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October 05, 2015

The Advantages of a Native Skype for Business Contact Center Solution

By Tracey E. Schelmetic - TMCnet Contributor

For companies and their contact centers hoping to take advantage of unified communications (UC) features at a reasonable cost and with minimal maintenance, there are a lot of options available. Some older platforms tend to be UC-enabled, but not build from the ground up as a truly UC contact center solution. In an era in which customer expect true omnichannel customer support and companies achieve this (in part) by engaging in multimedia collaboration across the enterprise, this is an important distinction.

Chicago-based Clarity Connect offers a native contact center solution for Skype (News - Alert) for Business, Microsoft’s next-generation of Microsoft Lync since its purchase of Skype in 2011. Late in September, Microsoft released Skype for Business 2016. Clarity (News - Alert) Connect’s flagship solution is a cloud-managed contact center product designed to extend Skype for Business with the features required to manage communications with customers, employees and business partners, and including the ability to extend Skype for Business’ features to agent desktops.

Today, a large number of companies have adopted Lync or Skype for Business in some way and are planning on further adoption of more features. By extending Skype to the contact center, companies eliminate the information siloes that often exist between the contact center and other customer-facing functions, allowing them to provide better omnichannel customer support for very reasonable cost.

In a recent interview, Clarity project manager Jeremy Puent told TMCnet that Skype for Business has changed the way people work. Microsoft (News - Alert) has developed a single product that provides all aspects of UC in one place, as opposed to a collection of products made to look like UC.

“Regardless of whether I am in the office or remote, my ability to quickly collaborate with anyone, inside or outside of my organization, through IM, voice, video or desktop share has been a complete game changer for how productive I am,” said Puent. “Skype for Business has become the way I do business.”

Most contact center solutions providers today are offering at least a cloud component, but frequently it’s a proprietary cloud offering that tie customers to that company’s cloud and platform. Puent says Clarity refers to it as “Cloud 1.0.”

“Why not let the customer leverage the cloud for some functions, but choose where the software should deployed?” he asked. “With Clarity Connect, we offer a cloud management aspect to our product that uses standards-based cloud technology and allows customer to self-install, configure and manage the application but choose how and where they want the software deployed: on-premises, with a host, or in a third- party data center, for example.”   

Puent says the technology is particularly helpful when it comes to channel partners, since keeping these partners current often requires a lot of investment on the part of vendors.

“Our partner program allows partners to function at the level they’re comfortable with, whether they want to be referral partner or a partner with committed resources focused on staying current on our product and providing their customers end-to-end support for Connect including sales, installation, configuration and support,” he told TMCnet. “We’re seeing huge success and growth with this channel.”

Puent noted that the roadmap Microsoft has laid out for Skype for Business is very exciting, and will allow companies such as Clarity to continue to grow their products and business with the expansion of exciting newer features such as WebRTC functionality.

Clarity Connect will be participating on the Contact Center for Skype for Business Panel at ITEXPO Anaheim 2015, which takes place from October 5 - 8 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. Clarity Connect’s presentation will take place in the Skype for Business Pavilion on Tuesday, October 6 at 7 p.m. In addition, Puent will speak during the Skype for Business in the Contact Center session on Tuesday, October 6 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 202A. Clarity will also be exhibiting at the Skype for Business Pavilion at booth #612 on the floor of the exhibit hall.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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