• June 22, 2012
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Aspect Launches Next-Generation Customer Contact with Aspect Applications Foundation

Aspect, a provider of customer contact, enterprise workforce optimization, and Microsoft platform solutions, yesterday unveiled Aspect Applications Foundation, a development platform that brings together its multichannel interaction management and workforce optimization software with Microsoft SharePoint, Lync, and Dynamics CRM.

These Microsoft business applications are already in use at more than 70 percent of businesses, according to Mike Sheridan, executive vice president at Aspect.

"Companies do not have to rip out [existing systems] and buy anything new," he says. "They already have many of these applications in place, and we're building on top of that."

Part of the goal of the offering is to scale back the number of applications and screens that agents have to navigate during their work days. "We can reduce those screens to a single panel," Sheridan says.

"Providing great customer service is more complex than ever, and now encompasses front- and back-office resources, social media engagement, proactive outreach efforts, and self-service experiences," said Jim Foy, CEO of the Aspect Interaction Management Division, in a statement. "The combination of interaction management, unified communications and workforce optimization solutions, popular enterprise technologies, and the expertise to make it all work together is what's needed to meet the interaction demands of today's consumer."

Capabilities of the Aspect Applications Foundation include the following:

  • Enterprise Collaboration - provides internal collaboration and knowledge sharing within the contact center as a well as between the contact center and the broader enterprise through email, knowledge base, visibility into task assignment and status, internal discussion boards, and announcements.
  • Social Enablement - equips the contact center to use discussion boards, instant messaging, chat, and social networks and provide context, interaction history, and guidance.
  • Advanced Analytics - provides actionable intelligence from all relevant analytical areas to executives, managers, supervisors, agents, and knowledge workers, and provides intelligence to the systems that are driving business processes.
  • Workforce Accelerators - create a streamlined, intuitive agent interface that reduces handle times, improves efficiencies, provides context for customer issues, and facilitates communication between agents, their supervisors, and enterprise experts. 
  • Optimization & Automation - facilitates integration and automation of customer-facing processes in the front and back offices and integrates with third-party systems such as HR, payroll, and CRM.

Sheridan calls the Applications Foundation "an evolution for customer service." With it, users can better collaborate, interact with customers over Web and social channels, and extend processes out from the contact center, he says.

"SharePoint is driving thousands of Web sites around the world, driving workflows and fast search capabilities," Sheridan says. "We're taking all the finer points of SharePoint and combining them with our contact center applications."

This is not the first time that Aspect has partnered with Microsoft. The company formed an alliance with Microsoft about five years ago to advance its unified communications offerings. "And we continue to do very well with that partnership," Sheridan says.


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