CUSTOMER Introduces TMC Labs Innovation Awards - Part 2

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CUSTOMER Introduces TMC Labs Innovation Awards - Part 2

By Tom Keating, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Editor  |  October 15, 2012

This year marks the thirteenth installment of the prestigious TMC (News - Alert) Labs Innovation Awards, for which TMC Labs analyzes dozens of applications to find the most unique and innovative products. Optimization of business processes and improving customer service are at the core of every business, but that’s especially true of contact centers, which are constantly looking to increase agent productivity, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction. By utilizing innovative products within the CRM and contact center space, businesses can improve customer loyalty and improve agent morale. As with last year, we have quite a few hosted offerings; but this year we’ve seen a marked increase in social media integration offerings, which is in response to the need to track and gauge customers viewpoints of your business in the social media world, including Twitter (News - Alert), Facebook, and other social media hubs. As a result we are giving awards to a few text analytics products, which can even analyze customer sentiment; but we also awarded traditional CRM products like workforce management and CRM software solutions.

We are proud to bestow this award to 19 worthy products from 18 companies. OpenSpan was granted two awards for two different products, which is a rare feat indeed. The awards are broken into two parts to fit the in-depth write-ups. The first part (in our previous issue) started with ac2 Solutions and ended with NICE. The second half (this issue) starts with OAISYS and ends with Virtual PBX.

Company

Product

Website

ac2 Solutions Inc.

Advanced Workforce Optimization (AWO) Portal

www.ac2solutions.com

Aegis Ltd.

AegisLISA

www.aegisglobal.com

Allegiance Inc.

Allegiance SpotLight

www.allegiance.com

Concentric Cloud Solutions

Concentric High Volume OutDial HVOD

www.concentric.com

Confirmit (News - Alert)

Confirmit Horizons

www.confirmit.com

Coupa Software

Coupa Spend Optimization System

www.coupa.com

Drishti-Soft Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Ameyo Communications Suite

www.drishti-soft.com

KANA Software

KANA Social Listening & Engagement Solution

www.kana.com

NICE

NICE Mobile Reach

www.nice.com

OAISYS

OAISYS Talkument & Tracer Version 7.2

www.oaisys.com

OpenSpan Inc.

OpenSpan Desktop Analytics

www.openspan.com

OpenSpan Inc.

OpenSpan Desktop Automation

www.openspan.com

Pegasystems

Pega’s Unified Marketing solution

www.pega.com

Presence Technology

Presence for Healthcare

www.presenceco.com

salesforce.com

Desk.com

www.salesforce.com

ShoreTel

ShoreTel 13

www.shoretel.com

Siemens Enterprise Communications (News - Alert)

OpenScape Cloud Contact Center

www.siemens-enterprise.com/us/

Verint Systems Inc.

Impact 360 for Back-Office Operations

www.verint.com

Virtual PBX

Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere

www.virtualpbx.com

OAISYS

Talkument and Tracer Version 7.2

www.oaisys.com

OAISYS is a leading provider of call recording, compliance, and call recording archival solutions with some unique and innovative features. In version 7.2, OAISYS announced the availability of an Archiving Appliance designed to easily and efficiently archive up to one million call records for reliable, secure and instant access.

Many compliance regulations require organizations to store data for years before deleting, in the event a complaint or dispute may arise. With version 7.2, OAISYS’ storage functionalities enable automatic, targeted relocation from a primary database to an archival database that still enables instant search to access the same interface used to manage online recordings. The system administrator can create custom archiving rules based on call data. When combined with Variable Lifecycle Management functionality, any call in the archival database, along with its associated data and supplemental information such as annotations and screen recordings, can be instantly retrieved. If additional supplemental information is added after retrieval, the file is automatically updated.

Mobile Recall is a new innovative feature designed for smartphones and tablets, for on-the-go access to recordings. Built on an HTML5 framework, it requires no software download or installation on the mobile device. It provides search and playback functions, enabling the user to view desired interaction metadata, such as notes or transaction references.

Lastly, OAISYS AllWays and its associated Gateway (News - Alert) to the Cloud offering is an innovative cloud solution that makes advanced call recording functionality more affordable and accessible to SMB and midmarket customers. OAISYS AllWays offers flexible deployment options, including on-premises, pure cloud and hybrid cloud. Calls are initially stored locally, then uploaded on a scheduled, recurring basis to the OAISYS cloud-based managed services location. Users can access call records just as if they were stored locally, without concern for administration, security, redundancy or other management issues. The service is provided on a month-by-month, pay-as-you-go basis.

OpenSpan Inc.

OpenSpan Desktop Analytics

www.openspan.com

OpenSpan Desktop Analytics runs on individual user PCs, and captures data about application activities, based on your business needs and specifications. It can record anything that an application or a user does, including events such as button clicks, tabbing between fields, application or window opens/closes and minimizes, text changes, keyboard clicks, scrolling, text selects/copies/pastes/deletes, error indicators (backspaces, deletes, back button, etc.), idle time, and more. OpenSpan Desktop Analytics runs locally on the user's PC workstation and can send the emitted “event” data into databases stored on premises or remotely. The data can also trigger alerts, feed into workforce or quality management systems or also drive other optimized processes within the business (BPM).

OpenSpan Desktop Analytics allows you to capture and analyze detailed custom process-level activity. With it, you can easily track each and every step performed by an agent during a call, or by a knowledge worker while completing a transaction. OpenSpan explained, “Today, most organizations only know that a task or call was handled, but don't know the exact steps the user took to complete it. This level of information enables you to better understand the current state of all the steps in a process – such as opening a new account, updating a customer's address, adding a new service for an existing customer, processing a health care claim, or completing a wire transfer – and thus more easily identify opportunities for error, procedural missteps, compliance violations, wasted time, and fraudulent activity.” They added, “With the many analytics offerings in the customer service arena today it is easy to fall into the "analysis paralysis" trap; however, the Openspan Desktop Analytics solution delivers a level of insight that is meaningful and actionable. It is a very focused view into what your agents and workers really do as they sit at their desks eight hours a day!”

OpenSpan claims to be the first to develop this technology, having done so more than seven years ago. This activity monitoring technology, which is used to trigger actions in OpenSpan Desktop Automation solutions, is running on over 300,000 desktops globally. OpenSpan Desktop Analytics helps fill in the gaps in business intelligence by providing a very granular level of detailed information about individual worker activities.

OpenSpan Inc.

OpenSpan Desktop Automation

www.openspan.com

OpenSpan Desktop Automation allows you to quickly automate tasks that users often perform on their computers. OpenSpan claims that can make things up to 300 percent faster. Many of the manual steps users are performing, such as searching for a piece of data, involve duplicate keying, copy and pasting, switching applications, scrolling to a new field, calculating, entering notes, remembering complex business rules to make decisions about the next action, etc. But those tasks could just as well be performed by the computer. The computer takes care of the mundane, repetitive tasks, freeing up time for call center agents to take more calls and spend more time making up-sell or cross-sell offers.

OpenSpan Desktop Automation has a visual drag and drop integrated development environment that allows you to build automations very quickly. OpenSpan can automate things like retrieving information from other systems so fields are pre-populated for the user or it can automatically push new customer information into several disparate applications, whereas previously the user would have copied and pasted the information into each application separately. The product also allows you to build and deploy dashboards and new user interfaces to consolidate information from numerous systems into one view, whereas previously users would have been trained on each individual application and would have been forced to navigate from app to app to get to needed information and complete required steps.

One innovative application of the solution involves PCI compliance. Due to regulatory requirements, companies are not allowed to store credit card information once a transaction has been completed. But in most call center environments today, screen recording and voice recording technologies are common. How do you avoid capturing the credit card information as the agent types it into the field if you have screen recording on? How do you avoid capturing it in the voice recording as the customer relays the number? Since OpenSpan can "see" what is taking place inside an application, it can detect when the agent moves to a credit card number field, and can tell the screen or voice recording application to pause until the user moves off of that field. Indeed, this is a very innovative automated approach to solving a compliance need.

Pegasystems

Pega’s Unified Marketing solution

www.pega.com

Pega’s Unified Marketing solution is an analytics-based campaign management platform designed for acquisition, retention, up-sell, and cross-sell initiatives enabling marketers to design and execute customer-centric strategies that improve offer acceptance and decrease customer churn. The new Unified Marketing solution combines Pegasystems’ real-time inbound marketing capabilities with comprehensive outbound marketing capabilities on the same platform, enabling marketers to execute more complete customer-centric strategies across both inbound and outbound. This business process management platform seamlessly connects sales and CRM with fulfillment processes, improving efficiency and reducing operating costs.

One innovative feature is the Predictive Analytics Director, which allows marketers to design and execute custom predictive analytics strategies to accurately predict customer behaviors, such as offer acceptance, churn or credit risk.

Unified Marketing guides service and sales representatives through every step of making and closing an offer and seamlessly integrates into existing marketing infrastructures, including third-party solutions. Pega told TMC Labs that with its solution, “Organizations can design, change, measure, and control multi-channel customer strategies with a single marketing portal that doesn't require IT involvement. As CMOs are under extreme pressure to bolster marketing’s contribution and deliver a better return on investment, they can now complement their existing marketing infrastructure with a solution proven to increase revenue. Simply automating outbound marketing is no longer sufficient in today’s customer-driven world. To succeed, marketers must deliver a high volume of intelligent and customer-centric messages across all channels, including inbound and outbound. This new release gives CMOs the killer application they’ve been looking for to help them take marketing contributions to revenue and growth to a whole new level.”

Presence Technology

Presence for Healthcare

www.presenceco.com

Presence for Healthcare offers a solution to support the needs of both patients and providers, with a multi-channel contact center platform, which enhances and improves patient and provider communication. Available both on premises or hosted, it features a web-based front end for contact center agents that uses pure AJAX, allowing for real-time event updates that typically you don’t get with traditionally static HTML web pages that must be manually refreshed. This capability allows a thin client solution, which does not require the installation of any kind of software on the agent desktop, thereby reducing total cost of ownership.

The platform is a complete multi-channel contact center suite with predictive dialer, intelligent scripting, multichannel support (inbound, outbound, e-mail, fax, SMS, chat, web collaboration, web call back, social media), recording, custom reporting, call recording, scripting, etc. It can work natively with Avaya CM via TSAPI or any PBX, or even as a standalone solution using SIP. Leveraging Presence’s multi-channel platform Presence for Healthcare offers specific features and modules to tackle challenges within the health care vertical, including back office integration, bill collection, prescription refills, automatic payments, appointment scheduling, reminders via phone, SMS, e-mail, physician referral, preventative care reminders, admission and discharge services, and more.

Salesforce.com

Desk.com

www.salesforce.com

Salesforce.com’s Desk.com, launched earlier this year, is an innovative cloud-based solution that connects agents with e-mail, phone calls, and social channels. Desk.com provides small- to medium-sized companies with cloud-based customer support management to help field queries through phone, e-mail, web, Twitter, and Facebook. Desk.com is an instant social customer service enabling customers to request support from anywhere and companies to respond to the request very quickly. Desk.com organizes all customer contacts into a single prioritized view, no matter how your customers reach out to you – whether by Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, phone, or on the web.

Desk.com leverages a Ruby on Rails application that relies on a combination of proprietary and off-the-shelf technologies. The Desk.com mobile application is built using HTML5 and allows Desk.com agents to reply to customers using a browser or a smartphone. Desk.com is unique in that this customer support application offers by-the-hour flex pricing. Companies can add unlimited part-time flex agents and be charged $1 per hour for actual usage, thereby making any business able to afford Desk.com. Salesforce.com summed up the new solution by stating, “Desk.com solved the very difficult problem of integrating disparate customer support communication channels into a single inbox – putting Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and live chat alongside traditional support channels like phone and web – and seamlessly integrating them into a consistent experience.”

Desk.com optimizes customer support for each particular channel while simultaneously treating each channel as part of a unified inbox. For example, when a customer e-mails a company, the support agent can call up a pre-written response that is optimized for e-mail. When a customer on Twitter tweets with the same question, the support agent can call up a pre-written response that is optimized for Twitter’s 140-character limit. Both the Twitter response and the e-mail response come from a centrally-managed one true answer knowledge base. Desk.com’s business rules, macros, and filters are all channel-aware, allowing a single system to administer support across these different channels for a consistent customer experience.

ShoreTel Inc.

ShoreTel 13

www.shoretel.com

ShoreTel is certainly one of the most innovative unified communication solution providers in the market, with a history of creating unique features. Founded back in 1996, ShoreTel is one of the early pioneers of IP PBXs and UC. While other solutions require 2N redundancy, ShoreTel accomplishes redundancy at N+1 by balancing the load on Linux-based solid state voice appliances. Its appliances use embedded flash memory with no spinning hard drive that is prone to additional heat and failure. ShoreTel 13 offers integrated voice, video, data as well as a powerful, open mobility solution. Because it is an all-in-one solution, it is as easy to deploy, manage and scale, which results in what ShoreTel claims is the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership and highest customer satisfaction ratings.

Bold claims aside, the platform is very feature rich, including ShoreTel Communicator, which gives users voice, video, IM and desktop sharing via a single user interface. ShoreTel Communicator also integrates with third-party information and applications via a rich set of application programming interfaces. These interfaces enable users to manage communications based on customer information, or automate routine look-ups at the desktop. In ShoreTel 13, it added the ability to connect to video room systems from the ShoreTel UC desktop client by simply typing the name of the conference room, and Outlook fans will like the fact that ShoreTel hase embedded the voicemail user interface into the Outlook ribbon. The platform has support for standards such as SIP, XMPP, Lync, and H.264 AVC. ShoreTel was among the first UC leaders to join the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum, a non-profit alliance of worldwide technology leaders working together to fully realize the potential of unified communications.

Siemens Enterprise Communications

OpenScape Cloud Contact Center

www.siemens-enterprise.com/us/

The OpenScape Cloud Contact Center solution brings the advantages of the cloud to organizations that require massive scalability and offers the ability for worldwide home-based agents. It is targeted at the underserved small to mid-market sector (20 to 500 agents) and also the large contact center market (500 or more agents). This contact center platform routes and reports on phone, e-mail, chat, fax, voicemail, and social media contacts that are destined for a contact center. The ability to route voice calls, e-mails, fax and chat through their routing engine is all included within the low per-agent per month price. Security includes SAS70 audited data centers, PCI compliance, and Safe Harbor certification.

OpenScape Cloud Contact Center works with TDM (T1/E1/PRI) and SIP trunking. Customers may also choose to use Siemens’ SIP softphone on the agent desktop. Contact center supervisors and managers use InTouch (real-time displays), Reports 2.0, and Studio, which are downloadable from the cloud. The primary features include an Inbound Contact Routing engine with skills-based routing, IVR with speech recognition, blended dialer, CTI capabilities with CRM integration, real-time and historical reporting, WFM, QM, eLearning, and customer feedback measurement tools. Siemens claims this is the first true multi-tenant contact center platform to deliver all of these contact center applications in the cloud and the first to offer a 99.99 percent uptime guarantee in their SLA. Lastly, it provides three major software releases each year, all of which are automatically delivered to all customers.

Verint Systems

Impact 360 for Back-Office Operations

www.verint.com

Verint Impact 360 for Back-Office Operations provides comprehensive tools for enhancing back-office quality, productivity, and process consistency, while reducing resource and processing costs. One of the primary features is forecasting and scheduling with powerful seasonal intraday forecasts. Using Impact 360 Forecasting and Scheduling data, Impact 360 Strategic Planning creates what if modeling to help managers evaluate the impact of such variables as turnover, new hiring timelines, and skill requirements on staffing and budgets. Another important feature is Desktop and Process Analytics, which helps promote best practices and measure application usage and process adherence.

Impact 360 captures and analyzes staff desktop application usage to help understand which staff members are working, the activities that they’re handling, and the time they spend on each task. Performance Management is another key component, which provides a view into employee performance with respect to company goals on role-appropriate performance scorecards. Verint works with its customers to define key performance indicators that are meaningful to their business and the processes, staffing requirements, and skills necessary to achieve these goals. Drawing on data captured in Impact 360 Back-Office solutions and customers’ other business systems, Impact 360 provides a graphical view of employee performance that is meaningful to both managers and employees.

Impact 360 Web-based eLearning is another integrated feature that lets Verint’s customers automatically assign and deliver targeted or just-in-time training to staff desktops, enabling employees to improve their knowledge and skills as their schedules permit, minimizing impact on service levels. With Impact 360 eLearning, customers can create content in house, use AICC-compliant off-the-shelf courseware, or develop best practice learning clips from recorded interactions or transactions.

Work Item Tracking is a powerful feature that enables you to drill down into workloads by age of individual items to assist back-office operations in proactively monitoring items to ensure deadlines are met. Another interesting feature is Linked Queue Forecasting, which expands on existing multi-queue forecasting by defining linkages based on workflow from one queue to the next. This is especially beneficial in back-office environments where it is common for a given work item to pass through many steps, often involving many people. The result of these capabilities is more efficient and effective workflow throughout the organization.

Virtual PBX

Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere

www.virtualpbx.com

Started in 1996 and incorporated in 1997, Virtual PBX is the inventor of the original hosted PBX service, leveraging analog telephony before VoIP cloud-based offerings existed. Virtual PBX was the first company in the hosted PBX space to offer ACD queuing for call center applications, call routing to a distributed workforce, find-me/follow-me call forwarding, auto-attendant greetings and menus in a distributed environment, and more.

The latest incarnation, Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, is a turnkey hosted IP PBX designed for small- and mid-size businesses that supports both analog and VoIP. The product’s latest enhancement take the next logical step from analog to VoIP to mobility/wireless by enabling customers to use their smartphones and computers as VoIP endpoints. High-quality calls can be placed over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi connections through standard softphones, such as Android and iPhone devices. The service grants full access to critical phone system features, such as business caller ID for outbound calls, call recording, call transfers, call monitoring on inbound calls, and real-time reports.

Features include SmartID, call preview, multi-stage dialing, and automatic routing based on incoming caller ID.

ACD features are pretty powerful and include skills-based routing, hierarchical routing, overflow routing, call hold and callers waiting limits, in real ACD queues, not just hunt groups. Real-time monitoring of phone system activity by extension or department, including callers on hold, calls in progress, hold times, caller IDs, and more. Supervised call transfers is something you don’t see in hosted offerings, but this product supports it even to transfers outside the system. Another innovative feature is voicemail interrupt, which lets users send callers to voicemail and listen in on the message being left. If the user decides to accept the call, the voicemail can be interrupted and the call connected.

VoIP Anywhere provides a U.S. dial tone while avoiding high international dialing rates. Dialing a U.S. number from an international location can even be free with Virtual PBX's flat-rate packages. The new VoIP Anywhere system negotiates HD voice on any HD device. Lastly, calls made from a Virtual PBX extension can send the company's phone number for caller ID. With VoIP Anywhere, mobile users no longer need to worry about giving out their personal cellular numbers while making business calls.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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