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New solutions for CRM, multimedia contacts and voice. (Technology Highlights).

With a background that began in developing accounting software, ACCPAC International, Inc., a division of Computer Associates, has an expertise of providing useful functionality to back-office programs (according to Tom Crafton, vice president of eCRM, ACCPAC has half a million registered clients worldwide and 5,000 solutions partners [VARs and resellers]). With its expertise in back-office applications, and understanding of how they work and their importance in business processes, it should come as no surprise that the latest version of ACCPAC's CRM offering, eCRM 5.0, strives for the CRM ideal of interoperability in all enterprise programs. In addition, eCRM 5.0 is designed to open up Internet and wireless CRM to the mid-market company through integration to the ACCPAC Advantage Series for order entry, inventory control, accounts receivable and accounts payable. The object-based, open architecture of eCRM 5.0 allows access to any ODBC compliant database and third-party software businesses may be using. Craf ton said eCRM 5.0 is 100 percent bi-directional, making it simple to install and maintain the solutions for call center, marketing automation, sales automation and customer care.

The reporting module has been enhanced to support reports written from an ASP page or from external applications, which can then be displayed on a Palm OS or Windows CE-based PDA. Graphical pipeline analysis has been added, enabling users to see a graphical representation of their sales pipelines and to drill down for details on individual stages of the pipeline. Workflow designers also now have a graphical workflow tool that allows administrators to set up the flow of business processes, such as escalation and classification, with simple drag-and-drop icons.

End users of ACCPAC eCRM can create a personalized "My Home Page" to centrally display information most relevant to them in managing their daily business, such as rules, pipelines, appointments, streaming news and more.

Few things are more frustrating than having to provide information again and again to the same company. Often, you may phone in just to be told that the department you are dealing with is the wrong one and you will need to be transferred, meaning you then have to repeat everything once again. When you finally reach the correct person, you might be told by the agent that he or she only deals with phone inquiries and has no access to the e-mail you sent. Providing consistent communications media across an enterprise has been a hallmark of Avaya since its inception, and its Multimedia Contact Center continues that tradition. The Multimedia Contact Center is designed to integrate self-service and assisted channels such as e-mail, Web chat, Web collaboration and telephony applications with inbound and outbound customer contact systems and enterprise data. This channel and data integration will allow contact centers to improve their operations with real-time and historic analysis of customer communications, agent s cripting capabilities and knowledge base management, to both give the agent the customer information when it is needed as well as improve service, marketing and customer segmentation. Lawrence Byrd, Avaya CRM Evangelist, said the Multimedia Contact Center is designed to make it easier for supervisors to understand what is going on in a distributed environment as well as provide lower costs to integrate disparate systems. Byrd also said that by providing a 360-degree view of activities and resources, the new Operational Analyst application of the Multimedia Contact Center is designed to help users segment their customers and understand their needs.

Based on open industry standards, the Interaction Center component of the Multimedia Contact Center integrates into a multivendor environment, supporting multiple communications switches, IVR systems and database platform servers, The application interfaces with popular Web browsers, agent clients and e-mail servers to support a variety of corporate and home-based communications systems. Components of the Interaction Center include: Avaya Outbound Contact Management, which provides automated, software-based predictive telephone dialing capabilities; Avaya Telephony, which provides voice service that intelligently routes telephone calls to the best resource; Avaya Web, which adds click-to-talk as a new Web-based sales and service option using IP telephony to provide voice communications access over a single-line connection and supports Web chat, online collaboration, call back functions, and access to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and knowledge base self-service; Avaya Email, which provides e-mail managemen t capabilities including natural language content analysis; and Avaya Agent, which is a desktop integration application that enables sales and service representatives to view customer data, multiple communications applications and a variety of systems from one screen.

For large enterprises and carriers, providing access to directory information can eat up lots of rime and resources. Offering a solution to this problem, Phonetic Systems recently released Version 5.0 of its Voice Search Engine Platform, which is used to facilitate applications such as speech-driven auto-attendants, self-service password reset, speaker verification and directory information centers. According to J.D. Howard, CEO of Phonetic Systems, Version 5.0 of the Voice Search Engine Platform is designed to Facilitate business continuity, increase customer satisfaction and reduce operating costs by leveraging speech to look at large amounts of data in directories. Howard said major issues telcos have with voice access to direc-tories are the ability to integrate into theit ecosystem and can it be done without"weirding out" the caller. He said Version 5.0 addresses these and other issues with a distributed architecture data model with open APIs and is able to handle "in network' carrier directory assistanc e. It can also be used for enterprise call routing, virtual credit card, conferencing, emergency broadcast messaging, paging and security systems, as well as call center applications such as secure voice access, password reset, business continuity coordination and information retrieval.

Phonetic Systems' Voice Search Engine technology is built to search large and dynamic data sources containing thousands to millions of records by breaking words down into basic units of speech called phonemes and separating the speech recognition from the directory search, allowing for increased flexibility and scalability of automated enterprise and carrier directories.

The PhoneticOperator platform sits on the network like a telephone set, but functions like a live operator, completing calls and providing information without requiring any additional IT resources. Version 5.0 of the core Phonetic Systems technology platform has been enhanced to address scalability in that it is now able to search more than 5,500,000 directory listings and over 1,000,000 grammar sizes in a single server before needing to be subdivided. By keeping directories in a single server, customers gain dramatically increased accuracy and overall system success while they lower total cost of ownership by reducing the integration and administration.

Directory Assistant and PhoneticOperator have been moved from a single platform implementation to a modular, distributed approach to automate the transfer of voice and data between the database, switch and workstation. Version 5.0 also delivers improved automated analysis and logging tools for ensuring superior levels of accuracy, supports VXML 2.0 and is SNMP-compliant.

Version 5.0 has improved proactive data tuning and filtering to boost search performance. PhoneticOperator and DirectoryAssistant have increased accuracy in identifying intended contacts and completing calls regardless of connection and environmental factors from analog, digital, wireless and/or VoIP interfaces.

For information and subscriptions visit or call 203-852-6800.

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Title Annotation:ACCPAC International eCRM 5.0, Avaya Multimedia Contact Center, Phonetic Systems Voice Search Engine Platform 5.0
Publication:Customer Interaction Solutions
Date:Aug 1, 2002
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