Aspect Charts Course 'Via' CCaaS

Aspect Software held its annual industry analyst event a couple of weeks ago, not quite a year since it entered the financial restructuring I wrote about in a March 2016 No Jitter post, "Why Aspect Isn't Another Nortel." Justifying my optimism, Aspect emerged from its Chapter 11 filing in just 79 days and launched a contact center as a service (CCaaS) offering, Aspect Via, shortly thereafter.

With Aspect not having hosted an analyst event last year and my being unable to attend the company's May 2016 user group meeting, a two-year hiatus from deep-dive insight with the Aspect team meant a lot of new information. Aspect Via, a multitenant, Amazon Web Services (AWS)-deployed CCaaS, is the big news.

Announced in May 2016, Via became available in North America and Australia/New Zealand this past January and is scheduled for Q2 availability in Europe. At the time of availability, Aspect also announced one of its early customers, Trupanion, a provider of medical insurance for pets.

Although an existing customer of Aspect's Unified IP contact center platform, as well as its quality management and workforce management software, the Via win wasn't a slam dunk for Aspect. Rather, Trupanion looked at other multitenant cloud contact centers before deciding on Via.

"Aspect Via's sleek agent desktop provides our contact center employees with a far more intuitive and engaging agent experience, which allows for faster and more informed decisions when engaging with our pet owners," said Ian Moffat, Trupanion COO, in a prepared press statement.

As seen in the agent desktop screenshot below, a company can mix interaction management widgets on a single pane of glass so an agent can see both the current chat interaction and workforce optimization (WFO) elements like his/her schedule and unfinished coaching modules. Like a few other enterprise communications providers (e.g., Unify, inContact, and Calabrio), Aspect enlisted the help of Frog Design in creating the Via client applications.

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What differentiates Via is its creation from a series of re-designed, best-in-class components. For example, these include:

  • Outbound voice technology, heritage Davox and Melita
  • Omnichannel mobile and self-service, heritage Voxeo
  • WFO, heritage TCS/Aspect Communications

To put a competitive frame around Aspect's current portfolio, like now-Genesys PureCloud, Via leverages existing Aspect software assets while re-imagining them as an integrated, AWS-deployed, multitenanted contact center service. Like Genesys PureCloud Connect and Engage, the earlier Unified IP platform is for use on premises or in hosted environments for companies that prefer those options.

One might argue that other contact center vendors have built new solutions from re-factored assets, such as Avaya has done with Oceana. However, while Avaya has solid contact center and outbound solutions, it OEMs its WFO capability from Verint so it does not have the same ability for tight integration. In addition, Avaya hasn't tightly integrated its self-service Aura Experience Portal into Oceana, nor has it introduced and deployed the level of chatbot technology Aspect has from the former-Voxeo CX platform.

Aspect Via compares well against inContact and Five9 CCaaS offerings as well, as neither of these has the depth of WFO or self-service technology available in Via today. (Certainly one expects inContact, now part of Nice Systems, to make major strides on the WFO front over the next year or so as it integrates the Nice portfolio into its cloud offerings.)

Besides Trupanion, Aspect said it has three more signed customers for Via, and a growing pipeline. #LifeAfterRestructuring.

Learn more about contact center/customer experience trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2017, March 27 to 30, in Orlando, Fla. View the Contact Center track, and register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event or Tue-Thu Conference pass, or get a free Expo Plus pass.

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