The UCStrategies Experts share their expertise in bylined articles, opinion pieces, blogs, and podcasts, to define unified communications, educate you about unified communications technologies, and help you make informed decisions about unified communications solutions.
UCStrategies.com defines unified communications as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” The definition of unified communications narrows significantly when you can read and hear about real-world examples that other companies are implementing right now—and apply them to your situation.
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This section provides a practical, vendor-independent service to any Enterprise that is seeking the benefits of Unified Communications. How do you pull everything together to implement unified communications? Use the tools in this sequence to define unified communications for your business.
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In early July prairieFyre announced completion of field verification trials for prairieFyre Contact Center for Microsoft Lync (PCCML) and AudioCodes SmartTAP 2.0 call recording for Microsoft Lync. This Contact Center (CC) solution is designed for enterprises looking for a five- to 200-agent CC solution designed to work with Lync Server 2010.
prairieFyre Contact Center for Microsoft Lync
PCCMLis a modular, integrated software suite that runs on the UC and VoIP architecture of the Lync Server 2010 platform and Lync 2010 desktop client. Leveraging this integration, PCCML was designed as a call routing engine within Lync. It’s not transferring the call outside the system. prairieFyre’s application only does the CC signaling, giving it an advantage over a dedicated contact center platform. PCCML is more easily deployed and managed, and not duplicative of the functions of the core Lync platform.
PCCML offers web-based modules delivering CC functionality to support the needs of agents and supervisors – whether they are on-site or remote. Features include:
Management and reporting functionality is delivered through familiar Microsoft applications like SQL Server for database storage and Internet Explorer and Excel for reporting. On the desktop, agents use the prairieFyre Ignite application, which combines an ACD softphone, enterprise presence, and tabs with real-time CC information, all in the familiar Microsoft Lync 2010 client. This familiarity reduces the learning curve and training costs.
CC screen pop connectors are also available for both Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce.com CRM solutions that manage interactions between the CRM server and employee desktops, providing click-to-dial, call logging, and screen pop capabilities.
With PCCML solution, contact centers are able to monitor service levels and agent performance and to rapidly respond to changing call volumes. Users can access and share detailed and accurate information on performance levels, and they can accurately forecast and plan resource allocation for future volumes. By taking advantage of enterprise presence, users can quickly access corporate resources and provide single call resolution. In addition, CCs can manage configuration changes, control security permissions to applications, and synchronize with Active Directory and Lync Server 2010.
AudioCodes SmartTAP Call Recording for Microsoft Lync
AudioCodes SmartTAP for Microsoft Lync is a certified and secure call recording solution that enables the recording of key business interactions within a Microsoft Lync environment. SmartTAP enables recording of calls for compliance, liability, quality assurance, security and sales verification. It’s a suitable solution for companies in the financial services sector, branch office locations, as well as other highly regulated industries. SmartTAP is compatible with VoIP, TDM, and hybrid telephony environments.
For branch office recording, SmartTAP allows users to install a subset of the recording engine at the remote location to capture calls while managing any number of SmartTAP systems from a central site. In the event of a network failure, SmartTAP will continue to record and buffer all local calls until the network is restored completing the survivability story. Features include:
System Administrators can define user roles and permissions for playback, download, and email to prevent unwanted access to recordings and optionally integrate with Microsoft LDAP to simplify user management.
What This Means to Customers
For those enterprises looking for a 5- to 200-agent CC solution designed to work with Lync Server 2010, the prairieFyre/AudioCodes product is a competitive candidate. But it’s not the only solution designed to integrate with Lync. Both Aspect and Interactive Intelligence should also be investigated before you buy. Both companies are located in the leaders quadrant of Gartner’s 2012 “Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure, Worldwide,” and they play extremely well at 100+ seats.
The best way forward is to issue an RFP to gather a clear understanding of the total cost of ownership of alternative solutions. And be sure to get a clear understanding of the current and/or future opportunities to integrate social business processes within the CC. Today's socially empowered consumer is far more influential than ever before, so businesses that are able to generate satisfied customers are essentially creating an army of independent advocates. In this regard, CC business processes need to be intelligently communication-enabled to provide customers with a consistent and efficient service across all of their customer contact channels whether by telephone, email, instant messaging or mobile device, whatever is convenient to them. And agents need to receive both external and internal context, such as web pages visited, self-service attempts and previous contact history. Context improves knowledge of the customer, reduces the time it takes to assist the customer, and supports creation of customer loyalty.
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Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?