Avaya Inc has launched server software that enables business processes to be ‘communications-enabled,’ letting business processes trigger the various parts of a company’s comms infrastructure, with Web services as the integration mode of choice.
The server in question is the Avaya Communications Process Manager, which the Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based enterprise telephony vendor launched yesterday at the VoiceCon show in Orlando, Florida, along with the first five pre-built Comms-Enabled Business Process (CEBP) functions to go with it, serving as customisable templates for customers and SI partners.
The idea, said Jim Hickey, Avaya’s director of CEBP, is for the server to sit between the business processes, as well as the enterprise app on which they are based like SAP and Siebel, and a company’s comms resources, bridging between them to provide the necessary communications, be they voice, email or other, to streamline the processes and reduce the latency that is normally introduced when human intervention is required.
The Comms Process Manager performs this function ideally via Web services, if the customer has itself already begun deploying a SOA. Otherwise we can provide adapters/connectors as a front end to our CEBP, linking into apps like ERP or CRM that have not yet been Web service-enabled, said Hickey, and indeed, at the Orlando event Avaya is highlighting work done for white goods giant Whirlpool with SAP, whereby we built a connector between the alert function in their data warehouse and our CEBP, Hickey explained.
Still a third alternative, suitable for certain types of environments, is for an optional component in the Comms Process Manager server called Avaya Event Manager to serve as the trigger for an alert in order to orchestrate and manage the organizational response by selecting the appropriate people and bringing them together through a multi-channel communications infrastructure that seamlessly initiates contact through any or all means available (email, SMS, office phone, mobile phone, etc).
This last alternative is clearly of particular relevance in the context of contact centers, a market where Avaya is a leading provider of infrastructure, since agents will often have to find a particular person or group within an organization to respond to a particular customer requirement, such as a mortgage request.
To further flesh out the offering, it debuted with an initial five pre-built service modules to accompany the CEBP server that customers can buy and use as is, or customize to the specific requirements of their organization. These are:
– which contacts an individual, authenticates them against a directory, then launches text-to-speech information and gets an acknowledgement of receipt of the information;
Notify and Respond
– which goes through the same process as above but, once the individual is authenticated, gives them a text-to-speech voice menu of options to choose from, then passes back the information on which one they chose to the original application;
Find and Call
– which finds individuals (customers, employees etc.) by the preferences they have already defined up front within the application, calls them and connects them either to a text-to-speech routine or to an actual human being in the company for real-time interaction;
Verify and Conference
– whereby the application identifies a need for several parties to communicate, calls them (based on their presence status) and announces that they are about to be placed into a conference on a particular subject, then conferences them all together, and
Notify with Task List
– whereby one or a number of individuals are contacted and notified of a particular issue, then presented with a list of tasks to be completed, with the potential for the recipient(s) to acknowledge completion of each task as they go along.
Hickey said the CEBP server itself has a base license for the instance, on top of which there are per-user and per-service licenses. By way of an example, he went on, a single instance of the Communications Process Manager with one of the five service modules has a US list price of $88,000 plus the individual user licenses.
Avaya is clearly seeking to use partners for what is, for the vendor, something of a departure from its traditional stock in trade, Hickey citing ISVs like SAP as well as SIs like IBM as ideal partners (indeed Big Blue’s WebSphere Information Services Director is a suitable repository to house the various service modules).