Message from the President
Philip Fuller, President
I would like to send a warm thank you to all of customers, vendors, and friends, who have chosen VEXIS as a valued business partner. We are proud to have the opportunity to serve you all and we feel very fortunate to have earned your trust and confidence. 2010 was another solid year where we were able to welcome new key individuals within the organization to improve our operations and our software R&D.
Our continued commitment to our customer’s application development needs as well as our focus on new product enhancements and features has positioned VEXIS for what is shaping up to be an exciting 2011. We are expecting to roll out several key enhancements to the Envoy frame work as well as a new and improved Analytics solution to help customers gain better insight to their contact center operations especially from the self-service channels. Look for several big announcements concerning Envoy Analytics and expanded integration and toolkit capabilities.
As is customary, I urge you to take a few minutes to read through the other articles in this newsletter. The VEXIS management team, as the key contributors, always strive to include relevant topics and information that we think are useful to all individuals, not just those who handle the technical aspects of the contact center but also business users who are looking for ideas to improve application performance and analytics. Please follow these links to read more about new solutions and information that we believe will help improve your business.
- Coming to a town near you…VEXIS Business Planning and Consulting Services would like a Moment of Your Time.
- Read Jacob Martin’s article, Take Our Survey. Please, to see how you can make your voice heard.
- Brian Smith revisits the age old topic of Customer Service in Technical Support in his article…More than Just Maintenance.
- Richard Wolff is delivering his final piece of his 4 part discussion of the Envoy SoftPhone. In his article, Envoy® Updates – Building a “Better” Soft Phone, Part Four, he discusses the extensibility of the Envoy SoftPhone solution.
- Also if you have time, I recommend you go back and check out some of the other great articles that your VEXIS team has provided in previous newsletters, I promise it will be worth your time.
Thanks again for entrusting VEXIS to deliver and support your contact center solutions in 2010. On behalf of the entire VEXIS Systems team, I wish you, your families, colleagues, and company a great holiday season and happy, healthy, prosperous 2011!
May We Have a Moment of Your Time?
It always seems so far away but the New Year is upon us and as you come back from your holiday vacation/s it is time to start executing on the 2011 plan for self service and contact center initiatives. The VEXIS Regional Territory Mangers will be contacting all of our customers throughout January and February to schedule a brief on site consultation to discuss your current contact center initiatives or issues.
What is in it for you…you ask? Well, with an average of nearly 10 years of technical consulting experience, your VEXIS Territory Managers can listen to your current challenges and work with you to prepare a plan of action to address your needs not just in 2011 but for 2012 and beyond. You will have access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise on a wide range of products such as IVR, Speech, Reporting, Customer Experience Analytics (CEA), and CTI. Not to mention our broad experience with enterprise solutions and systems integration capabilities across multiple industries. The best part is that as our valued customer this visit will not cost you anything. It is our free consultation to assist our customers with their planning and strategy for the New Year. If you would like, we also can review the new features and functions that are available with upgrading your existing platform as well as introduce you to new solutions and technologies that you may not have considered in the past. Your VEXIS account team is looking forward to scheduling time with you and renewing our commitment to further improving the personal touch service that our customers have come to expect from us over the years.
We understand that you may be eager to get started so in case you can’t wait and you want to get on the list quickly you may contact us directly anytime either by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling 918-663-8080 and asking for sales. Thank you as always for your continued support and we look forward to visiting with each of you very soon!
Take Our Survey. Please.
Jacob Martin, VP of Operations and Solutions Services
At VEXIS Systems, we continuously look for ways to improve our products, services, and support. Our customers play a critical role in defining and improving our solution delivery process, and we want to hear from you. Please let us know what’s working well and what’s not working so well by completing one of our surveys.
Currently, we submit a survey after every trouble ticket is closed. We have also begun to follow up after every project to get your feedback. We know you’re busy, so we’ve made this process as easy and as painless as possible. Trouble ticket surveys are offered online and take less than five minutes to complete. We prefer to follow up with a phone call after a project is completed. Don’t worry, the questions will be relevant to your support or professional services experience; we won’t be asking you which laundry soap you prefer.
I have to admit that I rarely respond to surveys. I believe that’s because I think my responses will not be given enough visibility to make a difference. I want to assure you that every survey result is reviewed by the VEXIS management team. We will use your feedback to improve our services and products and to ensure that we continue to provide you with exceptional customer service.
If responding to a survey is not your style, feel free to contact me or your account consultant directly to provide your feedback.
For those of you who have participated in our past surveys, we thank you and we look forward to your future responses. And to everyone, I wish you a happy and prosperous new year and we look forward to hearing your voice in 2011.
More Than Just Maintenance
Brian Smith, Director of Strategic Initiatives
I recently had to open a support issue with a reputable technology company that shall remain nameless. Calling for tech support is always a frustrating experience for me. Being a tech-savvy person, I always exhaust all the basic and intermediate routes of resolution, search Google, check the manufacturer’s website, etc. before placing the call. Then ten minutes on hold, followed by being walked through dozens of basic level troubleshooting steps as I explain repeatedly that I’ve already tried all of it without success. It’s the level of support we’ve grown accustomed to from the technology companies we deal with on a daily basis.
That recent experience prompted me to take a closer look at the level of support we provide our customers at VEXIS. As a member of the VEXIS team since 1998, I’ve tuned into the culture here for so long that I’ve taken for granted the exceptional people that solve problems every day. They LISTEN to customers. They think outside the box. They take pride in answering phone calls and emails at break-neck speed, and equally as much pride in solving problems quickly. They continuously LEARN, always cognizant of the fact that knowledge is key in navigating an ever-changing landscape of technology. This dedication and commitment to our customers extends beyond support and into project management, development, sales, and R&D. It makes me exceptionally proud to associate with such a dedicated group of individuals.
As you receive and process your 2011 Maintenance Renewals, consider the extended team of people here at VEXIS that you have on your side. They aren’t loyal to the IVR platform vendor. They aren’t loyal to the telephony card manufacturer. They are loyal to YOU, the customer. Too many software and hardware manufacturers use every excuse available to prove why your problem isn’t their fault. Your VEXIS Systems team uses every resource available to SOLVE the problem. It’s more than just maintenance. It’s more than just talk.
Envoy® Updates – Building a “Better” Soft Phone, Part Four
Richard Wolff, Director of Software R&D
In the previous three “Envoy® Updates” articles covering the Envoy® Soft Phone (ESP) we looked into performance advantages ( Building a “Better” Soft Phone, Part One ), efficient business use case adaptation ( Building a “Better” Soft Phone, Part Two ) and the slick user interface features ( Building a “Better” Soft Phone, Part Three ). In this article we will have a look at some of the more advanced features that ESP has to offer.
Application Programming Interface (API) – ESP is built on top of the Envoy® Client program which exposes methods to send / receive XML messages. It is really that simple – all the powerful event driven features and call control functionality are accomplished using a very simple, standards based, easy to read message set built purely upon XML. VEXIS “ate our own cooking” by using our client side API to build our soft phone – no proprietary technology hidden under the covers. So we know the API can be trusted to drive a demanding call center application, but how easy is it to use? Well, the nice thing about the API of the Envoy® Client program is that it is exposed as a C/C++, COM, and .NET API. By having all these various interfaces, the API can be called from virtually any programming language such as the latest .NET (C#, VB.NET, ASP.NET) technologies to low level C code and even legacy Visual Basic applications – allowing your developers to use the programming language with which they are most comfortable. There is even a special version of the API used to allow enterprise class applications, such as an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to make use of the client in a network optimized manner. In other words, the user interface of ESP (although we really like it) is optional – if you prefer to have all the same powerful technology in your own application specific in your environment, use the API that is freely distributable throughout your enterprise. You can read more about the API here: Envoy® Client Software Development Kit (SDK).
Technology Abstraction – ESP communicates with Envoy® Server which in turn communicates with backend systems. The great thing about Envoy® Server is that it is a highly scalable, powerful message routing engine that manages resources and operates within a “push” model. Basically, this means it can support a large number of heterogeneous clients in a very efficient (event driven) network traffic mode of operation. Yes, different clients with different message framing can communicate with Envoy® Server simultaneously, even accessing the same (or different) backend systems. Envoy® Server can be instructed to do whatever you need it to do for your enterprise applications because Envoy® Server is a plugin framework. If you need Envoy® Server to communicate with Cisco ICM or Genesys T-Server, there are plugins already written for those tasks; if you need it to communicate with IBM WebSphere MQ, use that plugin which is also available, as are many other standard plugins. Use plugins in any combination; allow your client applications to access multiple backend systems all through the same one “friendly” XML based message API. Going back to ESP, the real advantage is that it uses the abstraction layer and resource management capabilities of Envoy® Server – so ESP can communicate with an Avaya switch through an AES Server or Nortel switch via a Symposium server – or both at the same time. ESP will issue call control commands and Envoy® Server will route the messages to the proper technology plugin needed to execute the issued operation. A plugin can do anything from aggregating data from multiple backend systems to monitoring enterprise applications, to communicating with distributed telephony resources – and if you cannot find a standard plugin that does what you want it to do, leverage the powerful Envoy® Server plugin architecture and write your own plugin in your favorite programming language! You can read more about Envoy® Server here: Envoy® Server Multi-Client Endpoints, Envoy® Server Resource Management, and The Power of Envoy® Server, the Dexterity of .NET.
Desktop Application Integration – ESP is an event driven application. What does that mean? It means that ESP does not “poll” (keep asking) the Envoy® Server if there is anything new it needs to know about but instead is notified when things it is interested in knowing occurs. Consider a call center that has 500 agent desktops – each one running a softphone application. In a “pull” model each desktop would ask (poll) the server “is there a telephony event for me”? The server would have to reply to each desktop application – with 500 hundred replies – and maybe only half of those desktops have an actual event they need to be notified of from the server. To make matters worse, the “poll interval” – how often the clients ask for “anything new” – could be configured such that it occurs every second, or even more frequently. This “pull” model makes the server work hard and the network full of unnecessary traffic. With the “push” model, the clients tell the server to send events to them only when they occur and then the clients do not bother the server again; the server notifies the client when the specific event they want to know about happens. This model is more efficient because the server only sends messages when they are necessary and network traffic is considerably less “chatty”. The Envoy® Server even takes this “push” model a step further by allowing different clients to not only “subscribe” to specific events but also to dynamically “filter” the events in which they are interested in at any time – and Envoy® Server is aware of those additional events that now need no processing so effectively become “no ops” (operations that do not need to be carried out). Going back to ESP – this “push” model allows the ESP user interface to dynamically update based upon events that occur (event driven) on the telephony switch. An example might be where an incoming call event would be notified back to the specific ESP application (running on proper agent desktop for that extension) and thus tell the user interface to show a flashing (“ringing”) notification. This event driven architecture is leveraged a great deal by ESP because ESP can consume these events but can also pass them along (in addition to other call related data) to other applications running on the agent desktop. Imagine tying in legacy code running on the desktop such that it can react to / process events occurring on backend systems! Legacy applications that were previously only usable as a manual human interface (passive) application can now be enabled to play a much more proactive role on the desktop – this is where ESP shines as a conduit for desktop application integration based upon events from backend systems.
Goal Tracking – As a teaser, consider that ESP communicates with Envoy® Server and that one of the plugins available among standard plugins is the Envoy® Reporting plugin (soon to be featured in an upcoming article). This plugin consumes the same friendly XML messages that all the plugins use – so perhaps ESP (or your own client that uses the client side API) wants to incorporate goal tracking – the infrastructure is all in place today – using the Envoy® Framework components (client, server, and plugins are known as the Envoy® Framework). Is this cool or what?! Just as other enterprise applications can track business level effectiveness through goal tracking (attempts, successes, failures) your client side application – the softphone itself – could start tracking configured goals.
There are still many more advanced features of ESP not listed here that your enterprise can put to use immediately; make sure and check out some of the related articles. Hang on to your seats for the next VEXIS Voice “Envoy® Updates” article!
This newsletter is designed to provide you with useful support, technical and key topics of interest to you in a fast and efficient manner.
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How to Reach Support
Call 888-58VEXIS or 888-588-3947.
How to Reach Your VEXIS Account Manager
Call 918-663-8080 and say “Sales” or email email@example.com