Cisco Upgrades Contact Center Solutions

Along with the upgrade, Cisco has consolidated its 15 different customer contact products into three product families: Internet Protocol Contact Center (IPCC), Intelligent Contact Manager (ICM) and Interactive Voice Response.

Cisco unveiled two upgrades: IPCC Enterprise Edition 5.0, for IP-based contact centers, and ICM Enterprise Edition 5.0 for legacy TDM (time division multiplexing) contact centers, both targeting enterprise call centers with 50 to several thousand seats.

With the upgrades, Cisco has unified the architecture and administration of the two product lines, making it easier for customers using traditional telephony systems to migrate to IP systems in their contact centers, said John Hernandez, director of marketing for the customer contact business unit at Cisco, San Jose.

IPCC Enterprise Edition 5.0 adds universal queuing, which creates a single routing point for multichannel transactions, whether they are voice calls, e-mails or Web chat sessions. The new version also adds multichannel reporting and administration features, Hernandez said.

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"Now realtime and historical reports are integrated to look at agents' performance across all media," Hernandez said.

Other new features include the ability to manage outbound calls and to interrupt an agent answering e-mails or faxes when a realtime transaction, such as a call or Web chat, comes in, he said.

ICM Enterprise Edition 5.0 adds similar features for TDM environments, he said.

Cisco's new outbound call management features could open up new opportunities for channel partners, said George Sullivan,, CTO of Vista Information Technologies, a converged communications solution provider in Herndon, Va.

"For certain organizations, outbound calls are becoming extremely important. They want their agents to handle call backs or outbound marketing campaigns," Sullivan said. "Until now, there hasn't been an easily digestible way to deal with them in the Cisco framework," he said.

Pricing for IPCC Enterprise Edition 5.0 and ICM Enterprise Edition 5.0, scheduled for availability later this month, starts at $1,000 per agent.