Archive for April, 2011

Interactive Voice Response: Harmony Matters

I would like to share with you a thought on IVR harmonization that came to me after some customer meetings. Over time, many companies have implemented vertical solutions  from various vendors, i.e. several systems which include IVR for different functionalities. Carriers, for example, may have one Interactive Voice Response for SIM card activation, one for pre-paid/pay as you go card top-up services and one system for customer care.

Vertical solutions are also often acquired along with companies during mergers. Enterprises bought other companies that had other vertical solutions in place. They had different systems from different vendors, which resulted in heterogeneous IVR solutions.

This has downsides: They have to pay various vendors, they have different service creation environments to set up IVR trees, they have to pay maintenance fees to all their vendors and there are many different platforms. It doesn’t really matter if any of these systems are cloud-based or premise-based; it’s expensive and just not practical. At the same time companies want to be profitable with the service. Well, good luck.

Enterprises that want their IVR to be really profitable need to harmonize the various solutions they have in place i.e. go for a horizontal solution. They need one application that runs on one platform. Additionally, set up and administration should be easy, intuitive and in real-time. This calls for a graphical user interface for the service creation environment. Ours is icon-based. Users set up call flows by arranging icons over the browser-based GUI. This is so much easier and less costly than programming everything manually in VoiceXML and even users without programming knowledge can arrange and change call flows in real-time. That would be  impossible with a VoiceXML solution.

The other advantages of a harmonized IVR solution are obvious: maintenance and updates are only necessary for one system and everything comes from just one vendor. Plus there is only one service creation environment users need to be familiar with. For those who really want to save money and offer state-of-the-art IVR services at the same time, I recommend a network-based solution. This is an area we are specialized in and we have deployed such solutions for major carriers worldwide.

How many different IVR solutions do you use? Don’t you dream of having one solution on one platform for all scenarios? If you want to make things easier and more cost-effective, contact us and let’s talk about IVR harmonization. We could just make your dream come true.