Tellme Adds a New Aspect to Its Call Center Offerings

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Contact center solutions provider Aspect Software and Tellme Networks, a voice services provider and Microsoft subsidiary, announced in mid-September a strategic partnership that involves combining their solutions to provide a flexible, cost-effective contact center offering.

Aspect will be integrating Tellme’s on-demand voice services platform into its Unified IP solution and will be reselling Tellme’s voice services platform to its U.S. customers. Barry Russell, director of Tellme’s Partner Group, says this will allow customer service hubs to have the best of both worlds. "Enterprise customers can leverage assets they have on premises versus services they may not be able to access in the cloud," he explains.

Mike Sheridan, senior vice president of strategy for Aspect Software, says integrating Unified IP with Tellme’s voice portal is a natural progression for his company’s ongoing unified communications (UC) strategy. However, he is quick to point out that this latest announcement comprises much more than a mere go-to-market strategy. "We’re adding Aspect professional services, [consulting] end-to-end...ACDs, predictive dialers, Aspect Unified IP, hosted IVR capabilities, and scripting," he explains.

And Sheridan believes this also opens a path for bringing something new and fresh to the contact center space. "It’s a great opportunity to differentiate and provide the marketplace something [it] can’t get today—either [on]premises or hosted—and in an integrated and unified way with underlying ACD and predictive dialer," he adds.

Sheila McGee-Smith, president of McGee-Smith Analytics, says this move makes sense for Aspect. "It’s a great proof point for those very large, significant customers still sitting on legacy Aspect [offerings]," she explains. "One of [this company’s] strategies is to move [organizations] to its current technology. The Microsoft partnership and Tellme piece are great for helping them to get that done and to have them less vulnerable to [competitors] like Avaya and Genesys [Telecommunications Laboratories]."

While this integrated hybrid contact center offering will be available only to U.S. customers at the start, the companies "continue to build out international plans, our minds looking to [the] future to launch worldwide with Aspect on the Tellme platform," Tellme’s Russell says. "We anticipate something would happen like that in mid-fiscal year 2010, certainly by 2011."

Before taking the combined solution worldwide, McGee-Smith points out that Tellme’s success is also correlated to that of Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007. "That isn’t to say Tellme isn’t successful today, but if in fact OCS goes on to claim a significant share of the [private-branch exchange] and contact center market, then Tellme becomes part of the solution and [the] reason why it goes forward," she says.

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