Designing for the Cloud – Challenge #1 – Extensibility

November, 2019

How do you provide a framework for this that is easy to use and mitigates the effects of misconfiguration and third-party integrations that aren’t 100% reliable?

In our previous blog, we introduced 6 major challenges in developing a cloud contact center platform. Here, we look further at Challenge #1 – Extensibility. How do you provide a framework for this that is easy to use and mitigates the effects of misconfiguration and third-party integrations that aren’t 100% reliable?

The short answer is by putting APIs at the heart of your platform design. But not just any APIs will do.

There are 2 common, but suboptimal, approaches to APIs in the marketplace:

  • In-house platform APIs
    “Here is the documentation and training resources for our comprehensive suite of APIs.”
    Sounds great, doesn’t it? Vendors in the contact center space make lots of noise about their APIs. The sad truth is, at least for established brands, that contact center platform APIs tend to be built after the fact. The APIs may be comprehensive but are unlikely to have a natural fit.

 

  • Cloud platform APIs
    These tend to be much better because the API is the product. However, this tends to hide a lack of depth.
    Imagine you want to customise a car that you’re buying; ideally you want a factory extra or two, and bigger alloy wheels and a custom paint job. When you get to the dealership, what do you get? A powertrain attached to a rolling chassis, primed in grey.
    So with next generation cloud contact center APIs; yes, you can have what you want, but expect to have to do some serious work to get a solution in shape.

At Sytel, we take a different approach, born of our roots as an OEM provider of technology. Here are some fundamental principles that we’ve adopted when developing our API offering:

  • Own the API message routing and queueing infrastructure
    Web services and URL rewrite works (mostly) but limits scale and resilience. Beware the purists who say this is how things should be. Doubly beware of vendors who push API routing responsibility to the client application.

 

  • Develop your APIs for your own product to consume
    For example, Softdial Pathfinder™ (Sytel’s toolset for BI-based routing and agent selection) was developed in parallel with our subscriber APIs allowing third parties to interact with the routing dialog. This approach proves out APIs in real life, being adjusted and improved wherever they are used and found to be lacking. In this way, their reliability and practical usefulness can be assured.

 

  • Assume that everything is a request, and design handling for the failure case
    For example, if a third party application subscribes to landlord-level routing of media sessions and then crashes, the platform still needs to operate to the best of its ability with sensible default behaviours.

 

  • Mitigate the law of unintended consequences
    If you give customers the ability to interact with the core of an ACD (or ASD – Automatic Session Distributor – the multi-media equivalent of an ACD) platform, then there will be times when any business rules implemented have unintended consequences. Services that consume APIs need to mitigate these and provide the right feedback.

 

  • Frame your APIs to suit the integration activity
    A RESTful API makes a great deal of sense for agent/supervisor web UI, but is impractical for activities such as real-time session routing; for example, imagine an outbound screening service handling 2000 screening requests per second.
How we achieve all of these things technically is by taking a holistic approach to APIs and underlying protocols. This allows us to deliver all of our API landscape in all of the standard forms that third-party developers work with. It also enforces the discipline on Sytel’s R&D team to ensure that APIs are complete and cohesive.

For more information about how our products are designed for the cloud, just talk to us.

What We Offer

Sytel Limited develops and supplies Softdial Contact Center® (SCC), offering multimedia, multichannel, fully blended cloud contact center solutions, for quick and easy deployment by partners offering CCaaS or enterprise users. All Sytel cloud components are secure, resilient and scale seamlessly from 10 agents to 10,000+, whether local, mobile or remote.

  • Flexible Contact Center Platform

    Softdial Contact Center™ – tightly integrated modules, designed to deliver at scale

  • Blended Media Desktop

    Fully customisable, multi-channel, multi-session workspace

  • Work Anywhere

    Browser-based tools, no software installation required

  • Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

    Scalable, resilient, secure, proven

  • Customise, Localise, White Label

    Design all user interfaces to individual requirements

  • Integration Via APIs

    ‘Swap out’ components and integrate with 3rd party apps

  • World Class Development

    Continuous evolution pushing technical boundaries

Capabilities

Softdial Contact Center™ (SCC) is designed to be flexible, extensible and scalable, integrating with any legacy equipment, and meeting the most complex of requirements.

  • All Media Types

    Voice, chat, email, social, etc – fully integrated and blended

  • Agent Multi-Tasking

    Work with multiple live contact sessions of any media type

  • Dynamic Media Blending

    Automated, ‘best available’ decisions to blend and balance work load across all media types

  • Predictive Dialing

    Best-of-breed performance under compliance

  • Intelligent Routing

    Smart rules and ‘best-available’ decisions to drive great customer service

  • Agent Scripts

    Help agents achieve and maintain excellence

  • Voice and Screen Recording

    See and hear exactly how agents are interacting

  • Analytics and Data Feeds

    Measure and evaluate performance at every level

  • IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

    Design effective automated flows or integrate with 3rd party providers

  • Customer Journey Tracking

    Stored customer contact history, to aid routing and add context to conversations

Modules

A complete suite of tools, with unique flexibility to extend and swap out modules to deliver a tailored contact center solution for any environment

  • Softdial One™

    Highly flexible unified web UI for agents, supervisors and administrators

  • Softdial Scripter™

    Create complex process flow scripts for agents, IVR, chatbots and other applications

  • Sytel AI Dialer™

    Best-of-breed predictive dialing under any compliance rules

  • Softdial Pathfinder™

    Precise routing rules for ‘best available’ connection

  • Softdial Media Server™

    Core telephony functions to manage all inbound/ outbound SIP calls

  • Softdial Reporter™ 5

    Fully customisable performance stats, charts and reports, across all channels

  • Softdial Publisher™

    Comprehensive data output to build your own reports

  • Softdial Recording Monitor™

    Audio and screen recording of agent activity to ensure the highest standards

  • Softdial Campaign Manager™

    Comprehensive configuration and control for outbound campaigns

  • Softdial Repository™

    Central storage and configuration of common resources

  • Sytel Global Compliance™

    Flexible ‘no contact’ rules to protect contact center and consumer

Markets

Performance and efficiency for a wide range of business applications

  • Customer Service

    Connect quickly to well equipped agents

  • Sales & Telemarketing

    Maximise agent productivity with best-of-breed predictive dialing

  • Healthcare

    Secure, highly-configurable multichannel communications for excellence in patient care

  • Market Research

    Best-of-breed predictive dialing with CATI integration

  • Collections

    Automated inbound/ outbound blending integrated with any debt management app