VEXIS Expands Sales Leadership and VUI Expertise in Q1
Philip Fuller, President
Well the first quarter is behind us and I am excited to share with everyone all of the exciting news that is happening at VEXIS, as well as more updates on the continued consolidation in the Industry. We have expanded our VEXIS team with new sales leadership and VUI expertise, and extended our solutions and services portfolio with a new strategic relationship with Genesys. In the industry we saw two key mergers completed by a couple of premier manufacturer partners.
First, let me introduce David Baker, our new Vice President of Sales, who brings more than 15 years of contact center solution experience and expertise to the VEXIS community. He is developing and managing the current sales team and helping us add seasoned sales and solution engineering talent. Like many of us at VEXIS, some of you may have had the opportunity to work with David in his previous roles with Envox, Voice Objects, Verizon and Edify. I know that he and our growing team look forward to meeting and working with you.
I am delighted to announce that Keith Rolle, one of the industry’s most respected VUI designers, has joined the VEXIS team. We have also acquired exclusive rights to a range of VUI-related intellectual property and practices from Voice Architects, which is now operating as a wholly-owned VEXIS subsidiary. The web sites have been aligned, and you can read more in Jacob Martin’s article.
VEXIS has a substantial and growing integration practice that enables and enhances multi-vendor CTI, agent productivity and the overall caller experience across all channels. Analytics and reporting have become increasingly critical management, decision and evolution factors for our customers. After a thorough review of all leading vendors, we established a strategic partnership with Genesys, whom we felt had the most comprehensive and innovative set of products to support these efforts. We look forward to introducing you to Genesys concepts such as the ‘intelligent Customer Front Door’ and ‘intelligent Workload Distribution’ initiatives as well as their entire suite of routing and dynamic contact center solutions.
After their recent acquisition of Intervoice, Convergys is proving that they plan to remain our bedrock supplier of IVR and speech products based on their Edify and Intervoice product lines and some unique Convergys specific additions. David and I attended the Convergys Interactions conference in Orlando earlier this month and were impressed by their level of commitment to us and our customers, as well as their vision for the future. They unveiled their plans for SIP-based voice portal solutions, providing a clearer path for customers whose business plans include VoIP. They also introduced some exciting new products related to dynamic business process integration that make it easier to define business rules at a macro level to drive consistency across multiple channels like voice, web, and e-mail. We look forward to working with each of you to determine the suite of products and services that can best meet your service, administrative, and cost objectives.
One last acquisition of note was Syntellect’s move to acquire Envox. This decision has paired a long-standing IVR manufacturer with the most widely distributed CTI platform, CT Connect. This move has given VEXIS an opportunity to re-establish a new partnership with Syntellect, one of our original manufacturing partners. We can’t wait to see what new and exciting innovations they have in store for the Envox product suite.
Finally, we will be doing more outbound communications and programs around areas of interest to our customers. This will include webcasts to review product roadmaps, as well as thought leadership discussions designed to sharpen and expand our views of the market and how it relates to us.
Thanks again for your business. We continue to work hard to earn it each day.
Voice Architects Joins VEXIS Systems
Jacob Martin, VP of Operations and Solutions Services
In a continuing effort to expand our service offerings, the industry respected Voice Architects has joined with VEXIS Systems. As part of the merger acquisition led by VEXIS, Keith Rolle has joined the VEXIS team.
Recognized as a speech and voice user interface expert, Keith founded Voice Architects, a Voice User Interface (VUI) design and speech technology services company. As part of this new relationship; VEXIS and our customers will gain access to Voice Architects expertise as well as its extensive library of speech tools and methodologies. As one of Nuance’s first technical hires, Keith was instrumental in developing Nuance’s leadership in the telecom sector, as well as their phonetic search engine and grammar compiler, and Swedish, Japanese, Cantonese, and Australian English speech applications. He headed one of the industry’s first VUI design firms, SpeechStr and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Linguistics and Computer Science from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
In his new role, Keith will lead the Speech and VUI Design practice at VEXIS. Many of our customers have worked with Keith in the past and we are very excited to him on the team.
VEXIS remains committed to offering a complete range of quality contact center solutions and services. Please visit our Website for more information on our new VUI Design and Speech offerings.
Envoy™ Updates – Cisco ICM Support
Richard Wolff, Director of Software R&D
In this issue we will introduce the latest enhancement to the Envoy™ framework – Cisco ICM support! The new Envoy™ Cisco ICM interface enables the Envoy™ Server to communicate with the Cisco ICM Peripheral Gateway (PG). Using the same developer friendly XML message based protocol available for all Envoy™ deployments the Envoy™ Cisco ICM interface will allow any new or legacy Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems to easily add communication capabilities with Cisco ICM and thus leverage all the functionality that Cisco ICM offers.
Cisco ICM is a network-based software platform for managing a call center with distributed resources. Resources can range from a customer service center to a remote IVR system located in another time zone. Cisco ICM continuously monitors these resources as well as call activity, to control the distribution of calls and data across the enterprise.
By implementing the Envoy™ Cisco ICM interface, there is now a “bridge” between the IVR and Cisco ICM, allowing the ICM Peripheral Gateway to collect data from an IVR for use in call routing, real time monitoring, and historical reporting. The interface also allows the IVR to make use of the ICM’s call routing function to select the target for a call being transferred.
Business Users – The Envoy™ framework is capable of data aggregation so this means that all the Cisco ICM traffic through the Envoy™ Server can be combined with other transactions to other systems to provide unique insights on the entire lifetime of a call that is not available from other systems. In addition, you may have a more accessible department specific data store that you would prefer to maintain some of this call related information for reporting purposes. No problem – Envoy™ can store the data to the Cisco data store AND to any other data store. Store the data as you want it, and where you want it!
Application Developers – The traditional IVR / ICM interface is divided into two major sections. The communications interfaces define low level conventions and protocols necessary to establish, maintain, and terminate data communications between the IVR and ICM. The application interfaces define the higher level messages which allow the IVR to exchange call processing information with ICM. The Envoy™ Cisco ICM Plugin takes care of all the communications interfaces for you! This means that you need not worry about all the network traffic and protocol issues and are left to concentrate on making your application communicate effectively with ICM. Finish your Cisco ICM integration effort in a fraction of the time compared with a traditional implementation!
Stay tuned for additional “Envoy™ Updates” in the next issue of the VEXIS Voice.
Brian Smith, Director of Strategic Initiatives
At VEXIS Systems, we take pride in our knowledgeable and well-trained staff of support technicians and constantly strive to provide our customers with 100% satisfaction when resolving an issue. While product knowledge and continued training and education are key factors in the success of our support group, the core of our expertise lies in problem solving methodology and troubleshooting tactics. Effective troubleshooting transcends beyond the scope of IVR and CTI solutions – The same techniques can be applied to solving any problem, be it an IVR telephony issue or a car that won’t start. On that note, let’s take a look “under the hood” at some of the steps for solving problems.
Effective troubleshooting begins with obtaining a detailed understanding of the symptom or symptoms. When your end customer, colleague, or user encounters a problem, they may only be presenting a symptom of the root problem. For example, a user may request assistance because the IVR is not successfully authenticating callers by account number. While this is a problem, it is primarily a symptom – perhaps one of several of an underlying root issue or problem. Additional discovery may reveal that the IVR cannot connect to the database. While this could very well be the problem, it may also simply be another symptom. Still more discovery and troubleshooting could reveal that the root issue or problem is an unplugged NIC cable. The unplugged NIC represents the root issue or problem, while database connectivity issues and customer authentication issues are classified as symptoms of the root problem. Taking the time to dig deeper into the details of the situation before engaging in the resolution can save considerable time and frustration down the road. Collecting the information necessary to reproduce the issue is also a critical component of swift problem resolution.
“The 10 Step Universal Troubleshooting Process” by Steve Witt provides an excellent road map for issue resolution. Here are a few of the highlights:
Prepare – Every human activity requires preparation. In troubleshooting, one must prepare his or her tools, work area, documentation, and most importantly, attitude. The best way to get and maintain the attitude is to remember that it is a mathematical certainty that you “will” solve any reproducible problem in a system for which you have knowledge or system documentation.
Make a Damage Control Plan – Before you do anything that could cause damage, determine appropriate precautions. This may include making backups of data, notifying other departments, or developing an emergency back out plan.
Get a Complete and Accurate Symptom Description – To be useful, the symptom description must be complete and accurate. The more detailed the symptom description, the less work you’ll need to do. If you need to call in a specialist, a complete and accurate symptom description will ensure the quickest and most accurate solution. A good symptom description minimizes the risk of “fixing the wrong problem”, and helps determine the facts if there’s a suspicion that you made the problem worse.
Reproduce the Symptom – You can’t fix what you can’t see! If you haven’t reproduced the problem, you can’t toggle it on and off to narrow the scope and to determine the quality of the fix. Reproducing the problem prevents unfair accusations that you made the problem worse.
Stay tuned for additional highlights from the “10 Step Universal Troubleshooting Process” in the next issue of the VEXIS Voice.
Contact Center Technology – How Do I Know and Where Do I Go To Find Out?
Andrea McCasland, Senior Project and Quality Assurance Manager
With all the contact center technologies available today to make your contact center more efficient, more customer friendly, more productive, and well, just more; how do you know what YOU need? Further, how do you know if it really does make your contact center more efficient, customer friendly, or productive? Maybe you have an IVR or maybe you’re wondering if you need an IVR. If you have an IVR, maybe you’re wondering if you need CTI or Speech. And, maybe you’re wondering where your PBX fits into all this technology and how best to leverage the PBX and the IVR together. All these questions, all this technology, so little time, and, in some cases, a smaller budget than ever before.
All contact center technology needs are different requiring diverse technology solutions. Many contact center technology decisions depend on your customer’s needs or your business strategy. Sometimes, it can simply start with a question asked , or a comment made, by a customer, employee, or executive that launches a whole new thought process of the technology that could be implemented to take your contact center to a new level of service.
Okay, so we’ve discovered there’s an abundance of call center technology to choose from. We’ve wondered if we need it. And, now we’re looking at customer needs, business strategy, or other catalyst, to determine that we, in fact, do need to take the next step. So, what should the next step be?
Many customers have found taking advantage of a VEXIS Assessment to be a key next step. What does a VEXIS Assessment do? Simply put, a VEXIS Assessment “assesses” YOUR specific technology needs. It answers all those technology questions you’ve been asking yourself. During a VEXIS Assessment, an evaluation of the current state of your customer service and integration systems occurs. The evaluation ‘maps’ them together with current business and service objectives taking into account best practices, corporate standards, and the readiness of the infrastructure and the staff.
Depending upon the scope and timing of the VEXIS Assessment, the team may include the Account Executive and/or Senior VEXIS Designers and Solutions Architects. The VEXIS Assessment team shares its knowledge to partner with you in selecting the correct technology solution for YOUR call center based on YOUR needs.
It’s important to note that the session between the VEXIS Assessment team and your Project Team is a collaborative effort. This session allows for valuable information sharing and for asking and answering questions for both groups. Based on these inputs, the VEXIS Project Team provides you with an Assessment Report documenting the existing and relevant infrastructure, analysis of caller interactions with both your agents and automation. The report also includes a review of solution options with vendor comparisons. Finally, the Assessment Report provides a complete set of recommendations and includes strategies, project plans, detailed costs, and benefits, dependencies, and risks.
Now that we have addressed the questions of “how” to know “what” technology to implement and “where” to go to find out, in the next VEXIS Voice we will discuss the benefits to your contact center of implementing new contact center technology solutions or enhancing the contact center technology you currently have in place.
This newsletter is designed to provide you with useful support, technical and key topics of interest to you in a fast and efficient manner.
Let us know what you’re interested in seeing future issues. The goal is to make the results you get reading this as worthwhile as possible for your time.
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