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Sheila McGee-Smith
Sheila McGee-Smith, who founded McGee-Smith Analytics in 2001, is a leading communications industry analyst and strategic consultant focused on the...
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Sheila McGee-Smith | January 28, 2016 |

 
   

Unify Brings Circuit-like UX to Contact Center

Unify Brings Circuit-like UX to Contact Center With OpenScape Contact Center V9, Unify aims to bring “joy of use” to the agent experience.

With OpenScape Contact Center V9, Unify aims to bring “joy of use” to the agent experience.

In May 2015 I wrote that new releases from Five9 and inContact included agent user experience (UX) re-designs. In March, Genesys unveiled its new Omnichannel Desktop and Interactive Intelligence's PureCloud Engage sports a new user interface (UI) as well.

UI and UX is increasingly important in an age of mobile applications. Expectations about ease of use have multiplied in recent years as a result of repeated exposure to constantly updated mobile applications like Facebook, Amazon, Google, and the like. In the '90s it was acceptable to require a day of agent training in a contact center for the application -- no more. The expectation of both contact center management and customer service representatives is that the agent interface should be as simple and intuitive as a mobile application.

It is no surprise, then, that Unify's recently announced release, OpenScape Contact Center Version 9 includes a new Agent Portal with "Circuit-like" UX. Just like its unified communications predecessor, Circuit, the new agent desktop application is designed for "joy of use," says Stephen Feldman, Unify's director for contact center product management.

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It will not escape the astute reader's notice that I am using the phrase "Circuit-like." While promised since the early days of Project Ansible, a truly integrated Circuit agent experience is not yet being delivered. As Feldman explained, there are several architectural enhancements that must be made to the underlying contact center architecture for unified communications and contact center to be completely integrated. Feldman shared the roadmap for these enhancements, some of which will arrive later in 2016 and the balance in 2017.

Ownership by The Gores Group and Siemens for the past several years has meant targeted R&D investment -- primarily in bringing Circuit to market. The investment paid off because Unify's new owner Atos has been clear that Circuit is one of the key elements of the Unify portfolio that they value. But other components of the portfolio, like contact center, are in need of attention.

While there have been minor contact center releases, it has been almost six years since the last major release, OpenScape Contact Center V8. As a result, some of the features being added with Version 9 can be classified as catch-up. For example, Unify's new mobile supervisor, which allows both the viewing of information as well as the ability to change agent queues from an Apple or Android device, is a capability already available from most vendors.

What can we expect from Unify's contact center business under Atos? The news here is good. Unify has more than 6,000 contact center systems deployed, with more than 350,000 licensed agents. Of the three customers in a panel at last week's analyst meeting, two were competitive contact center wins: Hyatt Hotels and garage door manufacturing firm Chamberlain Group. In the vertical solutions breakout session hosted by VP Paul Lang, contact center solutions figured prominently. Unify's local government E-911 as well as healthcare and education vertical solutions and recent wins that were discussed includes contact center deployments. Clearly contact center portfolio has been a significant contributor to Unify's financial turnaround discussed in Zeus Kerravala's recent post.

Atos, too, has a contact center solution: cloud-based WL Contact, acquired with its 2014 purchase of Worldline. According to Unify CMO Bill Hurley, Atos is looking to Unify to take the lead on defining a going-forward contact center solution strategy for the business. Atos may be many times the size of Unify, but when it comes to contact center, Unify is the giant.

Learn more about contact center trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2016, March 7 to 10, in Orlando, Fla. View the Contact Center track sessions; register now using the code NJPOST to receive $200 off the current conference price.

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