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Avaya software help contact centers reach customers

Avaya plans to release in the fourth quarter software that can help contact centers provide better customer service on the web and on mobile devices.

Companies want contact centers that can provide customer service by phone, the web or mobile devices. So Avaya Inc. is providing those capabilities in the latest software added to its contact center product portfolio.

Avaya plans to release in the fourth quarter software called Oceana that integrates with the vendor's on-premises Call Center Elite product and the Breeze platform, which is a collection of app dev tools Avaya introduced in March.

Companies that buy Oceana would deploy it on the Avaya Aura Communication Manager, which contains Elite. Communication Manager is at the core of Avaya's unified communications platform. It is also the foundation for delivering voice, video, messaging, mobility and other UC services.

Companies that install Oceana in Communication Manager can use Breeze app dev tools to build and deploy workflow processes that take the contact center beyond just receiving telephone calls and sending emails.

"The Oceana framework modernizes Avaya's contact center," said Irwin Lazar, an analyst with Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

Use cases for Oceana could include making a website search engine more intelligent. Visitors who ask questions indicating a problem or possible sales opportunity could get the option of talking to a call center agent.

Other possibilities include embedding inside a website the option of a VoIP call that could lead to an agent co-browsing the site with visitors to help them find products or services.

Because Oceana is built on the Breeze platform, companies can use the latter to create workflow processes that take customer service to mobile devices. For example, developers could program software in an internet-enabled car to send an alert to a call center agent when the vehicle gets a flat tire. The agent could then send to the motorist a text asking whether a repair person is needed.

"All of those kinds of rules can be predefined and supported as part of Oceana," said Karen Hardy, a senior director of product management at Avaya.

Other Oceana app dev tools

Along with the core Oceana software, Avaya plans to release Oceana Workspaces and Oceanalytics. Workspaces require the use of a new set of development tools called the Breeze Client SDK (software development kit).

The SDK lets companies build a browser-based desktop client tailored to the needs of specific groups of employees and managers. The client would include access to applications and customer data related to the workers' jobs. Oceana accesses customer data from non-Avaya business applications through prebuilt modules that Avaya calls Snap-ins.

Oceanalytics takes the events and historical data in contact center-related software and looks for patterns and trends. That type of information could indicate a problem or interest in specific products or services. "You're starting to identify a way in which you can proactively build out [marketing] campaigns," Hardy said.

Avaya plans to release pricing for Oceana next month. The company will sell the product through a three- or five-year subscription license. Avaya will also offer professional services to businesses that want help redesigning contact center communications.

Contact centers typically have products from multiple suppliers, including those that compete, Hardy said. Avaya is hoping Oceana will provide an incentive for customers to do more with its products.

"Our customer base has many of our competitors also installed, and we see an opportunity to be able to provide the ability for customers to preserve what they have and ride Oceana on the top," she said.

Avaya's push into contact center application development comes as the company struggles under more than $5 billion in debt. The company spends roughly $400 million annually to service the debt.

Avaya recently retained New York-based investment bank Goldman Sachs to help the company explore the option of an asset sale.

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