Siemens announced a software-based contact centre product Monday that is designed to work with any call centre switching platform.
The OpenScape Contact Center, which serves about 60 contact centre agents, costs about US$177,500, said Al Baker, vice president of global customer relations management products at Siemens Communications, a subsidiary of Munich, Germany-based Siemens AG. The contact centre product runs on the OpenScape Unified Communications Server, which is designed to unify voice, video and other communications systems.
A smaller system for 10 agents starts with a price of $42,500. The system scales to 7,500 active agents.
Part of the Siemens approach is to use Session Initiation Protocol to support each agent, enabling the agent to work in any location, including a home, equipped with just a headset and desktop, Baker said.
Siemens also announced an IP-based Voice Portal application to complement the Unified Communications Server, giving customers self-service options when they call a contact centre. Both products ship globally 30 June, Baker said.
A London-based company that outsources call centre functions with 500 agents has begun using the Siemens software for five European locations, according to a company official who asked not to be named, citing company policies. The principal benefit has been that the company can virtualise its contact centres across the globe, so that all act as a single system. That way, calls can be easily shifted from one contact centre to another, to find the most qualified agent.
The company considered systems from Nortel Networks, Avaya and Cisco Systems, but found the Siemens software would easily upgrade a legacy Siemens system already in place and would provide richer call distribution capabilities, the official said.
The overall cost of the Siemens software was about $1.7 million (£853,806) to the company, but has already provided greater productivity, the official said. He added that another two or more call centres will be added to the system in coming months, and that customers who want to outsource call centre functions to the company will be able to use their own agents on their own premises while using the Siemens software.