A few months ago, I evaluated Zeacom CommunicationsCenter (ZCC), which provides a
multichannel contact center that is integrated closely with business process
automation. This allows organizations to build a contact center tied to their
interaction-handling processes and deliver any form of interaction to the
person most qualified to handle it. At the time of my review, the product ran
alongside products from the likes of Avaya, Cisco and NEC, and was resold and
supported by the partner networks of these suppliers. There was also a beta
test under way that supported integration with Microsoft Lync, which provides an
alternative to using PBX products from these vendors.
Microsoft is not especially well-known
in the contact center market, except perhaps with its CRM product, MicrosoftDynamics. Microsoft Lync is what
most people term a unified communications platform. It provides integration of
voice, instant messaging, audio and Web conferencing capabilities, all
accessible through a single user interface. It also includes “presence,” which
allows users to see who is available on the network so that they can
collaborate on the resolution of interactions, and provides tight integration
with Outlook so users can share email and calendars. This integration is key
for organizations that choose to run ZCC for Lync, because its user interface resembles
Office’s, and Office users therefore have a familiar experience.
Organizations that use ZCC for Lync can
choose between two implementation modes: They can run in a hybrid environment
alongside their existing PBX, or, because Lync effectively replace the PBX,
they can run it stand-alone. The latter lets organizations obsolete existing
equipment that has reached the end of its useful life or build a new center
entirely based on software. This can be attractive to organizations with no
more than 400 seats, but as with any new software, prospective purchasers should
make sure that the system can deliver against their SLA requirements.
Recently Zeacom announced that the beta trial
completed successfully, so the Lync product is generally available. Zeacom sells
through indirect channels such as the Avaya, Cisco and NEC partners. The same
is true for the Lync option; Zeacom is one of six partners that Microsoft works
with in this space. As adoption of Lync grows, this partnership is likely to
prove beneficial to Zeacom and give it more market presence.
As I said in my previous blogentry on ZCC, building a contact
center used to be a complex task involving the integration of proprietary
pieces of technology, followed by configuration to support specific
interaction-handling processes. Products such as ZCC make this task a lot
easier. ZCC should be one of the options organizations consider as they begin
to build a new center or upgrade their existing ones.
Have you upgraded your center to
support multiple channels of communications? If so, tell us how it went, and
collaborate with me on this topic.
Richard Snow – VP & Research Director