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Aspect On Demand

Yesterday Aspect announced a cloud-based offering of its contact center and workforce optimization solutions. Aspect says that with this offer they are addressing the "demand and request" of customers for the flexibility to choose on-site, hybrid or fully off-premises hosting.

Aspect On Demand is being hosted at an existing Aspect channel partner's secure, managed data centers. Available immediately, the solution will be sold and billed directly by Aspect and sold initially in the United States by the company’s sales force and channel partners.

Aspect reports that it has hired an overlay sales executive with hosted contact center experience to help manage Aspect On Demand sales activities. When I commented that the term sales overlay often refers to a team, not a person, Aspect's product management prime (i.e., lead) for the new offer, Wayne Lockhart replied, "The size of the overlay will be directly proportional to the size of the customer base. Just-in-time investment."

Aspect's flagship product, Unified IP, has for several years had multi-tenant capabilities; Aspect On Demand, however, will be a multi-instance offer of elements of the Unified IP and workforce optimization suites. According to Lockhart, "For the large scale customer, seeking an aggressive SLA (service level agreement), that is the model that seems to work." Lockhart went on to say that the company is investigating a multi-tenant offer for the SMB market sometime in the future, saying, "Aspect sees the value in multi-tenancy, and will continue to improve the solution in that area."

Lockhart says plans for Phase II are already underway, and improvements being targeted for third quarter 2012 include:

* Expansion of the offer to include Canada.
* Inclusion of email routing, as well as proactive email and SMS. Today's offer includes inbound, outbound or blended voice, web chat, advanced list management, workforce management, voice recording and IVR-based self-service.

Today's announcement has no direct relationship to Aspect's partnership with Microsoft and its Lync solution. Lockhart explains that customers choosing Aspect On Demand can have any type of on-premises voice infrastructure, including but not restricted to Lync. The current offer, however, does not include Aspect Contact, the SMB offer that uses Microsoft Lync media services. Lockhart says that may be an option in the future, but there are no immediate plans.