IP strategies for customer service: pure applications software is driving the IP transformation

  • Genesys outlines key technologies impacting the transition to IP in contact centres

WOKINGHAM, June 14, 2007 - A major re-architecting of customer service technology is accelerating the deployment of IP telephony in contact centres, using enterprise software - instead of traditional PBXs and ACDs - to route and control customer interactions.

Commenting on the trend, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., an Alcatel-Lucent company (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU), and the leading provider of customer service software, outlined critical choices and recommendations for companies implementing IP contact centres at its annual G-Force user conference.

In response to the need to separate the telephony layer from the contact centre applications, Genesys unveiled its IP strategies for customer services at G-Force. Genesys highlighted the need to "decouple" customer service software from traditional communication devices, such as ACDs, telephony switches and IP infrastructure. According to Genesys, the move to IP and the emergence of standards, such as SIP, enables greater flexibility to consolidate and extend customer service by applying software-based business rules to all types of customer interactions. These range from calls or instant messages to live web interactions, across all types of devices, and all types of resources such as agents in multiple contact centres, back office personnel, field representatives, virtual agents and other employees who need to interact with a company’s customers.

A recent Genesys survey of 500 contact centres found that 82 per cent plan to deploy IP by 2009, up from less than 20 per cent today. To enable that transition, many contact centres today are moving away from traditional older hardware approaches such as ACDs. According to Genesys, many of these enterprises are adding IP infrastructure along with customer interaction management software to extend contact centre applications across the entire enterprise through shared resources.

Genesys pioneered the separation of interaction routing from ACDs a decade ago using CTI. Using SIP, it is now further enabling the separation of the ACD from the telephony infrastructure to provide customer service as pure application software.

For contact centres, the transformation to IP provides:

  • Application software that enables interaction management for voice and other interactions to be controlled using Business Rules, rather than being embedded in hardware.
  • Centralisation in the corporate data centre or hosted by a managed service provider that reduces total cost of ownership and speeds deployment of new capabilities.
  • Universal access enabling any employee, within the walls of the contact centre or outside (such as mobile applications for field service, or branch offices) to interact smoothly with the company’s customers.
  • Multimodal interactions for innovative uses, such as sending graphical data like maps in response to voice requests, or leveraging instant messages, video and presence to transform the customer experience.

Customer service applications can be deployed in a SIP environment with standard gateways and SIP phones without any other proprietary equipment. Alternatively, the customer service applications can be deployed on top of a softswitch providing telephony capabilities from vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Broadsoft, Cisco, Nortel, Siemens and Sonus.

In order to create a path for companies to leverage IP fully, Genesys outlined a next-generation architecture that includes the notion of making the telephony layer independent from the software and enables deployments that provide a flexible and effective migration path from traditional contact centres to IP. Genesys offered two key scenarios:

1.    The first wave of IPCC applications contact centres will leverage software to create "Application Mode ACDs", by replacing hardware with soft ACDs. Using CTI or SIP, an enterprise can eliminate ACDs, while still maintaining elements of its existing infrastructure.

2.    Alternatively, a second wave of IP transition allows companies to more aggressively move to software only, by embracing "Dynamic SIP-based Interaction Management", eliminating PBX dependencies, and using either standard-based SIP phones or softphones.

Genesys, which supports both migration paths, is helping to smooth this transition by embracing virtually all architectures - from SIP to TDM/IP hybrids. For most companies, separating the telephony layer from the applications intelligence is a critical step to extend the benefits of IP to customer service operations.

About Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc.
Genesys, an Alcatel-Lucent company, is the only company that focuses 100 per cent on software to manage customer interactions over the phone, web and in e-mail. The Genesys software suite dynamically connects customers with the right resources - self-service or assisted-service - to fulfill customer requests, optimise customer care goals and efficiently use resources. Genesys software directs more than 100 million customer interactions every day for 4,000 companies and government agencies in 80 countries. These companies and agencies can leverage their entire organisation, from the contact centre to the back office, to improve the overall customer experience. As a result, Genesys helps stop customer frustration, drive efficiency, and accelerate business innovation. For more information, go to www.genesyslab.com or visit the industry blog at www.betterinteractions.com

About Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) provides solutions that enable service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide, to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. As a leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP technologies, applications, and services, Alcatel-Lucent offers the end-to-end solutions that enable compelling communications services for people at home, at work and on the move. With operations in more than 130 countries, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach. The company has the most experienced global services team in the industry, and one of the largest research, technology and innovation organizations in the telecommunications industry. Alcatel-Lucent achieved adjusted proforma revenues of Euro 18.3 billion in 2006 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. [All figures exclude impact of activities transferred to Thales]. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet: www.alcatel-lucent.com

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Media Contact:
Duncan Burford, PR for Genesys, 01780 721433, dburford@iba-europe.com

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