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Aspect Software, the winner of the 2008 Frost & Sullivan 'Market Leadership' and 'Growth Strategy' awards, is a company solely focused on unified communications for the contact centres. It offers solutions to a variety of small and medium enterprises to improve productivity of their customer service, collections, and sales and telemarketing business processes.
Vandana Sharma of itmagz.com caught up with Rajeev Soni, general manager, South Asia and Middle East, Aspect Software, to learn more about the company's mantra for success.
R.S. At Aspect, we saw early on, the potential of software-powered contact centre solutions and the positive change they could bring to the contact centres. These companies, recognising the need to cut costs, saw flexible unified communication (UC) applications as a strategic investment.
As part of this strategy, on February 12, 2008, we announced the launch of six new UC applications for contact centres, boosting the company's position as a true UC solutions provider, offering both software and services to assist customers in their UC deployments.
This announcement was part of the company's strategy to provide solutions and services that had the potential of turning UC into real business benefits. These offerings also followed the company's last announcement, where it introduced UC services for all its customers that were using Microsoft UC.
i.t. How do you foster the innovation culture in Aspect?
Since the company's inception in 1973, Aspect Software has invented many technologies/tools, namely, the ACD (automated call distributor), diallers, workforce management applications, etc.
Having revolutionised the customer-to-company communications and with nearly 1,000 patents and patent-pending applications worldwide, Aspect continuously innovates to take advantage of the game-changing technologies that can enable companies to deliver more. We extend our innovations to help deliver communication capabilities and services that our customers need to enhance worker productivity and improve business processes.
i.t. How important is it for tech firms to innovate? What kind of future do you foresee for innovations in the IT domain within the country?
IT innovations have a 360-degree impact on how companies interact with their customers. Highlighting the importance of innovative practices, a survey by a leading research group indicates that the most innovative companies outperform their peers by nearly 400 basis points per year in terms of stock price. If this observation is to be believed, Indian companies also need to invest in innovations that enhance their interactions with their customers and establish processes to enable customer-centric innovations.
It is heartening to see the IT industry adopting a multi-pronged approach to innovation. It has incorporated aspects ranging from enhancing the end user experience, optimising resources and creating a technology platform, to keeping pace with the dynamics of the customer expectations, to managing the realities of running a geographically spread and diverse business.
i.t. How do you plan to sustain the current success rate and cross new milestones?
Drawing on decades of insight gained from working with the world's leading companies on mission-critical projects, Aspect will continue to help customers do more with less, by empowering them to substantially improve customer retention and increase the volume of interactions that their staff handles. Aspect will also reduce initial and ongoing integration costs, lower annual maintenance costs and full-time employee costs, and headcount from 10 per cent to 40 per cent.
In the future, we also envisage offering the right applications at the right time, so as to enable businesses to seamlessly extend customer interaction processes beyond the contact centre, and streamline and enhance customer-facing business processes to ensure complete visibility and control.
We also understand how important it is to balance consumer demands against the realities of running your own business. We plan to help in that by increasing the productivity around customer service, collections and sales processes; by aligning our IT priorities with business priorities and standardising and unifying IT infrastructure to drive down TCO, and by hiring, developing and retaining 'quality' people.
i.t. The year 2008 witnessed an interesting blend of strategies and initiatives by the company, specifically designed for contact centres. How did you manage to work so closely with the customers' needs? What kind of preparation does that require?
We work very closely with our customers and partners to understand their business needs and challenges in the contact centre. We organise customer events and partner summits where we interact and discuss best practices. We listen to our customers and their needs in order to design products that meet their requirements. In 2008, we came up with products that were aimed at reducing complexity, increasing contact centre capabilities, and improving the customer experience, which would then make a positive impact on their bottom lines.
So, it is our unmatched focus and expertise, combined with the feedback from our customers that is driving our innovation culture and product offerings, enabling us to innovate around customer-centric processes.