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

Flexible Contact Center Platform

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

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Partners can run a functionally rich and flexible contact center stack in the cloud

Blended Media Desktop

Blended Media Desktop

Fully customisable, multi-channel, multi-session workspace

Work Anywhere

Work Anywhere

Browser-based tools, no software installation required

Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

Scalable, resilient, secure, proven

Customise, Localise, White Label

Customise, Localise, White Label

Design all user interfaces to individual requirements

Integration Via APIs

Integration Via APIs

'Swap out' components and integrate with 3rd party apps

World Class Development

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

All Media Types

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

Agent Multi-Tasking

Agent Multi-Tasking

Work with multiple live contact sessions of any media type

Dynamic Workforce Management

Dynamic Workforce Management

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

Predictive Dialing

Predictive Dialing

Best-of-breed performance under compliance

Optimised Inbound Routing

Optimised Inbound Routing

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

Agent Scripts

Agent Scripts

Help agents achieve and maintain excellence

Voice and Screen Recording

Voice and Screen Recording

See and hear exactly how agents are interacting

Analytics and Data Feeds

Analytics and Data Feeds

Measure and evaluate performance at every level

IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

Design effective automated flows or integrate with 3rd party providers

Customer Journey Tracking

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™

Softdial One™

Highly flexible unified web UI for agents, supervisors and administrators

Softdial Scripter™

Softdial Scripter™

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

Sytel AI Dialer™

Sytel AI Dialer™

Best-of-breed predictive dialing under any compliance rules

Softdial Pathfinder™

Softdial Pathfinder™

Precise routing rules for 'best available' connection

Softdial Media Server™

Softdial Media Server™

Core telephony functions to manage all inbound/ outbound SIP calls

Softdial Reporter™ 5

Softdial Reporter™ 5

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

Softdial Publisher™

Softdial Publisher™

Comprehensive data output to build your own reports

Softdial Recording Monitor™

Softdial Recording Monitor™

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

Softdial Campaign Manager™

Softdial Campaign Manager™

Comprehensive configuration and control for outbound campaigns

Softdial Repository™

Softdial Repository™

Central storage and configuration of common resources

Sytel Global Compliance™

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

Customer Service

Connect quickly to well equipped agents

Sales & Telemarketing

Sales & Telemarketing

Maximise agent productivity with best-of-breed predictive dialing

Healthcare

Healthcare

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

Market Research

Market Research

Best-of-breed predictive dialing with CATI integration

Collections

Collections

Automated inbound/ outbound blending integrated with any debt management app