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Interactive Intelligence recently released version 4.0 of its Customer Interaction Center (CIC). CIC provides companies with integrated communications and contact center functions that can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid environment divided between them. 

The latest release includes functional and architectural enhancements. In the most significant functional enhancement, Interaction Analyzer now supports real-time analysis of calls in progress. This capability addresses both the customer experience and agent performance, which are hard to manage because they happen in real time. If, for example, the customer gets angry or the agent says the wrong thing, neither will have a good experience and one may terminate the call. Monitoring such occurrences in real time provides a chance to avert such bad outcomes; it depends on being able to tap into calls and use real-time speech analytics to identify words or phrases spoken by either party. The latest release of Interaction Analyzer raises alerts when designated words or phrases are used so that a supervisor can monitor what is being said on the call and coach the agent using a collaboration tool or join in. In this way the customer’s issue can be dealt with during the call, with the possibility of improving the customer experience, preventing defection to the competition and also making the agent happier. The words designated to raise an alert can be stored alongside the call recording, making it easier for someone to search for calls later that may warrant additional analysis.

The second functional upgrade is in Interaction Web Portal, which gives decision-makers views of their contact center and customer service operations. It provides dashboards that contain key performance metrics, reports and analysis, and can show near-real-time and historical information. It also allows approved users to listen to live calls and call recordings. Partners and outsourcers can gain insight into operations within their domains, including for outsourcers a view of each of their clients. Agents can gain a view of their own performance, which helps motivate them to improve their performance.

The final significant functional upgrade is the ability to log details of interactions in more granularity, breaking end-to-end interactions into hold times, talk time, transfers and other aspects.

In a combination of functional and technical upgrades, CIC’s reporting and analysis suite has been overhauled. The entire suite has been redeveloped to run on the Microsoft .Net platform, making it easier to develop reports and distribute them to the right people. At the same time the functional capabilities of reporting now include links that enable drilling down from high-level reports to the underlying details, easier selection of items to be displayed and exception reporting based on user-definable thresholds. All the reports have been made easier to read.

In the most significant technical upgrade, the platform is now almost entirely independent of third-party products and runs as a pure application server. This gives users greater flexibility in how they deploy the software and makes the platform more reliable and scalable.

Interactive Intelligence is a pioneering vendor for contact center in the cloud. Ventana Research’s benchmark research into technologies used in contact center shows that 21 percent of companies have deployed at least part of their contact centers in the cloud. As vendors such as Interactive Intelligence continue to update the capabilities of their products, we expect this trend to continue. Interactive Intelligence continues to advance its technologies as I recently wrote in its recent process automation advancements. 

Have you adopted a contact center in the cloud, or are you thinking of doing so in the next 12 months? If so, please tell us your experiences and come collaborate with me on social media.

Regards

Richard Snow – VP & Research Directo

Recently Verint announced its intent to acquire GMT, a provider of workforce management products. My initial reaction was that Verint was primarily interested in acquiring GMT’s customer base to extend its already large share of the workforce management market. In a briefing Verint confirmed this but said there are other reasons behind its move as well.

Over the last several months Verint has been positioning itself not only in the front-office contact center but increasingly in back-office workforce management. GMT has a track record in the latter space, especially in retail finance where it has several clients and two specialist tools – technology value optimization and sales effectiveness. The first helps improve bank tellers’ productivity by optimizing the use of branch automation technology such as cash recyclers, and the second helps improve sales productivity by optimizing the positioning and activities of branch sales staff.

The first capability offers another insight into the acquisition because GMT has a sizable consulting practice that Verint will deploy to help companies improve their processes and use of technology in the back office. GMT also has some mature consulting processes that will help Verint improve the way it provides such services.

Verint typically sells directly to customers and has either acquired companies for their technology or partnered with others for integration with systems such as ACDs and PBXs. GMT has a more extensive set of partners that will help sell the integrated products, although looking at its list I imagine that some will not be happy about the acquisition as they are direct competitors of NICE.

Already a major player in the market, with the acquisition of GMT, Verint will have more products, a stronger consulting practice, more partners and a broader customer base. In this type of deal there is always cause for concern among the customers of the acquired party about what happens to them and their existing implementations. It is too early for Verint to publish a joint product roadmap – although I understand one is under development – but I was told that it will support the existing GMT products for the foreseeable future. Eventually of course the Verint and GMT products will be rationalized, and those customers will face choices about what to do.

Ventana Research’s benchmark research in technologies used in contact centers shows a very high penetration of workforce management products into contact centers, so Verint’s diversification into the back office seems like a smart move. That market is also less competitive than the contact center. This acquisition should help Verint assume a stronger position as it moves forward.

Have you thought of applying the principles used in contact center workforce management to your back office? If so, please tell us more and come collaborate with me on social media.

Regards,

Richard Snow – VP & Research Director

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