Jacada was one of the first contact center technology vendors to produce a unified agent desktop. Its product addressed the perennial problem for agents to access and navigate around the many applications they have open on their desktops during customer calls. Its early product allowed agents to sign on once to access all the applications they required, to point and click to access an application, to access and capture data with an intuitive user interface and to capture data once and have it entered into multiple applications based on pre-programmed rules. To support these capabilities, Jacada developed a number of tools to facilitate interfacing with different applications.
While these capabilities addressed serious issues and could lead to shorter call times and more calls resolved during the first attempt, many companies were reluctant to embark on such a change of systems. Recently another factor has complicated the situation: As agent turnover remains high, more companies are asking employees outside their formal contact centers to answer customer calls. This means they have more people to train and challenges in ensuring that best practices are kept up by everyone who handles calls. To meet existing and new challenges, Jacada recently released a new product, Jacada Advisor.
It uses the same foundation as its predecessor but solves many problems in a different way. Instead of essentially redeveloping the desktop, Jacada Advisor uses “pop-up bubbles” superimposed on existing applications. These bubbles appear to be just that – small windows that open up on top of an application to give agents information, advise them on what to do next or facilitate data capture. For example, an agent might be using an old-style customer relationship management (CRM) system that has numerous screens that are not easy to work with or navigate. In this case Advisor might pop up a bubble that tells the agent what to enter into a application field, guides him or her to the next field or captures data and automatically enters it into the application. Pop-ups are driven by rules developed to mirror common paths through applications, making it easier for agents to understand and enforcing best practices. Advisor comes with visual development tools that non-IT people can use to develop rules for when bubbles appear and what function a bubble supports.
Jacada also announced another new product, Jacada Insight. It addresses an even longer-standing problem: how to produce reports and analysis of contact center performance. Companies often have trouble accessing underlying data sources in order to extract the data they need to produce these kinds of reports and analysis. Jacada Insight solves this problem by using the same extraction tools that support the unified desktop and Advisor. These already exist for many common applications and provide a foundation for building new extractors for specific applications. The extractors load data into a predefined data mart and customers can use the embedded business objects tools to produce reports and analysis quickly. The data mart, the reports and the analysis can be extended to meet specific customer requirements.
My research into the technology used in contact centers shows that the typical agent desktop is too messy and complicated, forcing agents not only to use complex applications but also navigate among up to 22 different applications just to resolve simple customer requests. My research over the years shows companies crying out for better reports and analysis of how their centers are performing. The two new products from Jacada go a long way to addressing these issues. They are also timely because other vendors have started to produce both this kind of smart desktop that guides and advises agents and applications that focus on contact center reporting and analysis. These products will keep Jacada competitive and provide companies with viable solutions to longstanding issues.
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Richard Snow – Global VP & Research Director