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Oracle and Aspect dial up call centre alliance

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 announced yesterday (10 April), 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.

"Customers who have Oracle can now benefit by connecting directly to call centre operations," said Simon Lonsdale, vice-president of technology alliances Aspect. "All of the agents in their call centre 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 prioritised 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 resources via a graphical interface for developing complex CRM applications while making realtime information available to contact centre 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 CRM industry research firm McGee-Smith Analytics.

"In this case, some of the integral technology of the Aspect call centre system is 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 prioritise 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, realtime connection that goes beyond the connectivity they had in the past," she said.

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