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Doug Carolus
Doug Carolus is Senior Associate at Pace Harmon. With over 20 years in the communications technology industry, Doug's focus is...
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Doug Carolus | February 14, 2011 |

 
   

RAMP: CEBP with a Twist

RAMP: CEBP with a Twist RAMP looks for the best match with agents who may be available or are currently handling a customer call; it can even match customers with self-service tools.

RAMP looks for the best match with agents who may be available or are currently handling a customer call; it can even match customers with self-service tools.

Stephanie Overby wrote an excellent piece in CIO magazine last November 2010 entitled "Call Center Matchmaking," which first introduced me to the software application called Real-time Analytics Matching Platform (RAMP). I read her article while riding a stationary bike at the local YMCA (my version of multi-tasking) and was impressed by both the content and writing.

Thought I'd share an overview now and then dig deeper into the software licensing, pricing, and support model in a subsequent column. I've provided several links at the end of this column for more info on RAMP including the one to download the CIO magazine and Stephanie's article.

What is RAMP?
Real-time Analytics Matching Platform (RAMP) is a software application originally designed for inbound call centers (and now outbound), used to match incoming callers to the most optimal agent based on key factors (similar to skills-based routing). There is one major difference between RAMP and skills-based routing: RAMP looks for the best match with agents who may be available or are currently handling a customer call; it can even match customers with self-service tools.

Developed by Assurant Solutions to improved customer retention rates, RAMP uses sophisticated (and proprietary) model-based analytics to identify the success factors that drive customer retention. The application then uses those critical success factors to find the right customer-"agent" match.

Again, the best "agent" may in fact be an IVR. If the routing-retention model determines that the customer prefers to use self-service tools instead of a live agent they may be routed to the IVR system. Talk about CEBP and minimizing human latency!

Designed for Genesys, Cisco, and Nortel IVR/CTI environments, integration into other manufacturer infrastructures are possible, just more complex, requiring a "translator". Not sure what that means, as their FAQ (http://www.assurantsolutions.com/ramp/FAQs.html) and other documentation are pretty thin and not always clear. This question is on my "to do" list when I talk with Assurant and/or IBM.

IBM's Current Role Why IBM? IBM apparently liked what it saw in RAMP, and in 1Q2010, IBM entered in to a revenue-sharing agreement with Assurant Solutions to market the application. IBM's Global Business Services Group has also designed a “matching-engine” to leverage the core RAMP application to enhance "individual-level" call routing decisions.

Today, RAMP is offered as part of the IBM Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) solutions portfolio, with IBM's Cognos reporting package being the default RAMP reporting solution. Naturally, RAMP is intended to be run on IBM software(DB2 and WebSphere) and server platforms.

As promised, I'll dive deeper into RAMP after I've had a chance to speak with Assurant and IBM but for now I hope I've sparked a little interest in what would seem to be a pretty interesting contact center--or should I say UC/CEBP--application.

Resources
To learn more about RAMP, here are a few document links including the CIO Magazine for your reference.

http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/index.wss/offerfamily/gbs/a1031968
http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/29701.wss
http://www.itjungle.com/fhs/fhs032310-story08.html
http://www.billingworld.com/news/2010/03/ibm-ramp-s-up-customer-service-matchmaking.aspx
http://www.assurantsolutions.com/ramp/index.html
http://www.magazinedown.com/CIO---01-November-2010_29017.html



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