CTI Project

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    Computer TelephonyIntegration ( CTI )

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    Computer telephony integration (CTI) is technology that allowsinteractions on a telephone and a computer to be integrated or coordinated. As contact channels have expanded from voice toinclude email, web, and fax, the definition of CTI has expanded to

    include the integration of all customer contact channels (voice,email, web, fax, etc.) with computer systems.

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    W orking of CTI System

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    Common functions

    The following functions can be implemented using CTI:

    Call information display (caller's number (ANI), number dialed(DNIS), and Screen population on answer, with or without using callingline data

    Automatic dialing and computer controlled dialing (fast dial, preview,and predictive dial.)

    Phone control. (answer, hang up, hold, conference, etc.)

    Coordinated phone and data transfers between two parties (ie pass onthe Screen pop with the call)

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    Call center phone control. (logging on; after-call work notification)

    Advanced functions such as call routing, reporting functions, automationof desktop activities, and multi-channel blending of phone, e-mail, and webrequests

    Agent state control (for example, after-call work for a set duration, thenautomatic change to the ready state)

    Call control for Quality Monitoring/call recording software.

    Screen Popup which provides

    Common Controls Continued.

    Caller Line Identification (CLI)Automatic number identification (ANI)Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS)Information entered from an Interactive voice response (IVR)

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    F orms of CTI

    Generally, there are two forms of CTI.

    F irst-party call control

    Third-party call control

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    First party call control operates as if there is a directconnection between the user's computer and the phoneset.

    An example of this would be a modem card in a desktop computer, or a phone plugged directly into the computer.

    Typically, only the computer associated with the phonecan control it, by sending command directly to thephone.

    The computer can control all the functions of thephone, normally at the computer user's direction.

    First party call control is the easiest to implement butis not suited to large scale applications such as callcenters.

    First-party call control

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    Third-party call control is more difficult to implement and often requires adedicated telephony server to interface between the telephone network and thecomputer network.

    Third party call control works by sending commands from a user's computer to a

    telephony server, which in turn controls the phone centrally.

    S pecifically, the user's computer has no direct connection to the phone set, whichis actually controlled by an external device.

    Information about a phone call can be displayed on the corresponding computer workstation's screen while instructions to control the phone can be sent from thecomputer to the telephone network. Any computer in the network has the potentialto control any phone in the telephone system.

    Third-party call control

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    CTI application event flow

    This typically proceeds along the followingsequence:

    S et up

    Deliver (ringing)Establish (answer)Clear (hang up)End

    CTI applications handle events related to

    automated call distribution (ACD) such as:

    Agent logged inAgent availableAgent not availableAgent readyAgent not ready

    A typical CTI application manages the event flow that is generated by the telephony

    switch during the life cycle of a call.

    O ther call events that canbe handled by a typical

    CTI solution include thefollowing:

    H oldRetrieve from holdConference


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    Computer Telephony Integration Standards

    CSTA ( Computer-Supported Telephony Application ) is an ECMA

    ( European Computer Manufacturers Association) standard for computer telephonyintegration which has been ratified by the ITU.

    TSAPI (Telephony S ervice Application Program Interface) is an AT&T/Lucent/Novellstandard for computer telephony integration.

    TAPI ( Telephony Applications Program Interface ) is the Microsoft

    standard for computer telephony integration.

    ANI ( Automatic Number Identification ) is a feature of telephonyintelligent network services that permits subscribers to display or capturethe telephone numbers of calling parties.

    ACD ( Automatic Call Distributor ) In telephony, an is a device or system

    that distributes incoming calls to a specific group of terminals that agentsuse. It is often part of a computer telephony integration ( CTI ) system.

    DNIS ( Dialed Number Identification Service ) is a service sold bytelecommunications companies to corporate clients that lets themdetermine which telephone number was dialed by a customer. This isuseful in determining how to answer an inbound call.

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    Superior total cost of ownership: The web-based CTIarchitecture allows dramatically faster applicationdeployment. Maintenance, upgrades and newapplications are administered centrally on the server in

    real-time, saving the time and expense associated withmaking such changes agent by agent. Needless to say,there is a dramatic decrease in hardware resourceutilization.

    Greater Customer Satisfaction: The web-based CTI

    application provides a unique rich set of data providedfrom Cisco CTI server, together with information provided from the customer back end system. S uchinformation will allow the agents to service thecustomer better, hence resulting in greater customer satisfaction.

    CTI Benefits

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    Location Independence: The web-based CTI architecture allows agents access tocentralized applications from virtually anywhere, given the agent has corporateconnectivity.

    Platform Independence: The web-based CTI architecture allows the agents' webclients to work independently, regardless of the hardware or O S type.

    Localization: With I S Ts constant commitment and understanding of the localmarket, the agent web-based application has the option to support both Arabic andEnglish interfaces, depending on the preferences of the agent.

    Latest Technologies: The agent web-based CTI solution is built with the latestJava/J2EE technologies using the latest version of JDK level JDK1.5.

    Outstanding Performance & Scalability: Typically increasing the processing speedof the CTI web server environment hosted on the Oracle application server willdirectly improve system performance. With the application server deployed on a high

    performance server, the solution could scale to thousands of agents with no virtuallimitation.

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    Automatic Number Identification (ANI) is a feature of telephony intelligent network services that permits subscribersto display or capture the telephone numbers of calling parties.

    The ANI service was created by AT&T for internal longdistance billing purposes, and is not related to newer caller ID

    services. Inward WAT S is purchased by customers so thatother telephone users (for example, prospective customers)can call the number toll free. The customer is issued adistinctive toll-free telephone number beginning with a specialarea code such as 800, or more recently, 888, 877, or 866.S ubscribers to these numbers are typically called Inward

    WAT S subscribers.

    A related piece of information conveyed to the InwardWAT S subscriber is the Dialed Number Identification S ervice(DNI S ), the number that the caller dialed when accessing theservice. With the information, the service provider can have

    several toll-free numbers directed to the same call center and provide unique service based on the number dialed

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    DNI S can also be used to identify other call routing information. For example,the WAT S service can be configured to send a specific DNI S number that isassigned to callers from geographic regions based on city, area code, state, or country.

    ANI has two components, information digits, which identify the class of service, and the calling party telephone number.


    B ecause ANI is unrelated to caller ID, the caller's telephone number and linetype are captured by ANI equipment even if caller ID blocking is activated.

    The destination telephone company switching office can relay the originatingtelephone number to ANI delivery services subscribers.

    Toll-free Inward WAT S number subscribers and large companies normallyhave access to ANI information, either instantly via installed equipment, or from a monthly billing statement. Residential subscribers can obtain access to

    ANI information through third party companies that charge for the service.

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    Automatic number announcement

    In telephony, an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) is a device or system that distributesincoming calls to a specific group of terminals that agents use. It is often part of acomputer telephony integration (CTI) system.

    Routing incoming calls is the task of the ACD system. ACD systems are often found inoffices that handle large volumes of incoming phone calls from callers who have no needto talk to a specific person but who require assistance from any of multiple persons (e.g.,customer service representatives) at the earliest opportunity.

    The system consists of hardware for the terminals and switches, phonelines, andsoftware for the routing strategy. The routing strategy is a rule-based set of instructionsthat tells the ACD how calls are handled inside the system. Typically this is an algorithmthat determines the best available employee or employees to respond to a given incomingcall. To help make this match, additional data are solicited and reviewed to find out whythe customer is calling. S ometimes the caller's caller ID or ANI is used; more often a

    simple Interactive voice response is used to ascertain the reason for the call.Originally, the ACD function was internal to the Private B ranch Exchange of the

    company. A system was then designed to enable common computing devices, such asserver PCs, to make routing decisions.

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    An additional function for these external routing applications is to enable CTI.This allows improved efficiency for call center agents by matching incoming phone calls with relevant data on their PC via screen pop.

    A common protocol to achieve this is C S TA; however, almost every P BX vendor has its own flavor of C S TA, and C S TA is quite hard to program

    because of its complex nature.

    Various vendors have developed intermediate software that hides thesecomplexities and expedites the work of programmers.

    Also, these protocols enable call centers consisting of P BX s from multiplevendors to be treated as one virtual contact center.

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    (DNI S ) is a service sold by telecommunications companies to corporate clientsthat lets them determine which telephone number was dialed by a customer. Thisis useful in determining how to answer an inbound callThe Telecommunications company sends a DNI S number to the client phone

    system during the call setup. The DNI S number is typically 4 to 10 digits inlength.

    For example, a company may have a different toll free number for each productline it sells. If a call center is handling calls for multiple product lines, the switchthat receives the call can examine the DNI S , then play the appropriate recorded

    greeting. Another example of multiple toll free numbers might be used for multi-lingual identification.

    A dedicated toll free number might be set up for S panish speaking customers.

    With IVR (Interactive voice response) systems, DNI S is used for dispatching purposes by using it as routing information to determine which script or serviceshould be played based on the number that was dialed to reach the IVR platform.

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    A predictive dialer is a computerized system that automaticallydials batches of telephone numbers for connection to agents

    assigned to sales or other campaigns. Predictive dialers arewidely used in call centers


    The autodialer preceded the predictive dialer. While the basicautodialer merely automatically dials telephone numbers for callcenter agents who are idle or waiting for a call, the predictive

    dialer uses a variety of algorithms to predict both the availabilityof agents and called party answers, adjusting the calling processto the number of agents it predicts will be available when thecalls it places are expected to be answered.

    The predictive dialer monitors the answers to the calls it places,detecting how the calls it makes are answered. It discards

    unanswered calls, busy numbers, disconnected lines, answersfrom fax machines, answering machines and similar automatedservices, and only connects calls answered by people to waitingsales representatives. Thus, it frees agents from the task of manually dialing telephone numbers and subsequently listeningto ring tones, unanswered or unsuccessful calls.

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    A predictive dialer can dramatically increase the time an agent spends oncommunication rather than waiting

    Call list is the data loaded to the dialer before commencing a campaign. The datais generally derived from a large database such as a telephone directory or similar listing from CRM software. S ome predictive dialers generate call lists and reportcall attempts. Unsuccessful calls are often analyzed to determine if the number

    called needs to be called back later or needs special treatment, such as a manual or autodialed call by an agent to listen to an answer machine message.

    Predictive dialer systems are commonly used by telemarketing organizationsinvolved in B 2C (business to consumer) calling as it allows their salesrepresentatives to have much more customer contact time. Predictive dialers mayalso be used by market survey companies and debt collection services who need to

    contact and personally speak to a lot of people by telephone.

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    The predictive dialer exhibits predictive behavior when its dialing algorithm producesmore call attempts (dials) than the number of agents currently logged in and availableto handle calls. The predictive dialing happens when the predictive dialer dials ahead of the agents becoming available or when the predictive dialer matches a forecastnumber of available agents with a forecast number of available called parties. Thematching and dialing ahead perspectives provide the large increases in dial rates andagent productivity.

    S ome predictive dialers incorporate "answering machine detection", which tries todetermine if a live person or answering machine picked up the phone. This is onecause of the typical delays that one may experience before being connected to anagent.

    If not enough calls are made ahead, agents will sit idle, whereas if there are too manycalls made and there are not enough agents to handle them, then the call is typicallydropped .

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    The advanced predictive dialer determines and uses many operating characteristicsthat it learns during the calling campaign and adjusts automatically to the behaviour of an ongoing campaign. Examples of such statistics include call connection rates (bothcurrent and average for recent past days by hour of the day), average agent connectiontime, geographic location dialed, etc.

    It uses these statistics continually to make sophisticated predictions so as to minimizeagent idle time while controlling occurrences of nuisance calls, which are answeredcalls without the immediate benefit of available agents.

    An advanced predictive dialer can readily maintain the ratio of nuisance calls toanswered calls at less than a fraction of one percent while still dialing ahead.

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    Predictive dialing systems use algorithms to control the ratio of calls to agents. B ecausea dialer cannot know what proportion of its calls will connect until it has made them, it

    will alter its dialing rate depending on how many connections it manages to achieve.Occasionally the system will get more live parties on call attempts than there are agentsavailable to take those calls.

    Consequently, the dialer will disconnect or delay distribution of calls that cannot be

    distributed to an agent. This is known as a silent call or a nuisance call. The called partyhears only silence when the predictive dialer does not at least play a recorded message.

    The experience for those who receive a predictive dialer call can be less satisfactory.There may be an appreciable period of silence before a call is routed to a salesrepresentative.

    This annoys people and also gives them a chance to hang up. If no sales representativeis available for a successful call, it is often disconnected.

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    Types of Predictive Dialers

    Predictive dialers perform the same function but the architecture and deliverymethods can vary greatly between manufacturers. There are several types of

    predictive dialing: S oftware , Hardware , S mart , and Hosted dialers.

    In recent years, 'mixed' type predictive dialers have emerged. These predictivedialers are based on simpler hardware, such as voice modems, and more powerfulsoftware for answering machine detection and call progress detection. The biggestadvantage of this type of predictive dialers is the substantially lower cost of ownership.

    Soft dialers

    Software-only solutions use I S DN messaging, or a CTI link to provide call progressanalysis for calls made. S oftware-only dialers are often cheaper because they do notrequire expensive telephony components, but may offer less functionality than moretraditional 'hard dialer' solutions, particularly when it comes to detecting answeringmachines (AMD) and integration with other 'voice' related functions (voicerecording, I V R, speech recognition, text-to-speech etc.).

    Open S ource dialers have proven themselves in the production world and enable

    call centers of all sizes to lower costs.

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    Smart predictive dialers

    Smart predictive dialers combine auto dialing with voice messaging and phone agentswho are prepared to handle calls initiated by the dialer. Answering machines, busysignals, and unanswered calls are processed in a manner similar to that of a normal

    predictive dialing system. However, when a 'live' answer is detected, the dialer plays anintroductory recorded message, giving the call recipient the option to talk with an agent tocomplete the transaction. This message is a consistent greeting that identifies the caller,the nature of the call, and the option to speak with an agent.


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    H osted predictive dialers

    Hosted predictive dialers (aka V irtual Predictive Dialers, Web-EnabledPredictive Dialers, V oIP Predictive Dialers) use the S oftware as a S ervice(S aaS ) model to provide organizations and individuals with a predictive dialer capability. Typically, the only requirement for a firm to use a hosted predictivedialer system is a computer with an Internet connection and a telephone linefor each agent.

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    Screen pop

    For call centers that provide integration between a telephone system and an agent's PC, a

    screen pop is used to display information about a call that has just been sent to the callcentre agent.

    For Inbound calls the data displayed will typically contain information about the call suchas the following:

    1. Caller Line Identification (CLI)

    2. Automatic number identification (ANI)

    3. Dialed Number Identification S ervice (DNI S )

    4. Information entered from an Interactive voice response (I V R)

    Extended information derived from one of the above. For example, an order number enteredusing the I V R is used to look up order information from a database, which is then displayedfor the agent

    For Outbound call the data displayed will typically contain information that was sent to theoutbound dialler as part of the customer call record.

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    Telephony Application Programming Interface

    The Telephony Application Programming Interface (TAPI ) is a Microsoft

    Windows API, which provides computer telephony integration and enables PCsrunning Microsoft Windows to use telephone services. Different versions of TAPI areavailable on different versions of Windows.

    TAPI was introduced in 1993 as the result of joint development by Microsoft andIntel. The first publicly available version of TAPI was version 1.3, which was

    released as a patch on top of Microsoft Windows 3.1.V

    ersion 1.3 is no longer supported, although some M S DN development library CDs still contain the files and patches.

    With Microsoft Windows 95, TAPI was integrated into the operating system. Thefirst version on Windows 95 was TAPI 1.4. TAPI 1.4 had support for 32-bitapplications.

    The TAPI standard supports both connections from individual computers and LANconnections serving any number of computers.

    TAPI 2.0 was introduced with Windows NT 4.0. V ersion 2.0 was the first version onthe Windows NT platform. It made a significant step forward by supporting ACD andPBX -specific functionality.

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    TAPI 3.0 was released in 1999 together with Windows 2000. This version enables IPtelephony ( V oIP) by providing simple and generic methods for making connections

    between two (using H.323) or more (using IP Multicast) computers and now also offersthe ability to access any media streams involved in the connection.

    Windows X P included both TAPI 3.1 and TAPI 2.2. TAPI 3.1 supports the MicrosoftComponent Object Model and provides a set of COM objects to application


    This version uses File Terminals which allow applications to record streaming data to afile and play this recorded data back to a stream. A U SB Phone T S P (Telephony S erviceProvider) was also included which allows an application to control a U SB phone and useit as a streaming endpoint.

    The Telephony S erver Application Programming Interface (T S API) is a similar standarddeveloped by Novell for NetWare servers.

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    TAPI compliant hardware

    Telephony hardware that supports TAPI includes most voice modems and sometelephony cards such as Dialogic boards.


    The workflow of a modern contact center is based on two main areas: the media for communicating with the customer and the platform for servicing customer requests.CTI is the integration of the communications media (that is, phone, e-mail, or Web)with the customer service platform (that is, customer databases, transaction

    processing systems, or CRM (customer relationship management) software packages).

    An intuitive web-based CTI-enabled application will be developed & deployed for

    all agents to service customer driven requests transferred from the C V P. The web- based CTI application is one of the business applications that will appear in theconsolidated Agent S creen. The web-based CTI enabled application leverages theCisco CTI provided toolkits which provides numerous application programminginterfaces (APIs) for customization and integration.

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    Ready-to-Use R F P Master

    This Ready-to-Use R F P Master is focused on selecting computer telephonyintegration system software solutions, and provides benefits that go far beyond thoseof traditional R F Ps that are limited to asking vendors about the availability of CTIsoftware features .

    Specialized for use in complex information system environments, this R F P Mastercollects information from vendors about all apects of the computer telephonyintegration software implementation project they are proposing.

    Actual screens and questions from this R F P are shown below to illustrate how itenables you to easily collect the unique metrics needed to successfully identify,acquire, and implement the computer telephony integration software solution bestsuited to your company's needs. (Click thumbnails to enlarge)

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    A Detailed & Comprehensive List of:

    Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) System F eatures :

    400+ of pre-defined computer telephony integration R F P criteria ensure noimportant business requirements or software features "slip through the cracks".All are in a quantitative format that guarantees vendor responses will bemeaningful, consistent, and easy to compare.

    All questions are professionally prepared by application specialists to addressBOT H the STANDARD features and EXCEPTION CASE software functionsrequired.

    Unlike other R F Ps that try (and fail) to gather useful solutions data aboutcomplex computer telephony integration system features, R F P Masters are not

    constrained to the use of summary-level "Yes" or "No" answers.

    This R F P Master uses a F eature Support Matrix ( F SM) that identify BOTH feature AVAILABILITY and DELIVERY Method.

    This R F P Master function is useful during both the computer telephonyintegration software selection AND the system implementation phases of largeprojects.

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    W eighted Grade Score Graph

    Compares the W eighted Grade Point Score calculated for each proposedsystem. This is calculated as follows: The vendor response to each R F Pquestion is assigned an unweighted "raw" score. This raw score is thenmultiplied by the weight factor you entered previously (default = 1) forthat R F P question to calculate the weighted score for each response. All of

    these individual scores are then totaled for use in this comparison. Thisscore is essentially a measure of how well a computer telephonyintegration software system fits your business and software needs.

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    Color-Coded, "Apples-to-Apples" Comparison of Proposed S ystems

    CTI Software Comparison

    These comparison matrices automatically change vendor response cellbackground color to GREEN, YELLO W , or RED, to reflect how favorable eachresponse is to your needs

    Compared to the tedious task of reviewing hundreds of mono-color Yes/No answers,these colored responses allow problem areas to be spotted more easily, and risk

    assessment is made much more accurate. All required response comparison matrices areincluded and ready-to-use Quickly and easily compare computer telephony integrationsoftware system proposals side-by-side, feature by feature, in detailed comparisons youcontrol! Keep your project on-schedule and under-budget.

    Vendor Response Input Validation

    Vendors must answer each R F P question by choosing from a pre-defined list of possible responses. See below for an example of this drop-down list. This forces allvendors to respond to each computer telephony integration (CTI) softwarequestion in a consistent, standard manner. Eliminates the days of time typicallywasted trying to compare the inconsistent or incomplete vendor responses obtained

    by using traditional methods.

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    R eal Time Usage of Computer Telephony Integration

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    1) W ikipedia

    2 ) Cisco

    3 ) Nortel

    4 ) IEC ( International Engineering Consortium )

    5) SCIAM ( Scientific American )

    6) UCN

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