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Avaya's Virtual Launch Event: Contact Centers
From Avaya's announcement event, here are some of the contact center-centric Q&A on the new products, and also showing the kinds of things that heritage Nortel customers are concerned about.
Anyone in the communications space with a Twitter account or on a communications email blast list knows that in conjunction with a series of announcements today, Avaya held a virtual launch event. "Avaya's announcing new solutions on July 20 that will transform the way people work together. Register today"
Like most virtual events, there are some things to praise and some things to pan. Today, unlike Antony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, I come to praise Avaya, not to bury them. While most of the event was pre-recorded, there were four different global-sensitive times offered for the overview webinar. Avaya tells me that 13,500+ people registered for the event. Even accounting for the 50% who were likely competitive marketing and sales people (OK, it was probably only around 10%), that's a lot of interest.
The aspect of the event I like the best was the live Q&A stream. On the 1 PM Eastern feed I participated in, there were over 80 questions asked. Being the skeptic I can be, I asked Avaya if any of the questions were planted (some seemed a little like lay-ups, for example, "Can you supply a more detailed explanation on the working of SIP? White paper?" Avaya tells me that though they were prepared to do something like that, they weren't needed. "We had loads of questions that came in." I also asked who was doing the real-time answering. Avaya said they had around two dozen people throughout the company on stand-by to give answers. These were experts in all areas of the business, from people with expertise in marketing/sales to those who were deeply technical. Because they did not know what type of questions to expect, they arranged for a broad set of expertise to be on hand to reply.
Below I've reproduced some of the contact center-centric Q&A that came across during the live event. I've chosen ones that highlight not only questions about the new products announced, but also ones that show the kinds of things that heritage Nortel customers are concerned about.
My call center involves managing an incident to completion which involves a considerable amount of follow up to insure the processes of the incident are occurring as scheduled. Can the Avaya system initiate scheduled follow up calls, texts or emails requesting updates from various owners of the process? Would the Avaya system be able interact with a home grown contact center software program?
Yes, Proactive Outreach Manager is a notification platform that easily integrates into your existing business processes and can generate reminder notices via, SMS, email, voice calls, or video messages. These can be used as reminders, or confirmation of completed tasks.
We support a wide variety of integration technologies and should not have problems interfacing with a home grown software program.
How does SIP impact traditional CTI?
SIP Headers efficiently convey Session Context to/between multiple Applications residing in-network and on Endpoints in real time based on open Standards.
Since all historical data on our patrons already is available to our operators using another ticketing/data system, is there a contact center application that will provide us only with the availability of multiple media points of contact?
Yes. Avaya Aura Contact Center can easily integrate with your existing data: both for work assignment (i.e. querying your data to define "best" skillset or individual agent), and also provide context to the agent... and this for all media types.
What specifically are the integration points made available through Avaya to social media systems available today?
We have built in the ability to facilitate the integration of social media within the contact center. Avaya Labs has created a solution that can scan content from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others, and performs relevant analysis to present only the most relevant information to agents. Professional services-based implementations are now available, and we will be discussing our social media tools in more depth later this year.
Currently use IC. Is NGCC built on this technology? Is there a roadmap for IC?
IC and NGCC leverage some common software components to facilitate migration between platforms. IC does have a roadmap, the next release 7.3 is scheduled for the first half of 2011.
How does Aura Contact Center customer information data base interact with a in-house customer data base?
Avaya Aura Contact Center has several feature-rich interfaces for interaction with customer data sources. These interfaces can be used for work assignment (i.e. "personal agents"), prioritization, and of course propagation of context. Generically, these interfaces are referred to as "Host Data Exchange".
How long will Avaya be committed to supporting the MPS500 IVR platform?
Avaya will continue to support and enhance the MPS platform several years into the future.
Do you integrate with a CRM like Salesforce.com in the cloud in any special manners?
Yes, we do integrate with Salesforce.com CRM systems. This allows for a single desktop to be placed on the agent machine
Will there be any discussion today about MS CRM integration?
Avaya ACE offers MS CRM integration as a custom application today where we are able to click to call directly from CRM, do a message drop/blast from the CRM system supported in a multi-vendor environment.
Will former Nortel customers eventually be forced to change-out existing core equipment (CS 1000 switches, etc)?
Customers will not be being forced to change core equipment--our roadmap, first introduced in January, provides an evolutionary path where your CS 1000 can be "plugged into" an Avaya Aura framework to simplify enterprise-wide connectivity and the deployment of shared SIP-based applications. Upgrades to CS 1000 R7 and further future CS 1000 releases will further expand this integration. Solutions like Avaya Aura Contact Center, being announced today, support both CS 1000 directly as well as SIP integration through Avaya Aura.
How is mobile multimedia self-service impacting contact center activities?
Avaya Voice Portal and Avaya Proactive Outreach Manager support multi-media self service capabilities including voice, video, SMS, email, as well as custom support for Social Media and popular mobile platforms.
For the NGCC, which of AVAYA or Nortel reporting engines will be used?
Avaya Aura CC utilizes the embedded reporting capability within the application.
Will you be discussing the Microsoft relationship in this meeting?
In this event we are not particularly talking about Microsoft, but our Contact Center and UC solutions have comprehensive integration with a broad range of Microsoft products and we are a Microsoft Gold partner. We understand that there are coopetitive dynamics in the market, but we are committed to open integration to meet customer needs for complete solutions.
You spoke about the contact center solution focused on the sub-1000 agent levels. How small an agent pool can this realistically support? And what do you recommend now below that number?
Avaya Aura Contact Center can cost-effectively scale from the very small (20 agents) to the very large (up to 5,000) depending on the communications platform being used.