Oracle, Aspect team up for call centre integration

Aspect Communications and Oracle have formed a technology alliance to integrate Aspect's server with Oracle's E-Business Suite to give customer service representatives access to back-office data.

As part of the deal to be announced Wednesday, the two companies will provide out-of-the-box integration of Aspect's Contact Server communications platform with Oracle E-Business Suite 11i to joint customers, according to company officials.

"Customers who have Oracle ... can now benefit by connecting directly to call center operations," said Simon Lonsdale, vice president of technology alliances at San Jose, Calif.-based Aspect. "All of the agents ... in their call center can benefit from all that enterprise data that Oracle is able to serve up. The customer service representatives are able to get big picture information about their customers as their customers contact them."

For example, via Oracle's back-office data, customer service representatives will be able to access a caller's buying patterns and other account information so that analysis on that data can be performed and the call can be prioritized according to its importance to a company's bottom line, he added.

Aspect's Contact Servers are designed to manage every aspect of customer contact -- how contacts are lined up, how they are routed, how information associated with them is handled, and how service levels are maintained. It is designed to integrate CRM (customer relationship management) resources via a graphical interface for developing complex CRM applications while making real-time information available to contact center agents and other users.

The alliance means that common customers of the two companies will not need to spend as much on professional services to enable the two systems to work together, said Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics, a Pittstown, N.J.-Based CRM industry research firm.

"In this case, some of the integral technology of the Aspect call center system are built on Oracle," McGee-Smith said. "There are native ways these two systems can communicate based on that. They're talking about this integration not requiring a new release of software. This is something that both sets of customer bases can add with a simple patch, no increased investment."

In addition, pulling back-office data from Oracle will allow companies to prioritize how to handle customers based on their buying pattern data from the last business day, as opposed to reviewing patterns monthly, quarterly, or annually, she added.

"There's sort of a new two-way, real-time connection that goes beyond the connectivity they had in the past," she said.