Archive for May, 2011

The Call Flow Map

In the contact centers of large companies, such as airlines, call flows can become very lengthy and extremely complex. Whenever you look for a particular functionality in your call flow, e.g. to make changes, you can easily get lost in your own routing plans because they’re so extensive. Despite using our icon-based IVR trees, it is possible to lose track of your own call flows just because of their mere size. When you have over 500 icons, things can get tricky.

So what can you do if you want to find a specific icon or functionality in a complex routing plan? Why not try our search function? You type in the name of an icon, the icon type (e.g. database) or any other property of the icon you’re looking for and click search. The result you get shows all the locations of the icon or icons which could match within the call flow.

This makes it much easier to change functionalities. For example, if you want to change a prompt; you locate the respective icon via the search function and select a new prompt from a drop-down menu. That’s it! You don’t have to do anything with the call flow; you just open a backdoor via the icon. To cut a long story short, the search function helps you to implement changes quick and easy.

Another option to find a specific icon in a complex routing is our locator. It is like a map of the call flow. You can zoom in on a certain area in the call flow and click on icons there to access them in the routing logic. Again, by clicking on one icon there, you can change the functionality for the entire call flow.

And just incase you’ve forgotten; all this happens without any local installation. The search function and the locator are all part of our web-based service creation environment. All you need is a browser and internet connection.

What do you think is the best way to keep track of complex routings? Would you like to learn more about the locator and the search function? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Service Creation Environments – Let’s Be Open

Open source is one of the most popular topics in the entire IT and telecoms world. You can’t succeed if you’re not open. This recognition is also valid for contact center and IVR technology. I think our service creation environment for Interactive Voice Response and our Icon Development Kit are good examples.

Our service creation environment enables you to integrate many CRM systems and external databases using our SOAP/ XML interface. The IVR sends a SOAP request to a database or CRM system and retrieves the information desired by the caller. The logic for this is represented by an icon. The system is so open that in most cases it can interface with smaller-scale databases that do not support SOAP interaction. These should be accessible without any additional programming effort. A “database” icon with underlying script in VoiceXML or ECTXML® does the job. For larger systems, there is an icon for “SOAP request” or “http request”.

There is another aspect regarding openness with our icons; you can develop your own if you wish. You just need to be familiar with basic programming principles and be able to use VoiceXML and CCXML. These newly developed icons are 100 per cent compatible with our Visual Call Flow Builder and work together with other pre-defined and user-defined icons.

For even more openness, there are very interesting business models. You develop your own icon and share it. We deliver the Icon Development Kit with low-level building blocks and libraries. Your customers can use it to design their icons. As a carrier or provider of the solution you can even resell the icon developed by another party. It’s the same principle that Apple uses for open app development.

Honestly, can you be more open than that? If so, please tell me.

What happened to CosmoCom?

There was recently some very interesting news from our industry: CosmoCom, a vendor of IP contact center solutions, has been sold for 20 million US dollars. I read the reports again because I could not believe the sum: 20 million dollars! CosmoCom themselves reported that they were able to secure over 64 million USD in five financing rounds by 2000. It is even possible that they raised more money after that and now they’ve been sold for only twenty million to Syntellect, which is wholly owned by Enghouse. This sale for just 20 million dollars represents a big loss in shareholder value when measured against the amount of capital invested in the company. Ari Sonesh, the CosmoCom founder and CEO, has already left the company. Maybe something went seriously wrong?

According to the press information released by Syntellect, CosmoCom’s revenue for the fiscal year 2010 was approximately 17.6 million USD which means the selling price is just 1.15 times that amount. Information found in the internet, shows their turnover in 2009 was still 30 million dollars. To me, the interesting questions are: what happened to the money they gathered from their investors and why did their revenue collapse like that?

As they didn’t publish this information, you can only guess their outgoing costs. According to sources from the web, CosmoCom has 200 employees and with 17.6 million dollars turnover in 2010, this could easily mean they’re making major losses.

After a takeover, the first thing the purchasing company usually does is look for synergies. This often leads to them downsizing operations of the company purchased. This is particularly the case if their own portfolio overlaps with the acquired company and that company has previously made a loss.

So what are the CosmoCom customers going to do now? Maybe you know? I’d be interested to hear from you.