Avaya’s Interaction Center 7.1 Builds Contact Center Toolbox

Avaya has updated its flagship contact center software application, Interaction Center, with new features that make it easier for developers to build agent portals to their own specifications and needs.

This latest iteration of the application, version 7.1, is taking aim at a pain point that many vendors havetried, unsuccessfully, to address: the agent desktop.

Avaya Interaction Center 7.1 includes a new software development kit that leverages .NET and Javatechnology, thus providing developers with greater flexibility to build and customize agent screens,according to Lawrence Byrd, director of IP Telephony and Mobility at Avaya. Examples would include single screen applications for agents, or screens that emphasize certain transactions such as e-mail or chat interactions.

Easy Integration

Developers and administrators can customize tools that agents typically use — such as context-basedtoolbars, communication controls, contact history and other informational displays — and embed them within existing enterprise applications, such as a CRM or customer database application. The need for new code development is minimal, the company said, since the latest version of the product was designed to easily integrate with existing Web Services-based applications.

This space has gone through waves of development, Byrd told CRM Buyer. Despite the resources thrown at the space, he said, the agent desktop remains cluttered with too many applications.

“With the advent of new Web-based portals, there is a renewed push to simplify the agent desktop,” he said. “Companies, contact center outsourcers and in-house operations alike, are continually trying to drive costs out of the agent operation. They are looking for new tools that help them do that.”

“By making it easier to incorporate Web services and customize context-sensitive screen designs, Avaya helps companies provide agents with more intelligent access to the information and applications they need to do their job, so they can deliver the best possible customer service,” said Eileen Rudden, vice president and general manager, communications applications division for Avaya.

Simplifying Information Retrieval

Byrd points to research done by a participant in Avaya’s BusinessPartner program, Viecore, which found that the proliferation of databases, systems and applications that agents must access in order torespond to customer inquiries and complete transactions is the leading issue impacting contactcenter productivity.

“Today’s businesses are looking for a more efficient way for their contact center agents to pullinformation from disparate back-end systems and applications — from mainframes and data warehouses to CRM applications and third-party platforms,” said Tom Chisholm, CEO and president of Viecore.

Besides customization options, Interaction Center 7.1 can also be used out of the box using the Avaya Agent desktop. Avaya offers pre-built adapters for incorporating Interaction Center functionality intoCRM applications from such vendors as Seibel, PeopleSoft and, most recently, SAP.

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