28 March 2017

Making sense of the upheaval in the UC market

Written by Christopher Liko, Posted in Contact Center, Unified Communications

As recent events have shown, there is no question that the UC market is in the midst of a rapid transformation. The market’s landscape is changing, as big players exit stage right, and new names come to the forefront. Clearly, the biggest news in the industry is Avaya’s chapter 11 bankruptcy declaration. Don’t forget that only two months before that, Genesys acquired Interactive Intelligence. This same Interactive Intelligence had seen a $41 million decrease in economic earnings over the previous 5 years after moving to the cloud. (Forbes) Earlier in the same year, Aspect Software also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, emerging quickly and repositioning itself in the market as part of the process. 

Despite this apparent turmoil for some of the longest-standing companies in the industry, the cloud contact center market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.9% by 2022.

So where is this growth coming from? We know that many of the largest players are struggling to maintain pace in the growing cloud sector of the market. 

07 July 2015

What happens when Response Group is not enough?

Written by Nicole Robinson, Posted in Contact Center, Unified Communications


 The Response Group application in Microsoft Lync or Skype for Business routes calls to groups of agents, queues calls and offers basic Interactive Voice Response (IVR) features. When a call enters the Response Group application, the call is routed based on a hunt group or the caller’s answers to IVR questions. While these simple features are enough for some departments, others require more advanced contact center features that are not provided with Response Group.

ComputerTalk’s ice, intelligent communications exchange, is the only enterprise-class native Lync and Skype for Business contact center product. ice Contact Center is able to provide the advanced contact center features that many key departments require. With the right supplementary capabilities, contact centers can become key generators of revenue through increasing customer retention and providing agents with the ability to properly cater to the needs of your customers. In addition, costs of maintaining your customer relationships can be lowered dramatically through efficient work force management features provided by ice.

As a native Lync and Skype for Business contact center, ice runs as a full member of the Lync or Skype for Business topology, so it uses your existing Lync or Skype for Business architecture. IT departments will continue only needing to maintain one environment.

Extend the capabilities of Response Groups with ice Contact Center by adding:

20 March 2015

Unified Communications is not enough

Written by Nicole Robinson, Posted in Unified Communications, ComputerTalk

“The primary goal of unified communications (UC) is to improve user productivity and to enhance business processes […] Gartner defines UC products (equipment, software and services) as those that facilitate the use of multiple enterprise communications methods to obtain that goal.” (Marty Parker, http://www.ucstrategies.com/unified-communications-strategies-views/gartner-uc-magic-quadrant-2014-a-clear-picture-of-the-changing-landscape.aspx)

UC allows organizations to meet the growing demands from customers and employees. According to Gartner analysts, a UC solution delivers at minimum telephony, conferencing, messaging, presence and IM, clients, and communications-enabled applications.

Employees are able to complete tasks faster when they can move seamlessly from one device or channel to another. Employees are able to communicate with colleagues from any location, allowing organizations more flexibility and ability to save money.

While UC solutions cover several product categories, they often do not come with all of the communication features that enterprises require. Organizations that face this gap would require flexible UC systems that can integrate with other business solutions. Organizations must understand the capabilities and limitations of UC solutions and the benefits that can come from integrating UC with other business solutions to get the most value out of their deployment.

Software Advice, a free online comparison tool for VoIP software, has recently released a 2015 report on enhancing business processes with UC systems. The data from their report shows that, in order to meet business needs, organizations need more than what traditional UC solutions can provide. According to their analysis, the most common types of software solutions organizations integrate their UC systems with, are Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions (40%) and call center solutions (36%). Organizations are integrating these solutions primarily to enhance screen pops (26%), click-to-call (22%) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) (16%).

 Case Studies: Top Systems Integrated With UC Solutions

04 December 2014

Sprint Complete Collaboration Now Enhanced with Contact Center Capabilities

Written by Vivian Pow, Martin Borowski, Posted in Press Release, Contact Center, Lync, Unified Communications, ComputerTalk, Microsoft

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), December 04, 2014 - Businesses with contact center operations now can use a consistent cloud-based unified communications (UC) tool across all employees plus offer key features critical to employees who directly support customers. Sprint (NYSE: S) is teaming with ComputerTalk to integrate robust contact center capabilities into Sprint Complete Collaboration with Microsoft [LYNC], enabling businesses to rely on Sprint as a one-stop shop to meet all of their UC needs.

ComputerTalk offers a native contact center solution called ice, which is an all-in-one, software only, cloud-based contact center built and integrated into the full Microsoft stack. Its wide range of features include:

  • Contact routing and distribution
  • Full Interactive Voice Response (IVR) designer
  • Call recording and historical reporting
  • Real-time monitoring and skills-based routing
  • Media-specific interactions
  • “UC Workflow” designer for building self-service and complex routing apps
  • Instant Messaging (IM), voice, email, Web chat and Twitter
  • Ability to route calls to any end point that [LYNC] knows (e.g. mobile devices, landlines and common area [LYNC] phones)
  • Ability to route IM to public IM clients

“Sprint is offering the first Microsoft universal communications suite with a native [LYNC] contact center that offers enterprise grade capabilities,” said Mandle Cheung, chairman and CEO of ComputerTalk. “This will allow Sprint customers to quickly and effectively move to a cloud-first, mobile-first, enterprise solution for communication and collaboration while enhancing the business customer experience."

Unlike competitive offers, Sprint’s approach is comprehensive with enhanced mobility and SIP Trunking integrated for every user. It also offers an end-to-end UC platform with a consistent experience across all collaboration tools, operating systems and end points.

Sprint Complete Collaboration is enabled by an all-IP network, which offers the reliability and quality needed for real-time collaborative applications. For road warriors, cloud-based UC offers a rich and flexible mobile experience. It also enhances BYOD programs with a seamless collaboration experience for tablets and mobile phones using multiple operating systems. Mobile employees can join meetings, check presence and availability, and use instant messaging while away from the office.

“Arming employees who have a wide variety of communication needs and workstyles with the right technology will unify them, promote stronger collaboration, and help businesses grow faster,” said Mike Fitz, vice president for Enterprise Commercialization, Sprint. “Enhancing Sprint Complete Collaboration with contact center features enables businesses to provide a consistent UC solution for all employees while adding capabilities for certain work groups, like the unique tools needed to directly support customers. Businesses can rely on Sprint as a one-stop shop for this integrated solution that will easily scale and adapt to their business needs.”

About Sprint Business

Sprint Business provides a range of simple, flexible services that help workforces to collaborate, mobilize and accelerate. As work changes, the winners will be the businesses that remove obstacles to best empower their employees to drive business success. Our solutions are designed specifically to help our customers' people work better together, be more engaged and enjoy their jobs more. To learn more, visit www.sprint.com/business or join the conversation at www.sprint.com/futureofwork.

About Sprint

Sprint (NYSE: S) is a communications services company dedicated to delivering the best value in wireless. Sprint served 55 million customers as of Sept. 30, 2014, and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; leading no-contract brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Sprint has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America for the last four years. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint andwww.twitter.com/sprint.

11 November 2014

Microsoft announces Skype for Business

Written by Vivian Pow, Posted in Skype, Lync, ComputerTalk, Microsoft

Lync is Skype.

Microsoft transforms Lync into Skype for Business, taking us another step closer to Universal Communications. This will be available in the first half of 2015. Find out more about Skype for Business by watching this video.

Microsoft is bringing consumers and business together – Mobile first, cloud first. More information on Skype for Business is available here: http://blogs.skype.com/2014/11/11/introducing-skype-for-business/

12 August 2014

Must-Reads/Listens for the month of August!

Written by Vivian Pow, Posted in ComputerTalk

1/ The latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications is out! Fresh off the presses, here it is:

2/ Interesting updates in the contact center industry!

3/ ComputerTalk’s take on Unified Communications.

4/ UC Industry analysts discuss the successes and failures of UC over the past decade. Hear the thoughts of these experts:

  • Blair Pleasant
  • Marty Parker
  • Michael Finneran
  • Art Rosenberg
  • Steve Leaden
  • Phil Edholm
  • Dr. Joseph Williams
  • J.R. Simmons
  • Jon Arnold
  • Roberta J. Fox

Some themes: SMBs are getting the benefits quicker than enterprises. Baby boomers and millennials’ views of UC. Mobile. The industry’s ability to integrate all pieces – hardware, software, networks, etc.  http://www.ucstrategies.com/industry-buzz/is-uc-succeeding-or-failing.aspx