The IPaaS Revolution: Call Centers And Next-Gen Integration Tools
There's a lot of hype around robotic processes and business process automation in the call center, but what technologies are truly driving digital transformation in customer service? The answer: integration platform as a service, otherwise known as iPaaS. Here's what you need to know.
Integration technologies are reaching a new era where virtually all business applications can seamlessly work together, creating an environment where call centers can easily initiate sophisticated multi-application workflows—all without even a line of integration code.
To understand the level of impact and how we got to now, let's back up for a minute. 2017 was the year of Alexa and Siri--those advanced speech recognition and personal assistant devices that helped Americans suddenly become comfortable having conversations with computers. That same “speak and it will be done” consumer-style approach to home tasks is now driving automated complex workflows in the call center, thanks to iPaaS.
So, what is iPaaS exactly? It's visual workflow designer that enables you to create and execute complex integrations, without any coding. API coders no longer needed. Integration development plans will be significantly shorter. The drag-and-drop interface allows the layman to connect and integrate virtually any cloud application, building if-then-what reasoning across various call center systems to automate standard processes. Beyond data screen scraping, these tools truly connect back-end data to apply business rules and logic. API coders and long-term integration development plans may be sign of the past.
Imagine a call center agent using a trigger word to command computers to perform work. For example, “Alexa, send customer 123 item number 456 to shipping address ABC.” With an iPaaS workflow in the background, the computer translates voice to text, monitors for triggers, then automatically launches the appropriate work, creating task tickets, generating billing events, processing the credit card on file, and updating customer accounts in the CRM. No post-call work required—the agent is immediately ready for the next call.
These scenarios are possible because iPaaS can take those Alexa-like technologies and easily construct an automated process across all your customer service applications. Call centers are already testing and releasing these capabilities, and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) vendors are building partnerships with iPaaS technology providers to make it easy for their call center clients to leverage iPaaS advancements.
The possibilities are endless. Take for example the human resources to-do list when agents need on-boarding and off-boarding as well as countless other repetitive tasks. Because iPaaS requires no coding, the innovation anticipation is high. The technology puts the automation power directly into the hands of office administrators and knowledge workers to apply wherever efficiency is needed most. It should also be noted that the iPaaS revolution doesn't require hardware investments. We won't have Alexa-like devices on every desk listening for business commands. Instead, headsets, mobile devices, conference room speakers and any tool that can “listen” will be a potential source for the voice-triggered enterprise.