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Onyx beefs up its contact center app

The company's latest release features process automation and intelligent scripting, highlighting the business process and workflow capabilities that are starting to flood the CRM landscape.

Onyx Software Corp. announced a new version of its Contact Center software Monday, trumpeting new agent scripting and business process automation.

New intelligent call scripting capabilities in the Onyx Contact Center help to provide inbound and outbound cross-sell and upsell opportunities, said Patrick Angelel, vice president of marketing and alliances for the Bellevue, Wash., company.

The system provides prompts, rules and information delivery to assist agents in decision making. For example, if a customer calls in to a cable company to change an address, a screen would pop up to help the agent through that call and other types of common customer interactions.

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Additionally, the agent might notice that the customer had inquired about DSL in the past, which wasn't available at the old address but is now. The agent can then provide new information and trigger tasks in other systems, such as transferring the call to a sales representative, Angelel said.

Business processes now drive a sustainable advantage in the marketplace, said Angelel. New workflow capabilities in the application can streamline contact center processes to automatically trigger tasks, he said.

"Business process and workflow capabilities, that's what we're starting to see in the CRM landscape," said Sheryl Kingstone, CRM program manager with Boston-based Yankee Group. "The thing that's critical about business processes within CRM is business processes constantly change. What happens when it changes tomorrow? CRM implementations need to be able to change very quickly."

The new contact center capabilities are modeled after Onyx's experiences in the key verticals of health care, financial services and local government, Angelel said. The new features should compliment the company's current areas of strength.

"This isn't a new market play," Kingstone said. "This is building out to address current and new customers within their area of expertise. It's a deepening and not a broadening."

Onyx acquired the technology of Visuale Inc. of Los Gatos, Calif., at the beginning of April for $4 million. Onyx is seeking a new CEO, and recently reported low earnings.

The new contact center application also provides e-mail management capabilities to facilitate sending, tracking and ongoing management of e-mail within the CRM system. Users can compose messages, include attachments and merge templates, keeping a consistent communication style. Users can also capture a continuous, threaded dialogue to keep track of all communications in chronological order.

Onyx also announced on Monday an alliance with KnowledgeBase Solutions Inc., in Los Angeles. The deal brings KnowledgeBase's knowledge management software into the Onyx Contact Center portfolio of applications, allowing agents to access information to increase call resolution rates and reduce handling time.

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