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Aspect Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: ASPT), a leading provider of enterprise customer contact solutions, and SER Solutions Inc., a leading provider of outbound contact centre solutions, have announced an agreement for Aspect to market and sell SER’s outbound solution, Call Processing System (CPS) and automated quality assurance products, SERTAINTY and SERTIFY.


Additionally, Aspect and SER will embark on a phased development effort to integrate SER’s outbound contact centre solution into the Aspect Enterprise Contact Server. The initial integration will deliver consolidated inbound and outbound reports on agent productivity and contact centre operations.


The SER Strategic Convergence™ with Aspect is designed to bring together leading outbound and enterprise-class customer contact centre technologies to deliver a unified solution that addresses the problems associated with having separate outbound and inbound systems and a market need for tightly integrated contact centre architectures. In addition to the outbound and reporting solutions, the quality assurance solution lets users build on existing call recording investments by applying advanced speech recognition technology to all of the recorded interactions and analysing them for key indicators such as script adherence and language usage. Users can regularly tune their agent performance and customer interaction methods in order to increase satisfaction and retention.


According to industry expert Art Schoeller, senior analyst of The Yankee Group, "Yankee Group research indicates that 2004 is the year when aging Y2K contact centre equipment, the transition to VoIP and the need for tightly integrated architectures will drive contact centre managers towards integrated suites like Aspect’s Uniphi architecture. Adding in world-class outbound dialing from SER while integrating workforce management will allow enterprises to implement applications such as proactive outbound customer contact. In addition, tightly integrated quality assurance will help contact centre managers optimise how they execute this function."


“The Aspect/SER agreement further supports our Uniphi architecture and vision of a product suite for the contact centre that is much more than the sum of its parts,” said Paul Farrell, Aspect’s chief customer strategy officer. “With SER’s products, we will offer a streamlined and effective blended inbound/outbound environment, as well as the requisite tools to enable our customers to comply with the latest FCC and FTC regulations.”


"Having a complete and integrated contact centre portfolio is essential to being a best-of-breed vendor," said Bern Elliot, research director at Gartner Inc. "Outbound dialing and comprehensive reporting are critical components for a portfolio."


Aspect solutions unify the contact centre and the enterprise by integrating the applications that drive customer communications, customer and contact centre information, and workforce productivity. For nearly two decades, Aspect has been developing contact centre solutions in response to the business needs of large corporations in major industries around the world.


“We are delighted to be joining forces with such a renowned enterprise contact centre solutions provider. The Strategic Convergence underscores both companies’ shared vision to sustain and expand our leadership positions and remain focused on our core competencies while helping customers maximise their investments in existing technology,” said Carl E. Mergele, chief executive officer of SER Solutions Inc.


Over the last 15 years, SER Solutions, formerly EIS International, has garnered worldwide recognition. Launched in 1989, the CPS outbound call management system is widely used globally, serving 8 of the top 10 teleservices companies in the United States. In 2003, SER was named by the META Group as "best-of-breed outbound dialing vendor" with the "best pacing algorithm in the industry.”


While it is common for multi-channel contact management systems to provide reports on inbound contacts across all channels, they fall short in an environment that includes a dedicated outbound system since most centres have no single source of data to provide a holistic view of the contact centre. Without a mechanism to combine inbound and outbound calling data, it is difficult to derive the type of business intelligence that comes from having complete, consistent information about all customer contacts and transactions, no matter what the channel or direction of the contact.


Since consolidated reporting is critically important to contact centres that support both inbound and outbound calls, Aspect and SER have chosen to address this first. In the future, by tightly integrating CPS with Aspect’s Enterprise Contact Server and eWorkforce Management software, contact centres will have an unparalleled system for managing agents and contacts across all channels throughout the enterprise.


The Aspect/SER combination demonstrates Aspect’s commitment to unifying contact centres by integrating commercially available, proven solutions that also leverage any previously made investments of contact centres in Aspect technology.


About Aspect Enterprise Contact Server


The award-winning Aspect Enterprise Contact Server offers customers advanced routing for managing multi-site, multi-channel contact centres. Aspect ECS unifies voice, VoIP, e-mail and chat into a single, centrally managed universal queue and offers complete control over the routing of each type of contact. Business managers can set priorities, shift agent groups from one contact channel to another or train individual agents to move from one channel to another as contact volumes and business rules dictate.


About Aspect's Uniphi Architecture


Aspect’s Uniphi architecture is designed to “unify” the contact centre and the enterprise by integrating the applications that drive customer communications, contact centre and customer information, and workforce productivity—resulting in better insight to business and customer activity. The Uniphi architecture extends Aspect’s vision of delivering proven, multi-product solutions, whether PSTN, IP hybrid or pure VoIP, while still lowering total cost of ownership and protecting contact centre investments as new technologies and standards emerge.


About Aspect Communications


Aspect Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: ASPT) is the world’s largest company focused exclusively on contact centre solutions, and the only one that unifies workforce, information and communications to deliver exceptional customer service. The Aspect brand is trusted by more than 75 percent of the Fortune 50, and more than 3 million customer sales and service professionals worldwide rely on Aspect’s mission-critical business communications solutions. The company’s leadership is based on 18 years of expertise gained from more than 8,000 successful implementations worldwide. Aspect is headquartered in San Jose, California, with 24 offices in 11 countries around the world as well as an extensive global network of systems integrators, independent software vendors and distribution partners. Aspect's UK offices are in Stockley Park, Uxbridge, Middlesex and can be reached on 0800 ASPECT (i.e. 0800 277328).


About SER Solutions Inc.


SER Solutions Inc. provides innovative software solutions to help companies achieve unprecedented efficiencies, maximise workplace productivity and enhance customer service. Behind SER’s products and services is a team of professionals who are fully committed to delivering quality customer service to 3,000 customers worldwide. SER Solutions Inc. is headquartered in Dulles, Va., with operations in North America and Europe. Additional information on SER Solutions Inc. is available at www.ser.com.


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Aspect, the Aspect logo and the phrases and marks relating to other Aspect products and services discussed in this press release constitute one or both of the following: (1) registered trademarks and/or service marks of Aspect Communications Corporation in the United States and/or other countries or (2) intellectual property subject to protection under common law principles. All other names and marks mentioned in this document are properties of their respective owners.


SER is a registered trademark of SER Solutions Inc. Call Processing System, SERTAINTY, SERTIFY and Strategic Convergence are trademarks of SER Solutions Inc. All other marks are trademarks of their respective owners.


For further information please contact:


Anita Marsh

Aspect Communications

+44 (0)20 8589 1037

anita.marsh@aspect.com



Michael Gray

Gray Associates (for Aspect)

Tel: +44 (0)208 744 9168

michael@grayassociates.co.uk


Anne Perez

Manager, Marketing Communications

SER Solutions Inc.

+1 703 948 5647

anne.perez@ser.com


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