement to ensure calls are handled in a timely fashion, and rules-based routing to make sure patient calls get through to the right professional quickly.

“The UK HealthCare enterprise has had multiple different telephone systems and wants to significantly improve patient service,” said Courtney Higdon, chief of staff to the executive vice president for health affairs, in a press release. “We realized early on that we needed the intelligent routing capabilities of a call center to manage our calls. We looked at what other hospitals and medical centers were doing; we talked with the Gartner (News - Alert) Group and with other call centers.”

“We selected CosmoCom because it’s an enterprise-scale platform that can handle many different departments,” Higdon added. “Their clients are satisfied with the product’s performance and CosmoCom’s support. Over the next year, we’ll replace all the phones in all of our clinics with one system.”

With this system in place, someone calling a particular department within university will gain the sense that they are contacting a whole, cohesive organization, rather than just a silo’d department which is cordoned off from the rest of the other departments. In other words, a caller will have the same experience regardless of which department, or which facility, they call. With IVR, or “automated agent” capabilities integrated into the system, a call can readily be “steered” to the appropriate physician or other staff member best suited to handle the caller’s needs, based on the initial information provided by the caller, through their interaction with the IVR (and also, if implemented, via specific caller “metadata” stored in a university database).

According to the press release, the system is already being used in two of the university’s call centers – the first handling UK HealthCare’s Physician to Physician Referral Service, After Hours Pediatric Triage service for Kentucky Children’s Hospital, and the UK Health Connection Line, a service that facilitates consumers’ requests for UK HealthCare – and the second being the Medical Center’s own IT help desk. The solution’s call steering capabilities will be particularly useful in the help desk center, as it will help callers get connected to the appropriate IT support resource.

In the UK HealthCare medical call center, the platform will deftly route callers with issues ranging from routine inquiries to emergencies requiring helicopter airlifts to the right staff.

“Organizing our operations around one intelligent communications platform is the best way to get every call to a professional who can address a patient’s issues with the care they need, when they need it,” said Wanda Adkins, RN, manager of medical call center services, in the release. “We see the intelligence and flexibility of the CosmoCall Universe system as an important element of our quality of care and of our patient experience.”

The CosmoCall Universe platform is also ideal for facilitating the “remote agent” model, which will also be of great use to the university staff. Thanks to its virtualization capabilities, through which all end points on the network become equal, staff members will be able to handle calls from remote locations -- all they will need is a computer and high speed broadband connection.

“This is a benefit for the agents, and it also creates a very resilient operation,” Adkins added. “We are setting up all agents with WiFi equipped laptops, and now they can work anywhere that WiFi is available, which includes the entire campus. With a distributed agent population, a problem in one building would have little or no effect on the continuity of the call center operation.”

With its multi-tenancy capabilities, the platform will allow each call center to have its own distinct set of software functionality, tailored to meet each center’s specific needs -- yet the software suite remains tightly bundled on a single platform, sharing single source code, allowing for full flexibility and configurability, which will be key as the university’s communications needs change over time.

“By hosting multiple contact centers on its CosmoCall Universe platform, the University of Kentucky exemplifies the Call Center Consolidation 2.0 strategy that we emphasize,” said Ari Sonesh, chairman and CEO of CosmoCom. “Our customers achieve significant savings by operating and maintaining one platform whose costs are shared by the call centers that use it. Because of the efficiency and flexibility it offers, Consolidation 2.0 is becoming a major trend, especially in large enterprises and other entities that have many call center applications.”

The UK Medical Center includes the colleges of Dentistry, Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health. UK HealthCare encompasses UK Chandler Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital, Kentucky Clinic, Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, Gill Heart Institute, Markey Cancer Center and Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

CosmoCom’s CosmoCall Universe contact center platform recently won 2007 Product of the Year awards from Customer [email protected] Solutions magazine and Internet Telephony (News - Alert) magazine. The Product of the Year Award winners for 2007 will be featured in the February 2008 issue of Internet Telephony (www.itmag.com) and the January 2008 issue of Customer [email protected] Solutions (www.cismag.com), published by Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC (News - Alert)).

CosmoCom’s all-IP contact center platforms are ideal for organizations seeking to consolidate multiple and geographically dispersed contact centers. With its hosted platforms, an organization can effectively administrate all contact center operations, as well as remote agents, through a single Web-based interface. Because the software is delivered via the SaaS model, the system can be quickly deployed, and requires very little up front capital investment, compared to on premises systems, as there are no hefty licensing fees for the software, and there is little to no additional hardware required. Plus the system is managed by the service provider delivering the software -- therefore an organization doesn’t have to bog down its IT staff with maintenance and troubleshooting of the system. Another huge benefit is the pricing model: The software is, in essence, “leased” on a “pay-as-you-go” or subscription basis. In this sense it works like a utility – you only pay for what you use, both by time and by the number of seats. That means the cost of the service can be represented as a recurring line item in an organization’s monthly operating budget.

Numerous Fortune-class enterprises throughout the world use CosmoCom’s solutions, as do numerous service providers including BT, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Telefonica, NTT, VSNL, PLDT, Verizon (News - Alert), and many others. In fact, CosmoCom claims to be the most-selected provider of hosted contact center platforms to top-tier telcos worldwide.

For more information, visit www.cosmocom.com.

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Patrick Barnard is Assignment Editor for TMCnet and Associate Editor for Customer Interaction Solutions magazine. To see more of his articles, please visit Patrick Barnard’s columnist page.

INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO East 2008 (ITEXPO (News - Alert)) is going on now in sunny Miami, Florida! For the latest show news, please visit Rich Tehrani’s blog.

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.


Today’s featured White Paper is titled VoIP Doesn’t Require Any Phone Equipment Investment, brought to you by Accessline.

(source: http://callcenterinfo.tmcnet.com/analysis/articles/19190-university-kentucky-using-cosmocoms-hosted-contact-center-platform.htm)




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