What is an Ecosystem?

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Every business has stakeholders.  The relationship between these stakeholders is at the heart of the growth and long-term viability of your business.  We at inContact like to sum up all of these relationships and call it an ecosystem.  You may have been thinking something more like a forest or a coral reef.  In any case there are lessons to be learned and applied.

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Coder Royale 2011

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This year at ICUC marked the 3rd Annual Coder Royale!  It seems that each year is getting more and more competitive, as well as more and more creative.  This year’s Coder Royale theme was “Innovation in the Contact Center” and the only requirement was that you used the inCloud API. The ingenuity that we were able to demonstrate to our live audience was so cool and, can I get a drum roll, please?  The winner is… Pete Blackmer from SpiceCSM. 

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Let’s Get Ready to Code! Announcing the Annual Coder Royale Contest

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It’s three weeks until ICUC and I’m looking forward to one of my favorite events: The Coder Royale.

Each year we award a cash prize to the developer with the best solution to the challenge we lay down. Every year we are thrilled with the inventiveness and creativity applied to the power of the inContact platform.

We’d love for you to submit an entry!

Here’s a quick overview of the competition… 

This year’s challenge is around code reusability and our new inCloud API. For the purposes of this competition, we’re defining code reusability as any code written that utilizes inContact and can be used by multiple customers. The reusable code can be facilitated by changing parameters related to activating the customer and deploying inContact scripts to the customer’s business unit.

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The inContact Platform – Part 3

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The inCloud Marketplace, Community, and API are under development and we look forward to releasing them to you in a few months.  In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of things to come.  A big thanks to inContact’s Engineering Services team for building the first four inCloud applications:

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The inContact Platform – Part 2

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In my first blog of this series, I told you about the hot new term PaaS.  I think it’s human nature to want to label things as “new”.  In fact, we call things “new and improved” all the time, but I still don’t understand how something can be new AND improved.  It just doesn’t make sense.  With that said, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: as I previously mentioned, inContact has been doing this for more than 10 years, and (here's the secret) we prefer the simple moniker of Software as a Service.  Why? Well, it’s not SaaS unless it is extensible.

So this “new” idea of PaaS is really just a marketing scheme; one of which I am more than willing to take advantage of.  This movement gives me an opportunity to introduce some new initiatives at inContact, behind which I am the grand master.  Without further ado, inContact will soon release a new partner and developer program called, get ready for it, inCloud, and at that center is the platform side of inContact.

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The inContact Platform – Part 1

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At inContact, we know that we’re early adopters and pioneers of SaaS technology.  My blood runs inContact orange, so when I hear that there’s a new “hot” acronym out there in my world, I have to investigate and share.  The latest term?  Here’s a hint: It has nothing to do with Easter egg dye, although you might think so at first glance.  The term is PaaS (pass, not paws), where the P stands for Platform.

Platform-as-a-Service is the embodiment of a SaaS technology that has embraced extensibility and application development as part of their platform.  Think Force.com, Google AppEngine and Amazon.com.

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Why Social Media is a Disrupter for Call Centers

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Social media is a phenomenon that has literally changed our lives.  Today, I would like to make the case for why social media is more of a disruptive to call centers, than you may at first believe.  Call centers at the core are massive routing systems.  We route phone calls, emails, tickets, SMS, and chats to correctly skilled agents.  

Did you know that in call centers today that email, SMS, and chat are often relegated to a specific set of agents?  Why?  One reason is that not everyone has the required grammatical skills but there are other reasons as well.

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Rules to Live By…

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On CBS’s wildly popular television series NCIS, Leroy Jethro Gibbs (portrayed by Mark Harmon) leads the NCIS Major Case Response Team.  As an ex-marine sniper with a distinguished career, Gibbs has a series of “rules” that he lives his life by and often takes the opportunity to teach his team to follow the same rules.  For example rule #6 is "Never apologize, it's a sign of weakness".  

Though I doubt Gibb's rule #6 would work in your center, here are some rules for running a call center (head slaps not included).

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Changing Gears

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It is with mixed emotions that I annouce that I am leaving the inContact Professional Services team to join inContact’s Product and Strategy organization. (Don't worry, I'm still very much a part of this company.) I have been working in the PS department basically since its inception and I have truly enjoyed working directly with our clients for so many years.  It has been my privilege to assist so many of you on the development and deployment of your customer service initiatives.  In the process you have taught me a great deal about what matters to you and your customers and for that I thank you.

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Great Things Afoot at Google

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Google just recently had their Google I/O conference on May 10-11, 2011.  I watched what I could from my office here in Salt Lake since Google was kind enough to stream it.  I do wish that included the limited edition Galaxy Tab (10.1 running Android 3.0) that was given to all 5,000 attendees.  The event was interesting and it is neat to see how Google is driving the internet and web technology as a whole.  The highlights for me were definitely the progress that has been made with HTML 5 and WebGL.

For a quick review of the event I recommend you check out the event's home page here.

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