Interactive Intelligence Developing New Business Process Automation Software

Patrick Barnard
Group Managing Editor, TMCnet

Interactive Intelligence Developing New Business Process Automation Software

Today is an exciting day for contact center software vendor Interactive Intelligence, as it has announced that it is developing a new Business Process Automation (BPA) product dubbed Interaction Process Automation (IPA).
The upcoming offering -- a module that plugs into Interactive Intelligence's existing platform -- facilitates what might is best described as communications-based process automation (CBPA). Basically it enables companies to use the unified communications capabilities of the platform as a framework for carrying out routine, daily business processes. More specifically, the call routing and presence capabilities of the UC platform are used to carry out business processes. This includes support for documents in all formats, in addition to the multimedia contacts (phone, email, IM, conferencing, etc.) the platform supports currently.

So, much the same way a contact center agent can route a call or other contact to any designated end-point throughout an organization, based on pre-defined rules, any worker (or automated system) in any department can use IPA to route documents to any other pre-defined end point on the network. And the same re-routing and failover mechanisms apply: If a worker is unavailable to handle a task, at any given time, and for any given reason, the system will automatically route that work onto the next available employee who is qualified to handle it.

As such, the software gives managers the ability to create and implement customized, "communications-based" workflows based on specific business rules, as well as on employee skills sets. Perhaps most importantly, the solution helps drive increased productivity, as workflows become more efficient and streamlined. In addition, managers and employees gain better visibility into business processes, with the ability to get detailed status on any project, in real-time, as well as detailed reports that will enable managers to track the productivity of all employees - not too unlike how a call center manager tracks the productivity of agents.

Facilitating the document management piece is the software Interactive Intelligence acquired when it bought Maryland-based software company AcroSoft in April. According to company officials, AcroSoft's document management software, which was originally created for the insurance industry, will be integrated into the IPA product, which is due out at the end of the year, and this is what will enable document sharing.

This marks a fairly radical change in direction for Interactive - not only in terms of the software it offers, but in terms of the customer base it serves. With this new offering -- schedule to be released in 4Q -- Interactive could end up serving a much broader customer base - and, providing IPA is successful, the company could become known for more than just contact center and enterprise phone systems it currently sells. What's more this means Interactive could find itself going up against the likes of Oracle, SAP, Savvion the other major business software vendors - something which it certainly can do, since it has already been selling contact center and telephony systems into the enterprise space for more than a decade now, and has a very established and loyal customer base.

As I see it there are two main advantages for Interactive in rolling out this new offering: First, it will present great value to existing customers, as the software can be readily and affordably added to the existing platform - there's no need to buy a whole new platform and additional hardware in order to gain the benefits of business process automation. The company estimates that IPA will cost about $400 to $500 per user, on average. Furthermore any software that helps streamline processes, boost productivity, reduce headcount, and thus deliver fast ROI, is getting serious attention from companies of all types and sizes, due to the current economic conditions. If IPA lives up to its promise, it could give the larger, more expensive custom installations from SAP, Oracle and the like a very serious challenge...

I'll be writing more about this new offering from Interactive Intelligence later today -- and later this week -- so for more information keep it tuned to


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