Siemens Communications Looks to Break Down Silos

With ever-increasing customer demands for improved service and mandates from the boardroom to keep down costs and streamline processes, large enterprises with multiple business units and separate contact centers are feeling the pinch. Looking to alleviate these concerns, Boca Raton, Fla.-based enterprise solutions provider Siemens Communications unleashed its latest version of OpenScape Contact Center (OSCC), available with multi-tenancy licensing.

Ross Sedgewick, director of global marketing for large enterprises at Siemens Communications, explains that many of his company's larger customers would have to set up individual contact centers for each of its business units, even with a private branch exchange (PBX) switch and separate server for each of their discrete operations.

He gives three different typical scenarios for these siloed implementations. First, particularly in the financial services industry, it was a regulatory necessity to maintain separate databases and administrative access. Second, compliances including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the healthcare space require specific privacy provisions and regulations. Sedgewick concludes by explaining that there are multiple business entities-including customer service, direct marketing response, and internal information technology help desks-that have a need to maintain separate databases, reporting, routing, administration, and security.

While necessary, it was a pain point for many organizations. "Our customers would have to go through separate installations of a contact center solution which was more complex to manage and expensive to own over time," Sedgewick recalls. "Now we can deploy once in one centralized data center ... and be able to service multiple business unit entities from one installation."

Joe Outlaw, a principal analyst in the contact center space for San Antonio, Tex.-based research firm Frost & Sullivan, explains that while multi-tenancy licensing is not a new innovation, it is an important one for the company to drive home its value proposition. "This allows you to partition off the contact center application in a way that there's no compromise to data and the people can have what looks to be their own system in the midst of a [centralized] one," he says. "That's a way to have economies of scale that the service providers often find important."

Other features in the latest version of OSCC include:

  • bolstered scalability with up to 1,500 active agents supported by a single server;
  • support for multiple time zones;
  • a manager desktop providing business-level permissions and system access; and
  • enhanced security, including a new permissions hierarchy aimed at a more secure way to grant this to administrators without also giving access to routing, reporting, and monitoring views of other business entities.

Sedgewick stresses this release opens up a new market for the company-namely outsourcers and service providers. "This type of solution is excellent for them to partition and manage one common system and scale up to manage multiple client operations on one solution," he says.

Outlaw echoes Sedgewick's sentiments, explaining that it shows a shift in strategy. "Siemens' contact center business historically targeted midsized to some large companies, not service providers," he says. "Also, ease of use hasn't been a priority in the past, but the company sees it as important as it enters the enterprise market. If you look at OpenScape, a lot of effort was taken to redesign the application to make it easy to use ... and that carries through."

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