Cisco's Platform Makes It Easier to Analyze Contact Center Data

Ann All
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Business Analytics: Shifting Hindsight to Insight and Foresight

Highlights from a study conducted by Deloitte on business analytics usage.

Although journalists are professional skeptics, like everyone else we tend to gravitate toward shiny things. One of the shiniest areas of enterprise software right now is anything "social." Thus in yesterday's post about a trio of new Cisco products, I focused on SocialMiner, a social media monitoring tool.


A less overtly flashy (and as yet unnamed ) new product is what Cisco calls a "new network-based rich media capture platform that supports the recording, playback, live streaming and storage of media, including audio and video, with rich recording metadata." Big deal, you might think, another call recording solution.


Yet it does have the potential to be a big deal. As Ross Daniels, Cisco's director of Market Management, Collaboration Solutions, told me, while call recording is a contact center commodity, many solutions still don't handle digital media well and proprietary formats make it difficult to retrieve calls once they are recorded.


The real value isn't in recording the calls but in what you do with call data. Analyzing calls can yield insights that help achieve business goals or solve business problems, said Richard Snow, Ventana Research's global VP and research director, Customer and Contact Center, when I interviewed him recently about his new report on contact center analytics. Analysis of contact center data is hampered, he said, by the "almost unintelligible" data streams produced by some proprietary systems, and by contact centers' reliance on Excel spreadsheets as a primary analytics tool. Excel's usefulness is limited, since spreadsheets can't handle truly large volumes of data or data in multiple formats and can't be used for real-time analysis.


Cisco agrees, said Daniels, and intends to make it easier to access data through a standard set of interfaces. The standard part is important. Daniels believes the call recording market will follow a similar trajectory as the interactive voice response (IVR) market, which was dominated by highly proprietary, vertically integrated solutions until the introduction of the VoiceXML standard. He said:

The real value isn't in the capture layer but in areas further off the stack. We see the capture layer almost as a commodity. The value comes in everything you do on top of the commodity.

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