Unified Communications (UC) Business Process — Transcription
Dick:Welcome everybody. Thanks for joining us today. We’re excited about the information that we’re going to be presenting to you today. Hopefully, it will inspire some additional thoughts as to ways to utilize the ABST platform that you have, or may be considering, that goes a little bit beyond the standard processes that you may be thinking of for that voicemail replacement, so to speak.
In the voice and data worlds, there’s one thing about us is that we love our acronyms. One that’s been creeping up in recent years is CEBP. What is that, what does that mean? It stands for Communication-Enabled Business Process. What that really means for you is that most applications and business processes that you have are optimized to work in a certain way within a certain environment. Frequently, that involves your PC at your desk. It may be transmitting data from one location to another, things like that.
Adding a communication layer to those business processes can oftentimes really optimize them and give users, your customers, additional methods and ways to access the information and to utilize the information that is vital to them providing services to accessing information about your company, to managing their orders, disseminating information out. Really, it bridges those silos that exist today, possibly between various applications and/or possibly between your customers and you, or your users and the data that they need in giving them additional methods to manage and access that information that is available to them, and creating self-service applications that users and your customers can utilize in their interactions with your organization.
The UC platform that ABST provides, the CX-E platform and TXS platforms; they’re really are far beyond just the standard voicemail. For many years, ABST has been thought of as just a voicemail company. We were that for many years, and we still are. The UC voice portion of the CX-E product provides very powerful call processing and messaging applications. The platform itself extends far beyond just plain-old standard voicemail that you’ve been used to all these years. From advanced mobility features for your users that are more mobile, tend to be outside, field sales, service personnel, things like that. Interoperability; the ability of the platform to accommodate your environment. You don’t have to change your environment to accommodate the platform. The platform accommodates your environment. Regardless of what your telephony environment looks like, your email environment, things like that. The unified communications solutions from ABST, the CX-E and CX-S platforms, can accommodate those.
As the environment changes, we are uniquely capable of adjusting to those changes in your environment. Changing with PBX doesn’t really bother us. Changing from one email platform to another, from a premise-based solution to a Cloud-based solution, really doesn’t bother us at all. We’re able to accommodate those very smoothly and very easily.
What we’re going to be talking about today, the UC business processes, and what that entails within your environment and how that can be used within it. We’ve had other webinars to talk about the other applications, the mobility, the interoperability, things like that. Today, we’re going to highlight the fourth tier that the system was build on. That happens to be the UC business processes.
There’s going to be two levels that this type of technology has provided within the product itself. The first, Level 1 so to speak, are features that are built into the system; standard automated attendance, routing calls within your environment smoothly and easily, either through DTMF interface, a speech interface, or both. Getting callers connected to the people and to the departments that they need to speak with quickly, easily, and smoothly. We’re used to the traditional DTMF interface; that’s been around as long as the automated systems have been here. Adding that speech layer to it really makes it a much easier interface for users, and customers and callers to utilize.
You can create, oftentimes, fewer menus, things like that, to allow callers to much more efficiently get connected to the destinations they need to go. Schedule Express: Allowing very customized routing of calls as calls are received by the system, which auto-attendant answers the call. Which menu gets brought up initially to the caller when the call is received? Schedule Express provides a very smooth and easy interface with which to handle that to take care of holidays, different departments operating on different schedules, things like that, very quickly and easily.
Then we start taking it up a level with a combination of solutions that can be modules added to the system and advanced APIs. An API, there’s another acronym again, an application programmer’s interface that allows custom applications to be developed, or the inclusion of functions within the CX-E system itself to be embedded and incorporated into other applications that you may be utilizing today.
That’s accomplished with two primary APIs that we provide within the system itself. The first is a Soap-based web services API. That in fact, is a standard feature of the system. Every new system that is shipped out comes with this API as a standard feature. It operates within the Microsoft.Net development environment. It allows access within your custom applications or within applications that you have already to the messaging, call control engine, and administrative engines of the CX-E platform, allowing you to create any number of custom applications.
We’re going to take a look at some of those here, in just a few minutes; that can significantly automate processes within your environment. For example, if you’d like to automate the provisioning of users, maybe you utilize an application such as PeopleSoft, or some other HR application, and you’d like it when somebody is added to that to automatically create their mailbox. That can easily be developed using the Soap-based web services API.
The second API is an optional module that can be added to the system, UC Connect. UC Connect; a simple way to think about it, although it can be many other types of applications, is an IVR-type module. IVR; interactive voice response, which allows you to take the platform and connect it and allow access to backend database information. From backend database information, allow outbound notification, outbound calling services to notify of events, changes in status, account information things like that. All of these we’re going to take a look at here, as we process through these. These are the two primary tools that are utilized to reach out and interact with the business processes that you use today, and allow the marrying of those processes and tools with the capabilities that are provided with the CX-E platform.
I’m going to introduce Marty Johnson. Again, he’s the manager of the staff that develops these custom applications, and he’s going to take a look at a number of applications that we have actually developed for customers, and have deployed within their environment.
Marty:Thanks, Dick. Thanks everybody, for attending. We appreciate you spending your time with us this morning. As Dick mentioned, we’re going to go through several applications, not in too much detail, but just examples of types of things, types of CEPB applications that we’ve implemented on the CX platform in the past, and we’re going to focus on three different vertical markets. The first being the government or county government market, and a particular customer that has several applications implemented within their environment; very large county government, 1.9 million people, twice as large as the average county in the United States. They have a lot of customer and public service departments and functions to present, and have chosen over the years to implement several different CEBP applications, not all at the same time. One of the great things about getting in on a large organization and getting some visibility to the technology is that once there is some success, that tends to steamroll and other departments within the organization may also find an advantage to automating some of the processes.
We look at a few applications that were developed with the UC Connect API, as well as a couple that are using the Notify Express module. I’ll just go briefly down the bullet points there and mention a few points about each of them. The elections department of this county had a few issues that it wanted some help automating; the first three bullet points there, actually. The first one was a polling place locator. At the time that application was implemented, they would get a lot of voters calling in and trying to find out, “I can’t remember where my polling place is. Where am I supposed to go? Maybe it changed, maybe I’m an absentee voter.” We implemented a polling place locator, where the voter would call in and enter some identifying information, their address, perhaps their voter ID number. We’d go query a backend SQL server database and get the information about that particular voter, and then let them know whether they in fact were an absentee voter and could expect a ballot in the mail or give them the name and the address of their polling place.
Since that time, this particular county had moved to an all mail-in voting process. They needed a way to notify their hundreds of thousands of voters just to remind them, in addition to getting the news out in the press and things like that, but to remind the voters, “You don’t go to a polling place anymore. You can expect something in the mail. If you have questions, here’s how you contact us, or refer to the brochure that’s going to be mailed to you.” They chose to implement a Notify Express solution to actually go out and call all of the registered voters and say a message to them explaining and reminding them as another means of doing this that they were moving to an all mail-in voting process. The county supplied the phone numbers and some other information about all of these voters to the Notify Express application, which then over a period of a couple of weeks, 10 calling days or so, actually went out and called all the voters and either played the message to them or left it on their answering machine.
Then also, the elections department had an issue where once they were receiving all these mail-in ballots and these absentee ballots, sometimes the signatures didn’t match for various reasons, either the ballots weren’t signed, the signature didn’t match what they had on file, or they were signed by the wrong person. They needed an efficient way to actually call the individual voters who had these signature issues and inform them that there was an issue with their ballot and that they needed to get taken care of so that their ballot could be counted; and they have a certain time that they have to do that. During the period leading up to an election, while these ballots are coming in and for a certain period after the election, the county supplies a file that indicates the voters with problems on their ballots, indicates what the problem is. The Notify Express module will call the individual voters, tell them that there’s a problem with their ballot, what the problem is, and how long, essentially, they have to rectify the problem, and some additional instructions along those lines. It’s been a pretty good labor-saving solution for the county. They don’t have to actually call all of these people with a big call center. They can focus on helping the voters that need more help than just a reminder or just a notification.
Moving on, in the bullet points there, the Parks Department of this particular county has a department that is responsible for notifying and managing the flood information throughout the county. There’s several rivers that flood, or have a potential of flooding, throughout different parts of the year. This particular department found that it was getting a lot of people calling in to find out whether or not the river that may affect them is nearing a flood stage, is in a flood stage, or just what the risk might be at a particular time. They decided they wanted to implement a river flow information CEBP application. What this does is it allows callers throughout the county to call in and select a particular river that they’re interested in from a series of menus, and actually receive information and readings from the US Geological Survey’s gauges at different points throughout that river. It will tell them the flood stage, whether or not there’s a flood warning, and what the different water flow readings, and such, are. As I mentioned, that’s getting data that the county populates into a SQL server database from the US Geological Survey. It’s also available on their website, but they found that a number of people also want to be able to dial in and obtain that same information.
The property tax information; I think of all of these, that was the first one, actually, that went into this particular county. They had an issue where a lot of property owners would need to call in and would be asking people, “When’s my property tax due? How much do I owe? Do I have any additional fees that I have to add? What’s my total? Were my taxes paid last year?” We implemented for them a property tax information line where property owners could dial in and identify the property parcel number and receive the information; the taxes due, the taxes owed, information about when taxes needed to be paid by. It could request an additional property tax statement. That was able to handle a high-call volume for the Treasurer’s Department there.
Finally, the Animal Control Agency within the county was getting a lot of calls of people who had lost their pet or people who had found a pet and weren’t sure what to do with it, how to connect to the owner. What they decided to do was on each of the pet licenses they issue, pet licenses and the collars that the animals will wear, they have an 800 number and an ID number that identifies that particular pet. If you are a member of the public in the county and you find a pet who wanders into your yard and has one of these tags, you can dial the 800 number and enter the ID number, and be connected with, or provided information on that particular pet owner so that you can get that pet back to the owner without necessarily having to involve the Animal Control personnel there at the county.
Those are some good applications. Again, that actually uses a backend SQL server, Microsoft SQL server database, as well. We can see that there’s lots of different opportunities, lots of different capabilities that CEBP applications can help with so that the process is; how do we know that a CEBP application is going to be appropriate to help solve this particular problem? Identifying the business challenge or the organization challenge is the first step. Is there some kind of information that people within our customer base are interested in finding out about, and will call us on the phone about? Or that maybe we’re providing via the internet today, and we do have a base of customers who would also like to be able to access that information over the phone.
In the county’s scenario, we had a lot of people calling in to find the nearest polling location. We have that information in the database, that’s something we can automate. We can provide this service, not just when all agents are busy, but 24 hours a day when we don’t even have staff on place. Also informing the voters of the new mail voting process and verifying the voters’ signatures involved, before we put in Notify Express, a lot of manpower and a lot of people sitting in a call center dialing out and trying to connect with voters to give them this information. Identifying the business organization to challenge, deciding whether or not it’s something that lends itself to being automated. When you talk about being automated, it doesn’t have to necessarily be 100% of the cases. If you can handle 50%, 60%, 70%, or 80% of the calls and take that workload off of your call center staff, that can be a pretty big benefit, as well.
Moving on from the government vertical to the healthcare vertical; we’ll talk about an application that we have implemented there. The end user was a major hospital and emergency response organization. We see it was established in 1909, focused on emergency response, first aid, and community health. The UC Connect CEBP application that we put in place for this organization was a community health service employee attendance reporting and schedule review. This particular organization has a number of field workers that will go out and provide in-home service to their customers; health service, regular health service in the actual customer or patient’s home.
There were a couple of things that they wanted to automate. One was the employee schedule review. How do we get this schedule information, or provide an additional avenue for the employees to find out about their appointments that they had scheduled for the day? These particular employees don’t normally report to the office, they’re purely field workers. They need to get their schedule for the next couple of days in advance, when they’re supposed to be where, and information about those appointments. Then there was also an attendance reporting function. When the employee gets to the patient’s site, the organization needed to know that person actually did report to that appointment and how long they were there at that appointment. Essentially, they wanted them to check-in when they got there and check-out when they left. It was also to care of a bit of a fog problem that they had going on where they had some of these employees reporting that they were at visits at particular times, and in fact, they found out later that they weren’t.
You look at the process here; this is the automated reporting process. Number one here, the health service employee is deployed to a new in-home visit. What the employee will do is they will dial in to the application, enter their particular ID number, and they can get a listing of their appointments that are scheduled for the current day and the following day: The patient name, the time that they’re supposed to arrive, and the address. Then the employee will proceed to the patient’s home, and when they get there, the employee then dials into the application and indicates that they are starting a visit at a patient’s home, and the employee calls from the patient’s home phone number. The application can capture that and compare it against the known phone number for that particular patient, just to verify that the employee is in fact in the right place. We’ve got the phone number capturing, and they also enter an ID number and a PIN.
That’s Step 2, Step 3, and Step 4. We talked about calling a party number, and again, this is a backend Microsoft SQL server database. When the employee then leaves that particular appointment, they will dial in again, indicate that they’re done with that appointment, and again, we’re using the calling party number, the ANI, to make sure they’re still in the right place. All this information is logged into the backend SQL server, including the amount of time between when they arrived at the start of the visit, and when they left at the end of the visit. The attendance data is used to monitor key metrics and build management reports on the backend, as well as to limit the possibility for fraud on the in-home employee worker’s part.
Moving from the healthcare vertical to the education vertical; we had a particular medical department within a university that was running a healthcare program, where the patients who were enrolled in the program needed to do a couple of things. Report their daily results; this was a study that was going on, and continues to go on, where the participants need to report their daily results, and also come in for an occasional appointment with the medical center staff. This university wanted to automate both of these processes.
First, the one that is illustrated here is the appointment notification. This is a Notify Express application where at the beginning of each day, the university staff will provide a file of the day’s appointments, or actually, a few days in advance, provide a file of the Notify Express of the appointments, the patient’s telephone number, and the appointment day and time. Notify Express then will run through that file and call each of the patients and remind them that they have an appointment. We can see here that in Notify Express you can customize each call for each individual recipient, so we don’t have to just call and say, “You have an appointment coming up. If you don’t know when it is, call us.” In the data file that’s provided to Notify Express, we actually can provide information for each individual caller. In this case, the appointment time, obviously, is something that is very important to convey. It can also include things like the doctor name, or if there’s different clinics, which location the appointment is at. The other thing that we did for this university was implement an application where the participants actually would call in, enter their ID number, and provide information on their daily results. Kind of reporting information, which again, went into a backend database, that the medical center staff would be able to access to retrieve those results, run reports, and do analysis.
Hopefully, the touching on some of the different applications will get you thinking about some of the processes, the things that are possible, the things that can be done outbound with the Notify Express module, and some of the different capabilities with the UC connect API, which really lets us connect the outside caller to a backend database in a real managed way to provide access to information, and also to collect information.
Dick:Great. Thanks, Marty. A couple other examples that may jog some things in your mind as we talk about them here: The first is really to get down to some of the basic stuff of the system; this is down at that Level 1 from that slide we saw before, is speech-enabled auto-attendance. This allows callers, rather than having to navigate through pushing buttons; press 1 for this, 2 for this, 3 for this, this allows callers just to speak what they’re wanting and the destination that they want, the information that they’re trying to convey. Within the system itself, this is actually quite easy to do once you enable the speech licensing.
Quickly here, I’m going to pull up the system administration client of the CX platform. In a call processing structure here, as you can see, this is a standard automated attendance menu. If you know the extension of who you’d like to speak with dial it now. For dial by main directory, press 1, for department A, press 2, for department B press 3. Here’s launching one of the UC Connect applications such, as Marty was talking about; finding out upcoming events.
To speech enable this menu, you don’t have to go to a different interface, this is all fully integrated together. We simply add another column to this menu of the speech commands. Now, instead of just pushing 2 for registration, this would be a university possibly. Instead of saying, “For registration, press 2,” you could just speak “Registration” and be transferred to the registration department. Saying ‘operator’ and other terms that this is a place-holder for, you can have multiple speech commands for each of the words that you see here. For example, if we go to the grammar itself and take a look at that, we’ll look for the word ‘operator’ on here, and here it is. The caller could say ‘operator’, they could say ‘help’, they could say ‘zero’, or dial ‘zero’, or they could say ‘get me out of here’. Any of those words or phrases will trigger that command within that call processing application. As you can see, speech-enabling these applications can really make a significant difference, operationally, within your organization.
[inaudible: 33:10] College is a great example of that. They have had a DTMF call processing automated-attendant menu for many years. By speech-enabling that, it cut down their operator traffic by 30% or more, which is a significant reduction in traffic of people being able to get where they need to go quickly and easily without having to navigate through the DTMF menus. It really enhanced callers’ ability to get where they needed to go more easily, rather than hearing, “Press 1 for this, 2 for this.” People saying, “I’m not going to be bothered with that,” and they just dial 0 to go to the operator. Speech-enabling it took 30% of the people, allowed them to get where they needed to go much more quickly and easily than it had been before.
Using the web services API, this is something we talked briefly about earlier, but here’s an example of a company’s intranet, where they use it to disseminate information to their employees, talking about different events. Within this portal, notice that they have here’s our API to embed a number of buttons here to allow the users to just come in and click this button and be able to get access to their voice messages. Or doing a click to call for the company directory, rather than having to keep a directory in their desk drawer. We all know all those get lost so easily. They can just open up their intranet site, click this Directory button, type in the name of the person they are trying to reach and click a Call button, and that call will be automatically dialed for them, and they’ll be connected to that other people. All of that is done using this the Soap-based web services API that come standard with each system.
Then of course, administrator tasks; like resetting passwords, managing greetings, adjusting the find me/follow me availability settings. Any number of things like that can easily be added to these. This is an example of two things you can add; any number of other lines that you wanted. We have a web portal that users can utilize, called Web Phone Manager. Sometimes, we have some customers that don’t want to use a separate web portal; they want to focus everybody’s attention on their old web portal. We’ve had some universities that have done this and some other organizations. They use our APIs in order to embed the things they want to for users to utilize within their web portal, rather than having multiple web portals for all the different products and services that they have on the university, in this one case.
Then, Click to Call, it’s Salesforce.com. This is very widely used CRM, customer relations management software package. We utilize it here at ABST, and there’s many other businesses and organizations that utilize Salesforce.com. Using the API’s that are available from Salesforce.com, along with our web services of API, again, gives you the ability to embed a Click to Car button, so that where you bring up a customer record next to the telephone numbers that are associated with that customer is a Click to Call button. You click that button and the CX platform initiates that call for you, and connects you to that person that’s being dialed; again, making it much easier for people that are trying to keep in contact to be able to do that very easily.
In addition, in Microsoft Outlook and also in Lotus Notes, for those unified messaging users, we have Click the Call embedded in there. We’ve been doing Click to Call within the email applications for many, many years, probably a decade or more. Again, finding somebody in your personal contacts, highlighting them, clicking the Click to Call button that we have within there to allow that to be automatically dialed for the particular person.
With the UC Connect module, if you add the UC Connect module within the system, we provided a sample application, and this is new with version 8.2 and above. That comes standard with the system, but it’s not just a sample application like a guessing game. It really is a very useful sample application that you can actually use in a production version as well, for no additional cost, other than the UC Connect module itself. It allows callers, either through Caller ID that has come in, telephone members, account members, or ZIP codes that are entered by the caller themselves, to allow the custom routing of callers, based on that information. For example, say you have a call center that has 3 or 4 different groups handling different regions of the country and you need to find some way to be able to route callers that are already in the [inaudible: 38:44], to route callers, based on where they’re calling from to a particular group. This application, without any additional development, just programming the tables in the application itself allows you to deliver that type of solution for that call center themselves.
We talked about a number of different applications. Marty’s talked about a number of different real-world applications that have been developed for customers. The ones that Marty talked about are not the only ones that we’ve done. We’ve done many, many, many applications for customers that are implemented and utilized today. We’ve developed a whitepaper that’s available on ABST.com, that highlights over 45 real- world implementation examples in a number of different vertical markets. Whether it’s healthcare, state or local government, financial, shows some sample applications that have been done and are being used today by ABST customers. Oftentimes, looking at what other organizations have done can trigger ideas; maybe not to this exact application but for a variation of the application, or just some aspect of that application triggers an entirely different application that might work in your particular environment. That’s a real good tool for you to take a look at and just to get some ideas of ways, that again, you can extend the functions of your ABST platform to provide some really valuable solutions for your enterprise.
Without a doubt, streamlining and making more accessible business processes and optimizing them for use not only by employees of an organization but their customers, the people that they have interaction with is a very high priority for many enterprises these days. The ability to deliver those solutions has been one of the strengths of ABST for many, many years; over 20 years now. We’ve been around for 30, and our parts have been around for 30, but we’ve had these types of applications being able to be delivered to the marketplace for well over 20 years now. It really allows you to really customize the system and make it do the kinds of things you need it to do.
We’d like to open it up for questions now. Emily, do we have any questions in, so far?
Emily:We do have questions.
Emily:The first question, and I guess either you or Marty can just jump in. I guess I’ll let you take the question first, and if want Marty to jump in, let him know. First question is: When ABST develops an application for a specific client, who owns the application? Is it ABST or the customer?
Dick:That would be a good Marty question.
Marty:It could be either. The customer can choose to purchase and own the source code, or ABST can retain ownership and maintenance of that for the customer.
Marty:It’s either, if the customer has . . . we’ve done applications in both fashions. If the customer has internal programmers, internal IT resources, and wants to be able to provide changes, updates, and things themselves, then they’re able to do that. If they’re not comfortable doing that and want us to manage it for them, we can do that, as well.
Emily:Great. The next question is: Would custom development also include applications for an iPhone or any mobile applications, or is it specifically audio?
Marty:The answer today is, no, nothing specific for iPhones or mobile devices today. We do have a mobile client that provides some functionality for the unified messaging and such. The applications that we can provide help with today are the CEBP applications, where people are calling in over the phone or automating some administrative tasks with the web services API, as far as creating mailboxes, changing mailboxes, and other system configuration types of applications.
Emily:OK. Thank you. The next question is a pricing question. I know that we run quotes and don’t really talk about pricing openly, so we can get back to you with that. They are wondering if there’s a specific price for the speech enablement or is that included?
Dick:The speech enablement is on the basic system, those Level 1 type applications where speech-enabling the automated attendance. We can speech-enable access to the applications themselves. Today, the UC Connect is a DTMF interface. We’re in the process of adding speech to that, and you’ll probably see that coming in a future release. Today, the speech would be for the call processing-type applications, the launching or calling up of one of the UC Connect applications. Once the UC Connect application is launched, though, the interface would switch from speech to DTMF. It’s really not as jarring as it may sound, to do that type of a switch. As you develop the application, you just take that into mind. I know Marty is well aware of those types of things. There is licensing on the system. There is speech-enablement of the system. It’s not a standard feature, there is some licensing involved in that.
Emily:OK. Great. Thank you for that. The next question is a Click to Call question: For the web services, can the person use the Click to Call? Can the Call be placed by their desk set, or does it need a [inaudible: 45:43] phone?
Dick:The type of device that is utilized, what type of telephone, whether it’s a hard phone, a soft phone, or even your mobile device, quite frankly. The type of device that is utilized is really transparent to us. We can call out. What happens when you do a Click to Call is the system initiates a call to your device first. Once you answer that device, it then patches you through and connects you to the telephone number that you want to dial.
We can really, depending on how you develop the application, really will control what type of devices are utilized for that. Whether it’s, again, a hard phone sitting on your desk, an IT phone sitting on your desk, a soft phone on your PC, your mobile device, your home phone, whatever is the appropriate device to use can be allowed in that. Since it’s a custom application, we’re not restricted to just the [inaudible: 46:50] phone, or an IP phone, or a soft phone.
Emily:Great. Thank you. The next question: Does ABST have an integral IVR for the dynamic call routing, or is frontend IVR necessary?
Dick:The dynamic call routing, and I believe what you’re talking about is this application right here. The application has been developed and is included with each system that goes out the door, as one of the sample applications. We have about 7 or 8 sample applications that come with the system. You get those when you license the system for the UC Connect modules. It does require that the system be licensed for the UC Connect module. Once you license it for that, you get a series of sample applications. Some of them are just kind of showing the function and the call flow-type, the programmatic flow of the application. To get one’s a guessing game. This is a sample application that does have the practical use of being able to be used in production within the system itself.
Marty:If I can add something there.
Marty:The UC Connect applications can be initiated at any point within a series of CX system menus. You can have your main auto-attendant that asks you “Enter an extension. For the operator, press 0. If you want to speak to sales, press 5.” At that point, you could initiate the dynamic call routing application to do the call routing to the particular sales department; the east region, the west region. It’s running on the CX platform, and it really can be placed at any point within an auto-attendant or menu structure that makes sense for the particular organization.
Emily:OK. Great. The next question, somebody’s looking for our whitepaper that we mentioned. I’ll go ahead and email everyone the slide deck, as well as the whitepaper that we have on the business process case studies.
Dick:You’re pretty nice Emily.
Emily:Next question is: What is the process for Marty to gather the information necessary to develop an application?
Marty:Starting from the beginning, if the request is coming from a customer or a prospective customer, it would go through an ABST reseller, through our sales organization. Then once the opportunity is identified, I would become involved in discussing with the reseller and the end user; what the requirements are, what the data environment is, in an effort to gather enough information to put together a budgetary quote, which then would go back to the reseller. If that’s acceptable to all parties, we’d move forward with a more formal quote and go ahead and get the project scheduled and completed.
Emily:Perfect. Next question is: How are upgrades to the most current software release handled, especially if new features are offered in the latest release? That’s a good question.
Dick:Yes, it’s a great question. Any system that is covered under our software maintenance program called Express Care, which most of our dealers, if you’re covered . . . CX Call Express platform is covered under a maintenance contract with your supporting dealer; most often those include our Express Care software maintenance within them. As long as you’re covered under Express Care, at no additional cost, you get those software updates as they become available.
If you’re hearing something now that is of interest to you, yet you’re not at the current version, which is version 8.2, you can certainly contact your dealer and they can arrange to get that ordered for you and get it installed for you, get your system upgraded to the latest release. You get all the new standard features and any optional features that you might want to add to your system at that point.
Emily:Great. Next question is: What type of integrated reporting capability is available to help with call flow and time of day volume?
Dick:There’s some standard recording, if you’re just talking about the standard automated attendant menus and functions, there is reporting within the CX platform itself that allows, for example, the automated attendant usage report. That shows each call processing menu and how many times Button 1 was pushed versus Button 2 versus Button 3, for example. There’s reporting within the system itself. [inaudible: 25:47] some applications [inaudible: 52:44] connect-type applications. That really is based on what type of reporting you require. One of the things that Marty does or any developer that’s used . . . or the internal developer, would want to know what type of reporting do you need? What type of information do you need? That would be incorporated into the development of the application itself. To be able to pull that information out, format it as a report, and get it available to you.
Marty:One of the other things that we often do with the application is, and as Dick mentioned, identifying what information is important to capture? Especially in the case where we’re dealing with a backend database server, the UC Connect application, or web services application for that matter, can be responsible for collecting all of that information and putting it in a backend database table. Then it’s there for, again, if you have internal resources that are familiar with writing reports, potentially using Microsoft Access or Crystal Reports, you can create and tweak your own reports based on that data. The most important thing in designing and building the application is making sure all that data for the various different metrics is actually captured.
I would also mention that with the Notify Express module, there’s a quite extensive report suite that can generate lots of different reports on the outbound calling activity by day, by hour, what the call results were, whether the answering machine answered.
Emily:OK. Perfect. Next question: Is there any info available on the portal for sample/bundled apps which come with UC Connect?
Dick:With the UC Connect module, the sample app that we talked about with the call flow, that is this dynamic call routing. The other applications that are on there are really designed to show you how to utilize our APIs within an application or programming flow. They’re really not useful for necessarily being production-type applications in the same manner that the dynamic call routing application is. I’m not sure if there’s information about that on there.
Marty:If I could interrupt briefly. There’s 2 advanced sample applications; the dynamic call writing being the most useful. There’s another one that can provide information about a particular telephone call. It’s useful for technicians in identifying integration-related stuff. There are documents; we do have documents on both of those, reference guides, in effect. They’re on their CX series DVD. I don’t know if they’re up on the Partner Express website. I assume they are somewhere up there.
Dick:Yes. Those would be documents that would be more for the application, the supporting people themselves, as opposed to being out on the public website. They’re not on ABST.com. I’m not sure if there’s a document up there or not. We’ll look around, and if there is, we’ll get it to Emily and she can get it forwarded out to everybody.
Emily:Yes, we’ll definitely follow-up with that, as well. That was actually the last question. I want to go ahead, and again, thank you everyone for joining us. As well, we always like your participation and feedback; we really appreciate that. Marty, if you want to have anything to add, and then, Dick, I’ll let you close out.
Marty:What I typically add is that the CX platform is truly a multi-application platform. The great thing about UC Connect and the CEBP applications that can be implemented there is that they can be implemented within the call processing environment that is also handling the automated attendant, voicemail and call routing.
Being able to take these things as opposed to having to have a separate IVR system to handle the order status request, and then transfer them back to the voicemail. Being able to have all of them on the same platform, I think, provides a more integrated experience for the customers who are calling in. I usually like to try to point that out. Again, thanks very much everybody for your time today.
Dick:Thanks very much everybody. Have a great day.