Sunday, April 29, 2007

OnState: Build Your Own Skype Virtual Call Center

I'm not sure why I've resisted the VOIP revolution for so long. Skype - which I never considered as a contender for enterprise use - has gained some serious functionality and now deserves another look.

OnState for Skype is simply a plug-in or "Extra" which is installed effortlessly on the Skype website.

It's promise is nothing short amazing and possibly disruptive to an entire industry. For around $20 per user monthly it delivers an enterprise-class call management system which includes automatic call distribution (ACD), skills-based routing, chat and click to call web integration, interactive voice response (IVR) and reporting. Whether or not it really delivers (yet) on the promise remains to be seen, but I'm super excited about the concept. From only a review of the tutorials on the OnState website and an install of the trial version, it is immediately clear their are limitations - "Skypein" (land-line) integration must be manually configured, and the skill based routing is largely limited to click-to-call traffic or must be specific to each land-line. Advanced features like database and CLI (caller line identity) driven call routing are still a dream.

The cost per seat of a fully functional call center has been over a hundred dollars a seat, plus hardware, installation and other costs. Now literally anyone with $20 and a skype account can enter the game, with - at least - the fundamentals in place.

OnState is one of several recent third-party companies that have developed innovative Extras for Skype over the last few months.

1 comment:

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