Amcat Goes ‘Virtual’ with New IP Contact Center Offering

Patrick Barnard
Group Managing Editor, TMCnet

Amcat Goes ‘Virtual’ with New IP Contact Center Offering

Contact center solutions provider Amcat has reportedly developed new enterprise IP contact center software -- Amcat Interactions -- that, according to the company, “enables contact center managers to overcome the architectural restrictions they face with current systems.” This comprehensive suite, which is based on open standards, offers ACD, IVR, inbound call handling, predictive dialing, email, SMS and other software bundled on a single platform. This powerful IP-based solution provides voice and data communication for the entire enterprise.

From this news it sounds like the company has developed its first fully “virtualized” contact center offering where all end-points on the network are in effect “equal,” thus breaking down the boundaries that have, until recently, kept call centers “centered.” These new SIP-based offerings are what finally enable call centers to make effective use of remote agents. With these new “virtualized” call center environments, all an agent needs in order to get on the network is a PC, a broadband connection, a headset, some SIP-based telephony software and his/her log on. That’s why they are so ideal for facilitating the remote agent model.

This type of solution is also ideal for facilitating the “informal contact center” model, where other knowledge workers across the enterprise are connected to the system and can help out with specific customer problems as they arise. In this sense, the solution provides a true enterprise communications platform.

Because it is centrally managed, the solution is also ideal for managing multiple call centers in different locations. Through its centralized user interface, call center managers, supervisors and executives can quickly and easily view data about which agents are working, who is on break, queue hold times, first call resolution and other agent performance metrics from multiple, geographically dispersed call centers. In this sense, they can view the operation of all of their agents in all of their centers - remote agents included – simultaneously. That means you can look at how your call centers are performing as a whole, or separately for comparison purposes. (Hopefully Amcat will be adding an executive dashboard to this solution so that high level execs can get instantaneous views of every aspect of the operations of their centers.)

Another advantage of this system is that, through the power of IP, you can intelligently route all voice and data traffic to the most appropriate agents, based on predetermined business rules. That means you can route calls and other contacts to the agents with the best skills to handle those calls – no matter where the agents are located on the network. Furthermore, Amcat’s SIP/CTI acts like a “comprehensive nervous system” and is aware of all resources available throughout an enterprise (i.e. it delivers “presence” for the contact center and across the enterprise).

In addition, the system is highly scalable, which means you can add new agents to the system rapidly without having to worry about additional equipment or software licenses. According to Amcat, the system can expand to “thousands of agents,” if needed.

Amcat said it developed this new IP model based on specific customer requests. Specifically customers were looking for a way to manage multiple contact centers using a streamlined method; deploy distributed human resources, particularly remote agents controlled from a single center; control human resources over a virtual enterprise - increasing efficiency and reducing costs; integrate voice and data in contact centers with the rest of the enterprise; leverage new interoperability/integration techniques associated with IP; and expand to accommodate new technology.

(It could also be that they did it because most their competitors are doing it.)

“Amcat expects an accelerated deployment of home-based agents over the next five years,” said Jim Texter, Amcat senior vice president and chief technology officer, in a press release. “Amcat Interactions embraces distributed resources. We are making full use of SIP-based standards to create an enterprise IP system that is fully aware of all resources, and can route and manage voice and data contacts over an enterprise.”

Texter added that this new offering “also provides an excellent foundation and migration path to a Software as a Service environment for both the call center and the enterprise.”

Amcat Interactions can be deployed with the public switched telephone network (PSTN), with IP Trunking or as a hybrid IP/PSTN configuration. Deployment and configuration is facilitated by Amcat Portalis Gateway, which can attach to any protocol required.

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