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inContact Innovates in Workforce Optimization and SMS

This seems to be the week of cloud contact center, certainly here on No Jitter. Eric Krapf, Craig Walker and I have all already posted updates this week. And there is more worthy news: inContact today announced the 14.1 release, delivering enhancements across its core contact center infrastructure, contact center applications and workforce optimization.

Much of what cloud contact center vendors have been working on over the past few years could be termed "catch-up." Cloud solutions were perceived to be (and oft times were) designed for the small/medium sized business and commonly lacked sophisticated functionality. But with more and more contact centers examining cloud as the alternative for expansion or replacement for existing CPE contact center installations, the bar has been raised on the features that must be available from cloud vendors to compete effectively in the enterprise market.

Enterprise customers aren't saying, "I want a cloud contact center solution that is as good as CPE." Instead, CIOs are looking for THE best solutions--often regardless of CPE or cloud. This means that cloud contact center providers that want to set themselves apart from the increasing number of competitors are seeking to push the envelope--providing not just table stakes but innovation.

Innovation is clearly inContact's core message with the announcement today. Of the many capabilities being added and improved, two specifically struck me as going that extra step.

* Context-aware SMS Conversations: Enables an agent to send an SMS while in an active voice contact with a customer, have a two-way SMS dialogue with a customer, as well as provide a threaded history for the agent to view previous texts. SMS interactions are fully integrated with a universal queue for routing, agent handling and reporting.

* Workforce-Intelligent Contact Center: Agent skilling and priority adjustment based on agent performance (quality management score, eLearning rating, survey)--as well as other enhancements--are part of the 14.1 release. inContact is a reseller of Verint workforce optimization (WFO) solutions, but more than that, Verint WFO is hosted in inContact data centers. What is impressive about the new capability is the level of integration between the inContact routing application and Verint WFO that has been achieved. It reinforces my belief that cloud-to-cloud application integration is inherently easier to achieve than similar CPE application integration.

Can the SMS and WFO solutions described here be provided by CPE contact center solutions today? No doubt with enough professional services expertise and a combination of multiple products, they could be. Could those same vendors make the solutions available via simple month-to-month licensing and minimal integration within a short frame? That's where the flexibility and agility of cloud solutions may win out.

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