Abandoned Call - A call or contact that has been originated and sent to the contact center or telephone network but has been terminated before the call is completed.

Abandonment Rate - The percentage of callers who hang up before an agent answers their call or before making a selection in an IVR.

ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) - An older term used to describe the software or equipment used in the heart of a call center.  This is a special type of phone system designed to greet callers with an automated voice and present a menu of choices which determine where the caller will be routed. The ACD function is the core of a contact centers which is used in reservations, sales and customer service departments of organizations. The latest ACDs route text messages, e-mails, faxes, web-requested calls and requests for call backs. ACD Call Routing Options:

  • Calls can be distributed calls equally to agents
  • Calls can be routed by caller being prompted to enter an account or ID number
  • Calls can be routed by the phone number the caller dialed in from via ANI or DNIS by having the ACD check with a database and then route the call
  • Calls can be routed by skills-based routing where the caller is routed the the most appropriate agent based on special criteria (like a foreign language) coded into the the CRM system or database
  • Calls can be routed by business criteria from an ERP or CRM system. For example, calls can be routed by the most profitable customers

Active Directory - Microsoft’s iteration of LDAP directory services for use in Windows environments. Active Directory is designed especially for distributed networking environments and provides a centralized system for network management.

Active/Active Servers  - Term describing a cluster of where each server has access to a replicated database that gives each server access to an application. Active-active systems are usually load balanced to share processing.  When a server fails, another server takes over.

Active/Passive -This is a hardware cluster where the redundant server(s) remain on standby for fail over duty and do not run any applications until called upon.

Activity Code - This is a code, also called a wrap up code entered by agents to indicate a type of contact handled and is usually used for reporting.

ACW (After Call Work) - The work that takes place immediately following an inbound call, contact or transaction has taken place. If work needs to take place prior to an agent handling the next contact, then ACW is part of the average handle time.  Work can be entering any type of data into CRM or other systems. 

Administration and Configuration Interface (ACI) -

  • Server side integration interface (Web Services: XML /SOAP over HTTP)
  • Allows to integrate SAP Contact Center user administration functionality with other SAP or 3rd party applications or create new – partner or customer specific – user administration UIs. With ACI interface, SAP Contact Center users can be created, modified and deleted for example via company Human Resources (HR) system allowing HR system to act as a centralized user account information source for IT systems such as SAP Contact Center.

Agent - A user, usually in a contact center who handles call in a queue and interacts with customers.

Agent Availability - The percentage of time agents are awaiting for calls

Agent Group - This is a group of agents with similar skills and is sometimes referred to as gate, skills or queue 

Agent Status - The status of an Agent status at a specific time (talking, wrap up, idle, and unavailable

AHT (Average Handling Time) - The total amount of time an Agent takes with a call including the wrap up time afterward   

API (Application Programming Interface) - An applications programming interface built into a server to allow another server or program to access data. For voice messaging, this usually means allowing another software program to give or get information from/or to the voice mail system.

Area Code - This is a three digit number at the beginning of phone number for the United States and Canada.   

ASA (Average Speed of Answer) - This is the average time (typically measured in seconds) for calls to be answered. This is the Mean of all calls answered (total number of calls answered divided by the number of calls).   

ATB (All Trunks Busy) - The time that all trunks in a specific trunk group are busy. The trunks may actually be busy with callers or be blocked by call center equipment to minimize the number of calls in queue because of under staffing.   

Audiotext (audio-text) - A voice mail application that provides callers with a list of choices and allows them to choose the information they want to hear by responding to the appropriate prompt.    

Auto Allocation Mode - In a contact center, this is the call queue mode where you automatically get the next inbound call from the queue you are logged into (serving as an agent). Each call is offered separately to the agents who are logged into the queue.   

Automated Attendant - Automated Attendant, also referred to as auto attendant technology, This became popular because it allows callers to route themselves to an extension by themselves by inputting touch-tones and without having to be connected by an operator. This represented an immediate cost reduction to companies by minimizing the need for operators to route calls. The first Automated Attendant was Dytel, which began shipping in 1982. Automated Attendants offer a menu system ("for sales, press 1, for service, press 2, etc.) which can be quite complex and powerful. Most systems allow a caller to reach a live person by dialing "0" for operator. Those that don't upset customers who resent being sent to voice mail jail (even though it is actually an auto attendant jail). Most automated attendants now also have a dial by name directory so that callers can look up the extension of the person they are seeking.

  • Typical automated attendant options include:
  • Dial and be transferred to an extension
  • Dial and be put into voice mail
  • Play a greeting or message (i.e. hours of operation for address)
  • Go to another menu
  • Find caller
  • Repeat

Automatic Number Identification (ANI) - A telephone feature provided by Telephone Company Central Offices that identifies the calling number (sometimes referred to as CLID or Calling Line Identification). Phone systems and voice mail systems and display and/or route calls based on this information via routing tables    

Available Time - The amount of time spent waiting for and/or busy on an inbound or outbound communication.

Avaya Aura Contact Center - "The CRM Contact Center Software Suite Avaya Aura Contact Center, Avaya Aura Call Center Elite and Avaya Interaction Center are Avaya's primary contact center software management products. Avaya's contact center software products focus on call center and contact center software automaton however are often not considered in the broader CRM software category as they do not include the core CRM software tenants of sales force automation (SFA) and marketing automation. However, Avaya contact center software applications are designed to integrate well with most popular CRM products. Avaya also offers some marketing management via products such as Proactive Outreach Manager, an automated outbound campaign management feature, and Avaya Proactive Contact, a platform for the creation and management of outbound campaigns and customer communications. Many contact centers will find this level of marketing campaigns sufficient, while others will prefer the more advanced marketing automation and lead management software generally available with more traditional CRM systems. This call center software review focuses largely on Avaya Aura Contact Center (AACC) and examines what are often the more salient components reviewed in a CRM software selection project for contact center"

B2B - Abbreviation for Business to Business, a company trying to do business to another company.

B2C - Abbreviation for Business to Consumer, a company trying to do business with individuals.

Bandwidth - The number of bits per second that can flow through an IP "pipe". Available bandwidth refers to the amount of bandwidth left for applications like VoIP after the networks main applications are running, unless the network is optimized for voice, because voice needs to be prioritized to run real-time for acceptable voice quality.   

Blended Call Center - This is when a call center provide a combination of services or technologies such as inbound and outbound calls, or a calls and emails (or other modes).   

Blocked Call  - A call that cannot be connected because of a busy condition.  

Busy Study - A study performed by a consultant, vendor or carrier to examine how many incoming calls were not completed because of an insufficient number of trunks (which generates a busy signal to callers).

CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) - In October 1994, Congress passed CALEA to require telecommunications carriers to assist law enforcement that had a court order or other legal authority to conduct electronic surveillance. The FCC also require broadband voice communications to be able to be wiretapped (usually called lawful intercept). The FCC requires "all carriers providing facilities-based broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP service to submit interim reports to the Commission to ensure that they will be CALEA compliant by May 14, 2007."

Call Blending - The process of combining Inbound and outbound calls (and other communications such as e-mail, SMS and web transactions) for specific agents. This smooths out the inbound call peaks of demand by adding similar outbound calls for a group of agents during periods of lower demand. 

Call Waiting - This is a tone, contained in a file that is played to an agent when that agent has an inbound call waiting.

Call Waiting Tone - This is a tone, contained in a file that is played to an agent when that agent has an inbound call waiting.   

Calls in Queue -This is a real-time report that indicates the number of calls received by the Contact Center but have not been passed to an agent yet.    

CEBP - CEBP is an abbreviation of communication-enabled business process. The goal is to improve business processes by minimizing the human latency that occurs in the business flow process. CEBP versus Unified Communications (from Wikipedia), "Many UC vendors claim that they do CEBP today. However, one very important distinction needs to be made…there is a difference between communications integrated into business process and communications enabled business process.”

This is more than adding a click-to-dial function to an ERP or CRM application. As described above, CEBP is much more sophisticated in its ability to automate business process flows; it is usually event triggered, providing a much stronger ROI too many lines of business and vertical industries."

CEM (Communication Event Manager) - The SAP Contact Center core module for call handling. This is the unified routing engine of the multimedia automatic call distribution of SAP Contact Center to make sure of the proper allocation of all contacts.   

CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) - This is a telecommunications provider/carrier that competes with the existing telephone company (that is sometimes referred to as an ILEC or Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier.   

CLID (Calling Line Identification) - A feature that displays the phone number of the calling party.

ClientCom -

  • Client side integration interface (COM, Component Object Model),
  • Provides easy screen pop-up integration methods and call control from 3rd party application while SAP Contact Center softphone (CDT, Communication Desktop) is running on the background

ClientCore -

  • Client side integration interface (.NET)
  • Enables building of a totally customized softphone user interface or fully embedding softphone functionalities into 3rd party application like CRM or ERP user interface

Connector -A piece of software used to connect two other pieces of software. Also referred to as middleware.

Cloud Communications - Cloud communications refers to a communications system that is housed in a data center and remotely managed. In most situations, cloud based communications lowers initial costs, increasing reliability and facilitates the deployment of a scalable communications solution.  There are three types of clouds: public, private and hybrids.

CODEC (Compressor/Decompressor) - A chip that performs encoding and decoding to facilitate the transmission of voice data with high efficiency and speed across the network. Microsoft uses WAV files which are usually uncompressed. In VoIP, the most frequently used compression algorithms are G.711 (uncompressed, at 64 KBs) , G.723 (24 and 40 KBs) , G.726 (16, 24, 32, and 40 kbit/s) , and G.729 (8  KBs).

Conditional Routing - This is a Contact Center functionality to route calls or contacts by an “if, then” condition. Numerous Routing parameters maybe include by agent availability, time of day, day of week or type of customer request.

Contextual Routing - The Aberdeen Group defines contextual routing as "activities where companies capture the context of a customer contact (e.g. issue, prior contact and channel of interaction) using automated workflows to route each client to relevant agents who have the right skills and knowledge to solve those issues. This capability differs from skills based routing, as the latter primarily focuses on connecting customers with specific issues with agents that have the relevant skills to solve them. However, it doesn't factor additional context, such as if the customer has called before when routing to agents." (Source:  The Business Value of Integrating the Contact Center within Your Omni-Channel Strategy).

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) - Software a company uses to manage a history of the company's interactions with their customers and prospects.  Popular CRM applications include Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, SAP, Sugar Oracle RightNow, Oracle Siebel.   

“A business strategy designed to optimise profitability, revenue and customer satisfaction. To realise CRM organisations must foster behaviors and implement processes and technologies that support coordinated customer interactions throughout all customer channels”. - Gartner Group.

CSO (Continuous System Operation) - A hot standby server that is used in a manner that the primary server can be switched to a standby server quickly, the IP640 can transfer over in less than 30 seconds.   

CSTA (Computer Supported Telephony Application) - An international standard interface between a network server and a telephone switch (PBX) established by the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA).  

Directory and availability interface (DAI) -

  • Server side integration interface (Web Services: XML /SOAP over HTTP),
  • Provides access to SAP Contact Center directory (phone directories) and user presence /availability data. DAI can be used, e.g. to access directory and presence information services via company intranet, or to integrate other SAP or 3rd party access control systems to SAP Contact Center.

Data Warehouse - A centralized place for data that is collected from one or more sources and used to store current a historical data and is typically used to produce trending and comparison reports.   

Dial-by-Name - This is a popular feature of voice mail systems to allow callers to leave a message for their party without knowing their parties voice mailbox number. Typically a caller is asked to enter 3 or 4 digits of the users' first or last name on the keypad.    

Dialing Plan - This is the structure of how telephone extensions and/or voice mailbox numbers are assigned, how many digits they have, and whether they are assigned by any kind of grouping (such as location, department or function.)   

Dynamic Jitter Buffer - A jitter buffer allows voice packets to be sent to the voice processor in evenly spaced intervals regardless of the variations in arrival rates that are usually due to network congestion. Software based jitter buffers delay arriving packets to minimize the distortion to the user. Dynamic jitter buffers are software-based and can be controlled by network administrators to adjust to network delays.

Erlang - A unit of measurement to measure traffic usage in telecommunications.  An Erlang is 3600 seconds of usage in one hour. This measurement was named after Danish mathematician and engineer, Agner Krarup Erlang (1878 – 1929) who was also known as the Father of Queuing Theory.

  • Erlang Models are a set of traffic engineering models that are used to determine telecommunications trunking requirements.
  • Erlang-B is a modeling formula used to determine the number of trunks needed to handle phone traffic in a one hour period. There is an assumption that if callers get a busy signal that they will not call in again.
  • Erlang-B Extended is a modeling formula that assumes that callers who get a busy signal will call back in immediately.
  • Erlang-C is a modeling formula that assumes that callers will continue to wait in queue and not abandon calling in.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) - It is a type of business software that organizations use that is part of a system of integrated applications. The largest providers of ERP software are SAP, Oracle and Microsoft.

ESMDI (Enhanced Simplified Message Desk Interface) - A standard call data packet format used in Centrex applications, with additional features not found in SMDI.    

ESS (Electronic Switching System) - A type of Central Office switching system.  The 1ESS was the first large scale Stored Program Control system that replaced the older XB (referred to as a Cross Bar) Central Office.  The 5ESS Class 5 Switch was introduced in 1982, and eventually replaced the 1ESS office and older electromechanical and analog systems. This system is marketed by Lucent Technologies (now Alcatel-Lucent) which grew out of Western Electric when it was part of AT&T Network.

External Agent - This is a remote user who is logged into the SAP Contact Center remotely (mobile or fixed) and is placed into queues.   

Fax on Demand - A fax feature on a voice mail system or fax server where a caller can request a document to be faxed to them during the same call. The caller can call the voice mail system or fax server from a fax and request the document or the voice mail system can dial out and transmit to a fax machine.  

Find Me, Follow-Me Service - The ability to have incoming calls be forwarded to a user no matter where they are or what type of device they are using by ringing multiple phones simultaneously.  These programming instructions can also be changed time of day or type of device.

First Call Resolution (FCR) - This is a service quality measurement referring to how well a customer's needs are resolved on the initial call or contact.  Usually expressed as a percentage of the total number of interactions.

Five9 - (from Wikipedia) "Five9, Inc. was founded by John Sung Kim, Gus Laredo, James Southworth and Ray Soto who sought to combine Voice-over-IP technology with an emerging Software-as-a-Service delivery model in March of 2001. John Sung Kim started the company as a softswitch start-up at a time when the CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) market was in decline following the burst of the dot-com bubble. After several iterations John Sung Kim and lead engineer Andrew Veliath brainstormed the concept of the first Virtual Call Center as a Service model, which put them in direct competition with much larger vendors such as Avaya and Nortel. In early 2008, the company reported revenue growth of 1,300 percent from 2003 to 2006, and is reportedly doing over $70 million in annual revenues as of end of 2012. Five9's headquarters is in Pleasanton, California.

Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) - The integration of wired and wireless technologies and services to create a single network structure. This is interpreted in numerous ways because the convergence can take place in a variety of places within the network. Convergence can take place on the device or in the service. Device convergence provides both wired and mobile services on a single device or handset. Service convergence is the integration of diverse services together into a single package.   

FTP Server - A server that runs File Transfer Protocol (FTP) as a communications protocol and used to transmit files without loss of data over the Internet.   

G.711 - A 64 Kbps codec that is the most widely used codec in PSTN and ISDN networks. Using G.711 for VoIP provides the best voice quality because it uses no compression. It has the best sound quality but takes more bandwidth then other codecs, and the TCP/IP overhead can add as much as another 20 Kbps for a total of  84 Kbps. A T1 digital trunk carries 24 digital channels that each have 64 Kbps multiplexed together for at total of 1.54 Mbps.

G.729 - A reference to a compression format frequently used in VoIP and compresses speech to 8 KBs. Normal speech is uncompressed and transmitted using G.711 at 64 KBs.   

Gate - This is a group within the Contact Center that receives calls or contact based on a routing criteria such as skills, transaction, telephone trunks or communications modality.   

Genesys - Genesys was founded in 1990 by Alec Miloslavsky and Greg Shenkman.  In 1997 Genesys held its IPO and was subsequently acquired by Paris-based Alcatel (now Alcatel-Lucent) in 2000. In 2012, the ownership of Genesys transferred from Alcatel-Lucent to a company controlled by the Permira Funds with participation from Technology Crossover Ventures. Today, Genesys operates as a stand-alone company.

HAC (High Availability Controller) - HAC is an administration application related to the SAP Contact Center infrastructure. It monitors the statuses of the BCM related processes within the platform and ensures redundancy by initiating recovery scenarios or starting up alternative components if necessary. (Definition courtesy of SAP). 

Headsets - Contact Center agents are the "face" of your organization that you present to your customers. Headsets play a vital link in that interaction and high quality communications devices are important. There are several high quality manufacturers' that build excellent quality, ergonomic models designed for all day usage. These companies include:  Plantronics, GN Netcom/Jabra, VXI and Sennheiser.

vxi.png
  • Headsets come as monaural (single sided) which allows an agent to hear what is going on around them or binaural (two-sided) which envelopes the agent and lets them concentrate on listening to the caller
  • Another important feature offered are noise cancelling microphones. This cuts out the background noise of the agent and lets your customer hear the agent better
  • Most new Contact Centers allow the headset to be connected to a PC and integrate through a softphone. For hardware based Contact Centers that connect via an agent phone, there are a variety of choices in connecting the headset
  • Wired vs. Wireless options exist so that an agent can leave their immediate work area while still connected to a caller

High Availability - This is a system or module which is operational for a required time without uncontrolled interruptions. Normally, this is an important requirement in a contact center   

HIPAA - The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act contains a privacy rule that is a comprehensive set of regulations that pertain to Federal protection of the privacy of personal health information 

Hosted Phone Service - Now generally referred to as hosted telephone service, primarily for voice, where the switching equipment is owned and operated by another company. The customer is responsible for paying a recurring monthly expense for the use of the equipment and transmissions and may or may not be responsible for the IP phones on their premises.

Hunt Group Mode - In a contact center, this is the call queue mode where any inbound call can be selected from the queues you are logged into (serving as an agent). Each call is offered simultaneously to all agents logged into the queue.   

Hyper-V - This is Microsoft's a stand-alone product that provides a simplified, reliable, cost-effective and optimized virtualization solution that helps enable organizations to improve server utilization and reduce costs.

IA (Infrastructure Administrator) - an administration application related to the system infrastructure. 

IM (Instant Messaging) - The ability to click on a user and send an immediate message.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) - is a method for a local client to access email on a server. IMAP allows users to access remote messages as if they were local.  

IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) - A next generation architecture designed to provide an array of new services while offering current services and can be provided over the Internet. The architecture uses open a variety of IP standard protocols that are defined by the IETF. The reference design consists of session control, connection control and an applications services with subscriber and services data. When deployed, a real-time multimedia session between any combination of IMS and Internet users (between two IMS users, and IMS user and an Internet user or between two Internet users is established with the same protocol. In this way, IMS also merges the wireless world with the internet world and wireless technologies to give provide easy connectivity and Internet technologies for a broad range of services. IMS will enable wireless, wireline, and cable operators to sell new generations of services that are multimedia interactive services such as gaming, IPTV, gaming, and video conferencing.

inContact - Founded in 1997, the Utah-based company began as a unified carrier of long distance services. The company was formerly known as UCN Inc. and changed its name to inContact effective January 1, 2009.  inContact offers a cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Contact Centers. The inContact platform has grown from an Automated Call Distributor (ACD) with skills-based routing, CTI, IVR with speech recognition and workforce optimization. 

Infrastructure Administrator (IA) - This is the tool for installing and managing the SAP Contact (BCM)  software.

Interactive Intelligence - Interactive Intelligence, sometimes referred to as I3 is a company that provides software based call center software. They are based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are publicly traded and were founded in 1994 by Dr. Donald Brown. 

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) - A circuit to send voice, video, and data over digital or normal telephone lines at a rate of 64 Kbps.  There are two types of ISDN:

  • Primary Rate Interface (PRI) -  23 B-channels that carries the voice or data and one D-channel that carries control information
  • Basic Rate Interface (BRI) - 2 B-channels that carries voice or data and one D-channel that carries control information.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) - Systems that allow the use of a phone to interact with a computer database to input or retrieve input information with the computer without the need for “live” assistance. IVR’s may either use the touch tone capabilities of the phone and/or voice recognition technologies.    

Jitter - In VoIP,  jitter is the momentary variation or fluctuation causing a delay in the transmission of packets. This happens when a data packets arrive too soon or behind the standard clock cycle and are typically contention, queuing, serialization effects on the path the transmission path the packet take through the network. The problems with jitter are reduce by higher bandwidth networks. 

KPI (Key Performance Indicator) - These are the most important measurements of performance for an organization.  KPI's usually measure productivity.

Latency - The time that it takes for a voice packet to be transmitted until the time that it reaches its destination. When there is too much latency, both speakers on a call end up overlapping and interrupting each other. Latency is measured in milliseconds.   

Layer 2 Switch - This is a network device that forwards data traffic based on the Ethernet (MAC) addresses. They examine inbound network traffic, monitor the physical addresses of all stations attached to their ports and send traffic to specific addresses according to their forwarding tables.  

Layer 3 Switch - According to About.com, a Layer 3 switch is a network routing device that supports routing protocols, inspects incoming packets and makes dynamic routing decisions based on the source and destination addresses inside.  They have hardware technology that combines traditional switches and routers, replacing some of a router's software logic with hardware to offer better performance in some situations.   

LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) - A protocol that acts like an address book that e-mail, and, increasingly, voice mail uses to look up information from a server.    

LEC - This is the Local Exchange Carrier which is the same as the local telephone company.  

Lync Server - Microsoft's new version of their Unified Communications Server. Offers presence, instant messaging, conferencing and enterprise voice capabilities with a single interface. This is their latest version of what used to be known as OCS

MAC (Moves, Adds and Changes) - An industry term that refers to routine work performed on voice mail or phone systems.

MAPI - A program that allows you to send an email from a Windows application. In the voice mail context, it allows you to send a voice mail in a WAV file format attached to the email as an element within Unified Messaging.  

Media Gateway - A device that converts data from one type of network format to another such as the PSTN, SS7, 3G or PBX. 

Media Routing Server - This is the core component in the SAP BCM Contact Center that plays prompts to a voice stream.

Mitel Networks - Unified communication company founded in 1972 by Michael Cowpland and our good friend Terry Matthews.  Mitel is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. After a series of mergers with Intertel and Aastra, Mitel's revenues now exceed $1 billion.

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) - This is a standard used for transmitting multimedia messages such as video, audio and rich text. This is similar to SMS but not limited to text. This service is primarily found in cellular networks

Modem - Stands for Modulate/Demodulate. A device that converts digital signals to analog signals and vice-versa. Modems send data over the analog telephone network.  A modem converts or modulates data into tones so that it can be transmitted over the telephone network. Once it is received, the demodulator on the modem changes the tones back into data.  

MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) - The IETF's MPLS Working Group is responsible for establishing the core MPLS standards.  MPLS is a key component in deploying converged networks.  In this type of network, incoming data packets receive a label by the label edge router.  The packets get sent via a label switch path and the router routes according to the information contained in the label.  Routers at each hop remove the existing label and reapply a new one that directs the next hop with how to transmit the packet. The Label Switch Paths are based on prior determination of how to route around network congestion, to create IP tunnels for VPN’s or to achieve desired performance levels. MPLS integrates information about the network bandwidth, latency, utilization; and IP, to simplify and improve the quality of service (QOS).

Multi-channel - Multi-channel capabilities have allowed contact centers to outgrow their telephone-centric call center roots by allowing agents to be reached by email, text Web- chat, text, and social media as well as voice.   

Multi-Tenant Contact Center - This is when multiple customers use the same platform to receive services. Sometimes this is referred to as "tenanting". It can be an on-premises enterprise system or in the "cloud". There are many variations of the way service can be provided and survivability handled. 

NAS (Network Attached Storage) - Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a hard disk storage that allows file to be stored and retrieved across a network and has its own network address. When used in a voice mail application, it allows the message store to take place in a separate location from the voice mail system.

NOC - Network Operations Center

Online Integration Interface (OII) -

  • Server side integration interface (Web Services: XML /SOAP over HTTP),
  • Provides methods for such functionality as handling user /agent status, handling channel/queue assignments (e.g. login / logout) and performing telephony operations in an SAP Contact Center system. For example SAP CRM integration is using OII interface on SAP Contact Center side.

Offered calls - The number of attempts callers make to reach the Contact Center. There are three possible outcomes:  calls answered by an agent, calls answered by the Contact Center but hang up before reaching an agent and the callers get busy signals.

Omnichannel (omni-channel) A multichannel approach to providing customers with a seamless  experience regardless of whether the customer is communicating via a Contact Center, shopping online, via a cell phone or in a traditional store. One of the goals it to provide a consistent user experience.

“Multi-channel is an operational view – how you allow the customer to complete transactions in each channel. Omni-channel, however, is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent. Omni-channel anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution.  Making these complex ‘hand-offs’ between channels must be fluid for the customer.  Simply put, omni-channel is multi-channel done right!” - John Bowden, Senior VP of Customer Care at Time Warner Cable.

Overflow - Calls that are sent to another group another after a predefined parameter such as queue time is met.

Packet - A unit of data that has the payload (the information to be transmitted), plus information about the originator, destination and synchronizing information. Packets are sent out at one end and reassembled on the receiving end based on the header addressing information at the front of each packet.

Peak Traffic -The highest volume of telephone traffic that can be given to a call center or PBX.    

Personal Auto Attendant - Feature that allows an individual to design and manage the call flow of their own incoming phone calls.

PIMG (PBX-IP Media Gateway) - A Dialogic (formerly Intel) manufactured gateway that converts and interconnects standard IP networks to a proprietary digital PBX, or, a SIP enabled PBX, to a traditional phone network.

POP (Post Office Protocol) - A standard on the Internet for leaving and retrieving e-mail messages.  

Port - A point of access to a system.  

Position in queue - This term refers to the what position the caller's place is in within the queue and is usually used to play a message letting the caller know that.

Predictive Analytics (also referred to as Predictive Analysis) -  Predictive Analytics uses tools like advanced statistical, data mining, and machine learning algorithms to find patterns and create models that compare factors like past and projected trends and use historical  metrics like costs and sales to predict future performance,  reduce risks, make smarter decisions, find patterns in data that might predict outcomes and create personalized customer experiences.

 "Software and/or hardware solutions that allow firms to discover, evaluate, optimize, and deploy predictive models by analyzing big data sources to improve business performance or mitigate risk." - Forrester

Areas of impact include:

  • Increasing Customer Satisfaction - Predicting and improving customer satisfaction scores by identifying the variability of employee performance and appropriately routing callers to optimize employee’s skills and strengths. This data can be correlated with customer satisfaction and programs developed to improve performance.
  • Improve First Contact Resolution - Tracking call transfers and callbacks from a customer contact and subsequent follow-ups through multiple channels to measure First Call Resolution.
  • Predict Customer Attrition -  Develop models that predicts customer churn so an enterprise could use customer data to predict which customers are likely to change to another supplier. With that knowledge the enterprise can prioritize customers at risk and develop proactive strategies to retain them.

Predictive Dialer - This is specialized software used to manage outbound calls. It uses a similar concept as a contact center does in that it is typically designed to handle more outbound calls than there are agents. It is predictive because the caller is not connected until after the customers' phone number is dialed, the ringing has taken place the call is answered by a person. Complex algorithms are used to predict agent become available and dial with that knowledge. This speeds up the time between calls because the agent is not waiting while the call is being dialed or ringing.   

Presence - A technology that sensed the availability and receptivity of a user to receive a communication. Presence is usually accompanied with IM (Instant Messaging) and is becoming more common because of the introduction of Microsoft’s Lync Server. "Presence" detects when a user is available just like the "buddy lists" that are used in consumer IM applications. Based on a personal profile, "Presence" determines whether the user is willing and able to receive messages immediately (and in which message format) or whether to store the messages for future retrieval. 

Preview -This is a dialing mode where an agent can see the customer data and/or scripts before making a call.    

PSI (Presence Synchronization Interface) - Enables integration party to subscribe to SAP Contact Center presence and update presence information into SAP Contact Center system. Used e.g. with MS Lync presence module.

Prompts - These are audio instructions within the voice mail system to guide callers through the system, i.e., "Thank you for calling CommuniTech Services, If you know your party's extension, you may enter it at any time during this message."

PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) - Sometimes is a call center responsible for receiving emergency 911 calls. 

QNX - A POSIX compliant, real time, Unix-like operating system from Canada. This was the operating system used in the Centigram product line and many other companies. QNX was made by QNX Software Systems and was later acquired by BlackBerry producer Research in Motion.  

QSIG - Refers to Q signaling and is an ISDN based protocol for signaling or integrating PBXs in a network that allows interoperability between multi-vendor PBX’s. Large or distributed enterprises that have multiple PBXs can provide users with the same capabilities regardless of the PBX.    

Quality Monitoring Interface (QMI) -

  • Server side integration interface (RTP and Web Services: XML /SOAP over HTTP)
  • Enables 3rd party call recording system integration with SAP Contact Center (IP calls related RTP stream and related call data  over XML /SOAP interface)

Quality of Service (QOS) - The capability of the network to provide a higher quality of service to specially designated network traffic. This is particularly important for VoIP because voice must be transmitted real time in order to have good quality sound. QOS helps avoid packet loss, latency, and jitter by ensuring priority of dedicated bandwidth.

Queue - This is the "line" that callers are waiting in until an agent becomes available to handle their call. 

RAID - A server based technology that uses multiple disk drives together for improved performance and fault tolerance. The improved performance comes from storing the data on multiple discs which improves the I/O operations. The improved fault tolerance comes from using multiple disks, which increases the mean time between failures. 

  • RAID-1 Uses disk mirroring and uses at least two drives to duplicate data storage. 
  • RAID-5 Level 5 is the most popular implementation of RAID. It uses data striping and the entire read and write operations are overlapped.
  • RAID 10 (or 1 + 0) - Combines multiple more disk storage to provide redundancy by using both striping and mirroring 

RBOC - This is an abbreviation for the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOC). These were spun off as the result of a decree by Judge Greene to increase competition in the telecommunications industry. At the time of the divestiture there were 7 RBOC's (sometimes referred to as the Baby Bells; Ameritech, Southwestern Bell, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, NYNEX, US West, and Pacific Telesis. After much consolidation there are now three; AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink  

Remote Agent - This is a Contact Center agent that works from a location external to the Contact Center and is connected via the Internet and/or telecommunications facilities. links that provide data pathways. Typically they are supplemental workers that either work on a demand or scheduled basis.   

Remote Call Control (RCC) - This is a term that refers to computer headset users being able to hear their softphone ring and being able to answer the softphone call from the headset by pressing a button. The call can also be terminated by hitting the same button. If the headset user is using a wireless headset they can answer and terminate the call while away from their PC.

Reporting Data Interface (RDI) -

  • Server side integration interface (Web Services: XML /SOAP over HTTP)
  • Provides access to SAP Contact Center historical reporting statistics. For example, to combine contact volume and handling statistics with other SAP or 3rd party application statistics such as revenue or other financial data. The existing SAP BI – SAP Contact Center reporting data integration is using RDI interface towards SAP NetWeaver.

Rich Presence - A format that aggregates presence data from multiple sources and intelligently manages the information according to both enterprise and individual preferences. This increases users’ communications options and expands their choices. The Internet Engineering Task Force IETF abstract describes these options as ones being primarily derived automatically, i.e., from the users' calendar or activity. Information may include what a person is doing, when a service or device was last used, the type of location a person is in, what media communications might remain private, the person's mood, time zone they are located in, and the type of service offered.    

RightNow (Oracle RightNow) - RightNow primarily offers a hosted CRM service in the cloud. The company was founded in 1997 by Greg Gianforte in Bozeman, Montana. It was incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Bozeman, Montana. On October 24, 2011, Oracle Corporation announced it had agreed to buy RightNow Technologies for $1.5 billion and the company has been absorbed into Oracle and is now known as Oracle RightNow.  

Ring Back Tones - The sound your caller hears when they call you.

Router - A hardware device that connects two or more computer networks. Routers in the network determine where the destination computers are and then the best way to get them there by storing and forwarding the data packets based on network delays, errors and re-transmittal requests from the receiving end.  

Salesforce.com - Salesforce.com is a sales force automation (SFA) software as a software as a service (SaaS) provider. 

SAN (Storage Area Network) - A rapidly emerging technology that uses a high-speed network of shared hard drives with at least two servers as part of a larger network. It combines the connection capability of a network with the power and speed of a traditional storage environment.

SAP - SAP is a German multinational software corporation that makes enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations. Headquartered in Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg, with regional offices around the world, SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software. The company's best known software products are its enterprise resource planning application (SAP ERP), its enterprise data warehouse solution - SAP Business Warehouse, SAP BusinessObjects software, and most recently, Sybase mobile products and in-memory computing appliance SAP HANA. SAP is one of the largest independent software corporations. 

Series 6 - The product name of the legacy Centigram voice mail system. The flagship product was the Model 640, the other models within the Series 6 family include the model 70 and 120.

Session Border Controller (SBC) - An SBC is a device deployed in VoIP networks to control the signalling streams and media streams used in setting up and tearing down telephone calls or other media (sessions). The SBC acts as a firewall for protecting traffic between the enterprise and the carrier and only allows authorized sessions to take place between the "borders".  The SBC identifies incoming threats, monitors quality of services (QoS)  and makes sure the callers can communicate. SAP Labs has certified Audiocodes Session Border Controller (SBC) to be compatible with SAP Contact Center software.

Manufacturers of SBC's include Audiocodes, Sonus and Oracle (Acme Packet).

SIMPLE (Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions) - An instant messaging (IM) protocol that emerged from the IETF and works with SIP.

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) - A signaling protocol used to establish sessions for Internet conferencing, telephony, presence, events notification and instant messaging. SIP is a text-based protocol, similar to HTTP and SMTP, for initiating interactive communication sessions between users.

SIP Bridge -

  • Server side integration interface (SIP)
  • Provides SIP protocol bridge to enable interoperability with other SAP Contact Center installations or to integrate 3rd party telephony systems with SAP Contact Center, e.g. IP-PBXs, VoIP-enabled speech recognition or text-to-speech systems, voice portals, and conferencing systems

SIP X-headers or External IVR interface

  • Server side integration interface (SIP and SOAP) 
  • Contact Center system can relay calls to external speech recognition / IVR over SIP.  SIP X-headers or separate SOAP data interface is used to send data to SAP Contact Center system or to query statistical information from SAP Contact Center system

Skill Based Routing - This is the routing of a call to an agent that has the best skill to help a caller with their particular needs. This differs from sending the call to the first available agent.

SMDI (Simplified Message Desk Interface) - A protocol for the protocol for the call data packets that interface between the phone system (usually Centrex) and a voice mail system. Messages are sent via a serial interface when a call is sent. Various types of information are sent including the way the Message Waiting Indication (MWI) are turned on and off.

SMS - Also known as Short Message Services is a text message (up to 160 characters) to a cell phone. 

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) - This is the most common protocol for sending e-mail via the Internet between two servers. Messages are retrieved with an e-mail client that uses IMAP or POP. 

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) - A set of protocols for managing complex networks. It works by transmitting messages called protocol data units around the network and SNMP agents to store data in a database and return it to the SNMP requester.

SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) -A software architecture that integrates sets of linked, repeatable business tasks, or "services". These services are reusable software that is self-contained and are independent of the applications and computer that they are running on.  SOA helps businesses innovate by ensuring that IT systems can adapt quickly, easily and economically to support rapidly changing business needs. SOA usually uses Web services that meet standards so they can have greater interoperability.

Softphone - A PC or PC-type device that emulates the telephone with prompts and commands appearing on the PC's screen instead of the phone.   

Speech Auto-Attendant - An applications that connects users automatically to another person or department by speaking the name of the desired party or department. The benefit of this is that it eliminates the need to look up phone numbers in a directory.

Speech Recognition - Sometimes shortened to “Speech Rec”, this term is often referred to interchangeably with Voice Recognition. This technology is employed by computer equipment that recognized voice commands as an input. Speech Recognition is often used with IVR systems or Automated Attendants.

SSH (Secure Socket Shell) - A UNIX-based command and protocol to get secured access to a remote computer. 

Status - The mode a Contact Center agent is in, Available, Talk Time, Hold Time, Wrap-up and Unavailable.

Sytel Limited - Supplier of predictive dialer algorithms

Talk time - The time a Contact Center Agent is talking to a caller (measured in seconds). This measure from the time a call is answered to the time the caller hangs up but excludes hold time.

T1 - A digital trunk comprised of 24 individual channels of 64 KBS each that transmits at combined speed of 1.544 Mbps. 

Task Management Interface (TMI) -

  • Server side integration interface (Web Services: XML /SOAP over HTTP),
  • Provides methods for embedding task handling tools into 3rd party application while task routing, monitoring and reporting remains on SAP Contact Center functionality. Tasks typically are emails, web-contacts, faxes, SMS-messages, user created tasks or 3rd party system generated tasks (alarms, etc)

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/IP Protocol) - The networking protocol that communicates over interconnected networks. This is the basic standard for Internet communications TCP refers to the transport, which makes sure that the bytes of data sent are properly received at the destination. The IP part of TCP/IP provides the routing capability of the protocol. Routing protocols have all messages include the address of the destination location and network.

TDM (Time Division Multiplexer) - A method of combining data streams by assigning each stream a different time slot in a set.  

Teleworker - Employees in remote sites such as their home or a hotel room can work remotely with full access to voice mail, conferencing, and other features of the office phone system. This delivers a secure, “in-office” unified communications experience.    

Telnet - A standard protocol for a remote login so a remote computer can be accessed. Used on top of a TCP/IP protocol.    

Trunk Hold Time - This is the total amount of time that a trunk is used on a specific call from the time that ringing begins in the call center equipment to the time it is disconnected. 

TTS (Text to Speech) - A technology that allows text to be read aloud by a computer controlled “voice”. The primary use used to be reading text stored in a database but now is often being used to read users emails to them.

TUI (Telephone User Interface) - The interface used by the user to interact with the telephone

Twinning - Calls made to an office extension are programmed to ring on your cell phone as well, so you're always available to answer. Some twinning applications allow you to have most of the features from your PBX phone available to you on your cell phone.  

Unavailable Time - This is the time the agent is not able accept an inbound communication or make an outbound one.

Unified Communications (UC) -The addition of call control to Unified Messaging. This utilizes a single mailbox to receive a variety of stream of messages that include voice mail, Email, images, video and fax messages. The five key communication markets that are converging to form UC are:

  • Voice messaging and unified messaging 
  • Live voice, such as private branch exchanges (PBXs) — call handling 
  • E-mail 
  • Voice, Web and video conferencing, and collaboration 
  • Instant messaging (IM) and live-presence indicator

Virtual Unit (VA) - An SAP BCM term referring to a logical group of technical services that are managed as a single unit.  

Virtualization - A technology that creates a virtual (rather than an actual) hardware platform, and is part of a powerful trend in enterprise data centers to allow groups of servers to be shared so that applications don't have to be placed on dedicated servers and instead can be shared over multiple servers that are pooled together. This allows fewer servers to be deployed saving on the number of servers deployed, energy costs from cooling and centralized server administration. VMWare is the leader in this space. Microsoft also has a product in this space called Hyper-V.  

VMWare - VMWare is the leading supplier of virtualization and cloud infrastructure technology. Their technology helps IT departments by reducing complexity and enabling more flexible, agile service delivery. Leveraging VMWare vSphere, VMWare enables enterprises to adopt a cloud model that addresses business challenges. VMWare’s approach accelerates the transition to cloud computing while preserving existing investments and improving security and control.  

Voice Mail - A system that records messages like an answering machine. Messages can be reviewed, copied, stored, annotated and forwarded to one or many people. Messages are retrieved with touch tone commands.  

Voice Mail Jail - A badly designed voice mail system that does not allow a live person to be reached.  

Voice Messaging - A system that records, stores, plays and gives voice messages. Also referred to as a voice mail system or unified messaging system.    

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) - Software and hardware that digitizes voice and converts into packets of data that can be sent over the Internet instead of as a traditional transmission.

VPN - A virtual private network is a way that users can use the public internet to privately share information between a businesses' network and a remote locations.  A VPN provides allows information to be transmitted securely by authenticating users, and encrypting data. VPNs are commonly used to provide remote uses or offices with secured access into an enterprises network.  

VXML (Voice Extensible Markup Language) - Also referred to as Voice XML, a language for creating voice-user interfaces to create Web content and services that can be accessed by phone. It uses speech recognition and/or touch-tone for input, and uses pre-recorded audio and text-to-speech for output. VXML 1.0 was their result of a joint effort by AT&T, IBM, Lucent and Motorola.to promote this standard. 

Waiting Time - Time that a contact event (such as a call, a chat, or an e-mail) is waiting after it has entered a service queue and before it is answered or transferred to another queue or service, or before the caller hangs up. (Definition from SAP)

Wall Board - A visual display of real-time and historical information on Contact Center performance, queue status, and agent status.  

WebRTC - WebRTC is a free, open project that enables web browsers with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple JavaScript APIs. The WebRTC components have been optimized to best serve this purpose. The mission is to enable rich, high quality, RTC applications to be developed in the browser via simple JavaScript APIs and HTML5. The WebRTC initiative is a project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera. (source: www.webrtc.org)

WFO (Work Force Optimization) - This is software used to schedule and forecast manpower requirements based on prior staffing results  

Wrap Up Code - This is a code, also called an activity code that is entered by agents to indicate a type of contact handled and is usually used for reporting.  

XML Tool Kit - A group of utilities that allow work to be done on XML files.