Siemens Courts the Enterprise
Siemens Communications has announced HiPath ProCenter Enterprise Version 7.0, an IP-ready contact center product designed to boost first-contact resolution, productivity, and customer satisfaction for midsize and large contact centers. The latest installment to Siemens' HiPath portfolio, set for general availability in May 2006, also includes prebuilt integrations with front-office CRM apps from Microsoft, SAP, and Siebel Systems.
The more preintegrations contact center vendors have under their belts, the better they'll fare in the marketplace, according to Ken Landoline, senior analyst in Yankee Group's Customer-Centric Strategies Decision Service. "One of the deterrents to putting new applications in the contact center is the high cost and frustration level with integration with legacy equipment and services," he says. "So any vendor in the contact center space that preintegrates with leading CRM applications and other applications that work in the contact center certainly is better off."
Continuing with its efforts in presence management, Siemens' HiPath ProCenter Enterprise tool looks to enhance the efficiencies of various touch points including voice, email, and live Web interactions with Siemens' presence and collaboration tools, according to the company. The solution's Team List and Team Bar features provide agents with access to real-time presence and availability status of other agents, managers, and subject matter experts within and beyond the contact center, across a variety of channels. "If agents can reach out and touch someone in the enterprise then they're able to drive that first-contact resolution," says Al Baker, vice president, Enterprise Division.
Landoline sees presence as a strong angle, especially for enhancing first-contact resolution rates, but does not believe it has the ability to sell on its own. "It's obviously going to be a great additive to a very strong contact center suite, but I don't see the marketplace going out there and acquiring presence applications for their standalone capabilities. Going forward presence will be perceived more as a very good feature in a contact center suite."
The solution includes central, distributed, or networked multisite contact center support, and allows enterprises to work with traditional, converged, or pure IP infrastructures, according to Siemens. Additional capabilities include enhanced functionality to HiPath ProCenter Design Center, a visual, workflow-style desktop productivity tool, and modular options that allow for flexibility and scalability.
The release also delivers Siemens HiPath 8000 IP telephony platform integration for SIP contact centers, and with the combined solutions, Siemens is scalable for multiple business units including more than 2,000 contact center agents. An upgrade path is also provided for businesses growing from HiPath ProCenter Agile, a product that caters to SMB contact centers.
"Siemens focused on the lower end of the market when they introduced their Agile product and my perception was that the medium-to-large centers would be the ones that would be acquiring this fairly sophisticated contact center package," Landoline says. "I was [somewhat] surprised they initially focused on the lower end and started moving up as opposed to coming into medium-large and moving down. They're moving in the right direction with the emphasis on the Enterprise package for medium-to-large contact centers." He adds, however, "Where Siemens comes from a position of strength on a global basis, they probably need to concentrate on enhancing their North American posture in the marketplace."
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