Alcatel, Microsoft Team For Call Centres
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Alcatel and Microsoft have announced the integration of the OmniTouch Contact Centre Premium Edition solution with Microsoft’s new customer relationship management solution, Dynamics CRM 3.0.

The combined solution will target the address up to 80 per cent of the Australian call centre market says Alcatel Business Manager for Voice solutions Brian Bird.

If you look at all the research form people like Frost & Sullivan you see that 80 per cent of the market is less than 150 agents,” said Bird.

As part of the agreement the two have committed to joint development and marketing activities which will include training and certifying partners on both platforms.

The solution will see the Alcatel software run alongside the Microsoft CRM on a Microsoft server. The integrated bundle could work as an upgrade solution on existing infrastructure said Bird and does not rely on Alcatel hardware, although Bird says there will be some advantages to using the company’s PCX communications appliance with the system.

While Alcatel has offered integration with other CRM suites through its Genesys subsidiary, this is the first time the adaptors have been built directly into the Premium Edition solution. Bird said the company has also provided integration with Salesforce.com and SAP, “but it is only with the Microsoft one that we have agreed to do the joint marketing”, said Bird.

Although the solution would be available to the top two tiers of Alcatel’s channel, partners need to be trained and certified to offer the solution and so far only 20 partners world wide are on the roster to get training in the initial round.

One of those is in Australia, telecommunications integrator Voip has already been to Paris for the Alcatel training and will be the first local player to get the Microsoft certification required. Integ is another Alcatel partner that plans to offer the solution.

The obvious advantage to the bundle is the significant reduction in deployment effort and cost said Bird. “A large top-end contact centre requires a lot or professional services and implementation,” said Bird. “A lot of that comes writing the interfaces between the Call Centre software and the company’s CRM system. It is all very time consuming and expensive. Now they are both pre-packaged with IVR functionality, routing and reporting templates and the interface for MS CRM is built right into the product.”

This means that even a smaller contact centre can quite quickly implement advanced features such as “multimedia blending” so that emails get put in the contact queue along with phone calls with far less implementation time.