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Opening the UC Flood Gates to Contact Centers
Will Siemens Enterprise's announcement of OpenScape Contact Center and Microsoft's strategic alliance with Aspect lead to widespread LCS/OCS integration in contact center solutions? That's the $64,000 question in my mind these days.
Will Siemens Enterprise's announcement of OpenScape Contact Center and Microsoft's strategic alliance with Aspect lead to widespread LCS/OCS integration in contact center solutions? That's the $64,000 question in my mind these days.I've long found it curious that though PBX vendors have bent over backwards to integrate their voice systems with Microsoft Live/Office Communications Server and IBM Sametime, the same amount of energy has not extended to developing similar integrations with contact center solutions. I mean, to varying degrees Avaya, Cisco, Nortel, and other PBXs all integrate with LCS, OCS, and Sametime (or in some cases are about to do so). But I haven't heard anything of substance about a similar level of integration with these same companies' contact center offerings.
This is not to say LCS integration with contact centers is completely unheard of. Mitel made quite a bit of noise about its pioneering work in this area a year or three ago. Siemens' newly announced solution facilitates contact center integration with its UC Server, which will now be able to extend OCS-, Sametime-, and Jabber-driven presence and instant messaging to agents. IBM's David Marshak told me that there have been a number of one-off integrations of Sametime with a number of IBM customers' contact center environments, but these are all very hush-hush at the moment. No names can be named, and nothing's actually been productized. Then there's PrairieFyre, ComputerTalk, and others that are doing some work along this line as well. But mum has been the proverbial word when it comes to integration across a wide range of contact center solutions.
Siemens' OpenScape Contact Center and the Aspect-Microsoft relationship could very well open a floodgate in OCS and Sametime support in contact center offerings. As Siemens and Aspect's many competitors scramble to determine what this means to them and how to respond - and as contact center operators come to expect means of leveraging the selfsame unified communications resources being made available to the enterprise - we could see renewed interest in OCS and Sametime integration with contact center solutions.