Aspect to Launch Contact Center Applications Using Microsoft Lync
Unified communications (UC) and collaboration services and software provider Aspect announced it would be delivering a software-based product for small to medium size business (SMB) contact center applications using Microsoft Lync as its media server. The product is designed to be a value-priced option for IT Help Desks, virtual sales teams, corporate departments, branch offices and SMB contact centers looking to leverage their UC strategies. The product will include core contact center capabilities, as well as key UC functionality, including delivering voice over IP (VoIP) functionality.
The product, scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of 2011, will support from 20 to 100 agents and supervisors. Among the contact center capabilities it will provide include voice, inbound voice and email routing, instant messaging (IM), real-time and historical reporting, a unified agent desktop, manual dialing and voice self service capabilities on a single server. The product will also include out-of-the-box workflows. Lync will deliver the media server and PBX functionality. Microsoft-certified IT professionals can install the solution, with remote support from Aspect Professional Services.
"This announcement reinforces the value the Aspect/Microsoft relationship, in place since March 2008, brings to existing and potential Lync users," said Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics. "The Aspect product will not 'work' or 'integrate' with Lync, but actually uses Lync as its media server. It also offers SMB customers a product built on Aspect's long-standing expertise in the contact center space."
The product will also provide a seamless integration to Aspect Workforce Management to help enable forecasting, scheduling, and tracking capabilities and Aspect Performance Management for scorecards and analysis that can automatically initiate alerts and actions. Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Lync and Speech Group at Microsoft, said their customers have been asking for an easy to implement and manage solution for smaller contact centers and help desks that will enable them to use the same telephony infrastructure that is being used in the enterprise.
"We believe this product will deliver significant benefits to organizations by providing proven technology that is derived from Aspect's best-of-breed solutions and years of customer contact leadership, delivered as a turnkey offering," said Gary Barnett, chief technology officer at Aspect. "The product will provide an optimal blend of unified communications capabilities and key contact center features for low cost, in a small footprint. Importantly, it provides a natural first step for integrating either the internal or external contact center to the organization's unified communications infrastructure, allowing the business to capitalize on the enterprise-wide benefits that UC can bring to the customer and the company."