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Microsoft moves into the contact center

With its Customer Care Framework, Microsoft is leveraging its integration technology on the agent desktop.

Already a presence in the contact center with its desktop, Office and SQL Server offerings, Microsoft is looking to grab a bigger share with its release Monday of the Customer Care Framework.

An integration application, the framework can bring together applications ranging from billing to CRM applications to trouble ticketing and simplifies agent workflow.

"Agents have five, 10, even 20 applications they tab between," said Vish Thirumurthy, group product manager for the communications sector at Microsoft. "We will be able to tie together and integrate all these applications into one screen. It will simplify work for agents and make them more productive."

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The application is based on .NET technology and Web services architecture and can bring together data from different applications.

The Customer Care Framework was initially developed as a contact center application for services businesses, but has now been extended into other areas such as banking, health care and insurance. Some customers have seen call handling time reduced by as much as 15%, Thirumurthy said.

The product comes with reference implementations, best practices and a developer's guide, Thirumurthy said. Typically installed in large contact centers, deals range in size from 500-seat contact centers to 15,000.

Pricing is based on the number of users, applications and the complexity of business processes.

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