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CTI middleware, CRM applications dominate (摘自《环球资讯》

时间:2006-06-15
CTI middleware, CRM applications dominate (摘自《环球资讯》英文版)
  

<Global Sources>

Features and functions supported expanding to deliver enhanced call center services

The call center industries in mainland China and Taiwan started to take off in 2003, as enterprise-level call center markets began to flourish. The market growth was further secured by the entry of more small- to large-scale enterprises from different industries that established their own call centers or engaged the services of call center service providers.

Within only two years, the number of call center agents in mainland China has exceeded 216,000, and the call center market scale has reached a staggering value of $3.2 billion. Within the industry emerged a complete supply chain that included technology and device providers, system integrators (SI), subcontract call center operators, call center constructing and operation management consultation service providers, and call center agent training providers.

Initially, call center software from mainland China has been patterned after the technologies employed by established international suppliers from North America, Japan and South Korea. Suppliers from mainland China now have the capability to provide call center software such as computer telephony integration (CTI) middleware, unified call center platform solution, application software, workforce management software, and call center quality monitoring and management software. Most of these call center software suppliers are located in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong.

In Taiwan, less than 10 suppliers can provide integrated call center software. Most of them provide basic and customized call center software. Almost all Taiwan suppliers are optimistic about the integration of Skype into call center technology. Aside from Skype, makers in Taiwan are also exploring product development avenues pertaining to voice mail capacity, fax applications and multimedia functions.

CTI middleware dominates the mainstream

CTI technology is the core technology for modernized call centers in mainland China. In the CTI middleware segment, Genesys is the leading brand. Competing products from local mainland China makers come from Beijing Infobird Software Co. Ltd, Beijing Synroute Information Technology Co. Ltd and Channelsoft (Beijing) Technology Co. Ltd.

A CTI middleware provides a software bridge between the various computers and telephone systems in call center environments. It supports various applications, including screen pop, coordinated call-data transfer between agents and interactive voice response (IVR) integration, which transfers caller-entered IVR information to the agent desktop PCs.

Infobird is one of the leading CTI middleware suppliers in mainland China. Infobird's CTI middleware consists of IVR systems, agent call control systems, intelligent routing systems, dual hot standby systems, outbound dialing systems, realtime monitoring and management systems, fax systems, multimedia unified message systems, telephone recording systems, Web call systems and report systems. Its CTI middleware have been widely used in the telecom, e-business, hospital, electrical, financial, tobacco, transportation, manufacturing, postal, tax and education sectors.

Infobird's CTI middleware can run on multiple OS, including Windows and Linux. It is designed for high reliability and expandability, supporting a good quantity of calls in a single site. The CTI middleware is based on distributed infrastructure and is composed of different modules. It adopts multiple-agent technology and queuing machine bus-based design. It likewise supports multiplechannel inbound modes such as ordinary, IP, e-mail, SMS and Web calls. The CTI middleware works not only in the PBX-based call centers with machines from Avaya, Alcatel, Nortel and Siemens, but also in voice card-based call centers.

Synroute is also a leading CTI middleware supplier in mainland China. The company's CTI middleware, the Hi-Link, is constructed under the soft switch mode. It provides communication interface gateways to connect mainstream PBXs and ample business interface gateways, including CT Connect Application Programming Interface (CTC API), Genesys AgentOCX, Web business framework, and call statistics database to support business application software development. The Hi-Link integrates auto call distribution (ACD), IVR, agent resource management, predictive dialing management, call statistics analysis, agent quality management, business analysis platform, workflow platform, dual hot standby and distributed interlinkage functions. The Hi-Link also supports unified access, routing, processing, monitoring and statistical analysis of multiple-channel access modes such as phone calls, SMS, e-mails, chat, voice mails and navigation browsing.

CRM software for enterprise and government use

Beijing HOLLYCRM Software Co. Ltd is one of the top client relation management (CRM) software and call center software suppliers in mainland China. The company's HollyC6, which is a composite call center solution targeting the enterprise and government markets, is claimed to be a seamless convergence of advanced CRM technologies.

The HollyC6 is designed to lower overall project cost, at the same time shorten the call center construction period. It provides choices for call center platform and flexible network configuration modes from large- to small-scale call center platforms, from single-site construction to distributed network configurations, and from traditional phone access modes to multimedia access modes.

The HollyC6 supports various hardware platforms and can implement smooth system upgrades. It is composed of self-developed, core component software, which include the HollyIVR IVR system, HollyContact CTI middleware, HollyDialer outbound telephone sales system, HollyFAX fax self-assistant service system, HollyKM knowledge management system, HollyFlow workflow engine product and HollyC&C call center and CRM application software.

HOLLYCRM also provides 'one-stand call center service' to its clients. It provides full services from presale consultation, project implementation, aftersales technical support to system operation management consultation.

Call center management software has recording functions

Shenzhen Callray Communications Co. Ltd is considered mainland China's first call center quality management system developer that adopts client/server and browser/ server structures. The company provides a range of call center quality management solutions, comprising recording, listening, QC assessment, screen capture and operator online training.

Callray's TelRec telephone recording management system software is designed for enterprise customers. It integrates recording, query, playback, speech extraction and conversion, data storage, alarm, system monitoring management, statistics, analysis, report form and authorization management. The TelRec can improve a telephone agent's service level, monitor the enterprise's service quality, and provide accurate supporting evidence in the event a customer complains.

Callray's AP Suite call center quality management software features multiple recording, monitoring, playing, inquiring and statistical statement functions. Its agent quality (AQ) interactive platform is a quality control call center platform based on recording system and integrated quality testing, screen capture, assessment and training.

Skype application in call center devices forthcoming

Taiwan makers are optimistic about the possible application of Skype in call center devices. DaKing's VoSKY call center is a hardware with a built-in call center software. It supports both Skype and regular phone calls, and comes equipped with USB 1.1/2.0 and RJ-11 ports. The model can also support HID and caller ID functions.

In general, there is no standard type of call center software in Taiwan. Taiwan-based suppliers develop different types of call center software based on the needs of their individual buyers. Many PBX and auto attendant suppliers in Taiwan can develop basic call center software, for building into their PBXs and auto attendants, to enable the latter to support call signaling, call control, voice processing and management of all endpoints such as voice gateways and IP phones.

According to the contacted companies, low-end call center software is mainly sold for embedding into VoIP products such as IP PBXs or auto attendants. High-end call center software is developed for customized projects.

Uniphone Telecommunication Co. Ltd, for instance, offers both basic and customized call center software. The company's basic call center software, the SBC, supports PC base operation, PBX situation monitoring, call history recording, phone book and tools. The SBC's optional functions include billing, auto dial, and hotel features such as check-in, check-out, service and alarm. The company offers aftersales technical support.

Infotrends Information Integration Co. Ltd, a software design company, develops call center software, Web center software, and CRM and CTI systems. It also provides compatible hardware solutions such as switches. Infotrends' call center software, the InfoCenter, provides fax agent functions. The agent console can save up to 20s per call. It uses Microsoft.NET's Web service for platform development.

For its ACD functions, the InfoCenter offers agent queues, ACD group queues, overflow ACD group queues, and music or announcements for use while calls are on hold. The InfoCenter has a built-in agent observing function, agent monitoring on supervisor administration console, and realtime call scripts and parameter updating features.

Infotrends' InfoCenter can provide related reports such as agent performance, agent performance trends by queue, average waiting time and call volume by time of day, call volume by identified caller ID, and cumulative call and average talk time by agent. It also supports related reports on abandoned calls, inbound call outcome trends, outbound call trends, queue time comparison and customer campaign reporting.

Small export markets, varying prices

Call center software suppliers from mainland China and Taiwan are primarily focused on their respective domestic markets. In mainland China, large software companies can deploy their software in more than 500 call center agent positions every year. This number can climb to more than 2,000 for leading software suppliers on the mainland.

Infobird in mainland China sells its call center software through its own network sales and direct marketing. It also participates in call center projects. The company's sales in 2005 totaled $1.25 million. In 2006, it anticipates an increase of between 10 percent and 20 percent in sales. It has already expanded its market base to include clients in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. Infobird expects to enter the Europe and Japan markets soon.

HollyCRM's software is customizable to the different demands of call center construction. The company's clients include telecom operators, financial and manufacturing industries, and other large and medium-sized enterprises.

Callray serves clients from the banking, telecom, insurance, airline and automobile industries. Lenovo, one of mainland China's largest IT companies, adopts Callray's call center quality management system. Callray has deployed more than 10,000 recording system lines. It has started penetrating the Southeast Asian market.

Fifty percent of the call center software manufactured by the interviewed Taiwan suppliers in this report is allotted for the domestic market. About 80 percent of Infotrends' call center software is offered to domestic buyers, and the rest is sold to buyers in mainland China. About 40 percent of the company's CRM software is sold to domestic buyers, and the remaining 60 percent is shipped to the mainland.

Seventy percent of DaKing's buyers are also based in Taiwan. The company projected that the sales volume of its VoSKY call center hardware will reach 120 units in 2006, and 240 units in 2007.

In mainland China, call center software prices vary according to buyers' demand, project specifications and industry application. CTI middleware software from the mainland are usually licensed and come with aftersales support.

In Taiwan, functions and user capacity dictate the prices of call center software. Infotrends' installment fees for call center software for about 20 to 30 users is $31,250, and the same software for 30 to 50 users may range from $125,000 to $156,250, depending on the required functions. The price of DaKing's VoSKY call center hardware is about $81.25 to $93.75 each. Uniphone offers basic call center software at $300 to $400.

Taiwan makers expect stable software prices in H1 2007.