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Enabling True Unified Communications Solutions for Customer Care with Microsoft Lync Server 2013

by Jeremy Puent, Product Manager at Clarity Consulting

The term, “Unified Communications” is a buzz word that’s thrown around a lot nowadays. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Unified Communications is taking the industry by storm. As the UC market continues to grow, and the legacy systems try and catch the shooting star, the term is now being applied to products that, while on the surface seem unified, are really just a mix of independent products and infrastructure tied with a front-end bow to look like a single product.  Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to build a snazzy UI than it is to rebuild your communications products as a single piece of software. 

By starting from scratch, Mircrosoft’s first-mover advantage is paying off as Lync has become the model for true Unified Communications technology.  Recent findings from InfoTrack for Unified Communications show Microsoft’s UC leader position in the marketplace and numerous other analysts have highlighted its success as not only a leader for IM and collaboration but some have argued it is now the leader in new voice deployments in the Enterprise space.  

One significant reason Microsoft has been experiencing success with Lync is the healthy and ever expanding ecosystem of 3rd party products that are built native to Lync utilizing the available APIs.  It only took attending the Lync Conference in Las Vegas to see how opening up native APIs can allow for rapid-paced innovation. 

At Clarity we recently announced the release of Clarity Connect 3.2, our next major version of our customer care solution native to Microsoft Lync 2013. With access to the native APIs, we were able to develop on a true Unified Communications platform and deliver robust functionality for customer care and help desk environments that want to leverage Microsoft Lync.

For example, we added native Outlook integration so that organizations can dynamically route emails sent to a contact center directly into a user’s Outlook inbox, intelligently routing messages based on the skill-sets of the users. True Unified Communications means an end result of lower cost of support, training and a reduction of overall efforts to manage and maintain the infrastructure. It’s a beautiful thing.

The secret to true UC is unifying the experience for the users, and the approach has to start with the overall architecture and reach all the way down to the users. With that in mind, providing a native Exchange integration and using Apps for Office with Outlook and OWA gave us the unique solution we were looking for. Clarity Connect 3.2 allows the organizations to leverage Microsoft technologies they already use, making training almost nonexistent, support for your organization as simple as possible, and the user experience seamless and powerful.

The next stage in taking the unified experience further is to bring it across platforms to simplify the workflow at the user level. Embedding the other strategic products into one smart interface is commonly referred to as a Screen Pop.

According to VentureBeat.com, Salesforce.com is one of the most commonly used CRM systems in use today. A natural choice for allowing for seamless integration, it was important for us to allow customer information to load directly within our agent console, allowing agents to quickly and easily receive customer context such as account and call history information. 

 Clarity Connect Screen Shot

Building out-of-the-box third party system integration is taking the unified concept across the business solution stack and beyond just the communication stack, to simplifying the users’ experience. It’s putting the power of Unified Communications into the hands of the users to control the experience for their customers, whether we’re talking about a traditional contact center, an internal help desk, travel desk, or any other intelligently routed communication or expert resource finder within your organization.

Jeremy Puent is a Product Manager at Clarity Consulting. He has spent the past 12 years as a consultant in the contact center world doing deployments of all sizes.  You can reach Jeremy at jpuent@claritycon.com or on Twitter @jpuent

http://connect.claritycon.com/





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