One of the reasons I love working with Cisco Unified Communications (UC) is the flexibility they provide within their solutions to create custom applications. Just about every application within Cisco UC allows for some form of automation or customization. Examples include Communications Manager, Unity Connection, CTIOS Client (a Windows-based agent desktop built on the .Net framework), Finesse (a web-based agent desktop), Customer Voice Portal, and Jabber – just to name a few. You can even write applications to execute on Cisco voice gateways utilizing Tcl (Tool Command Language). 

Some of the key benefits to utilizing Cisco APIs are:

  • Creating tools for quicker and more efficient UC implementations
  • Solving complex customer requirements by expanding on the “out-of-the-box” solution
  • Encouraging collaboration and creativity

Over the years, engineers and developers at CDW have built an impressive set of tools that consultants use every day to implement unified communications. One example is the AXL Provisioning Toolkit, or APT. This toolset simplifies communications manager deployments. Using the tool allows engineers to install new phone systems faster and also provides a level of consistency across our deployments by enforcing best practices. Another key advantage to the tool is the flexibility to customize any site-specific requirements.

The most highly customizable benefit is the ability to create a contact center agent to place a caller into an IVR for authentication purposes without hearing the caller’s DTMF tones. Also, the agent had to be able to remain on the line and wait for the caller to finish authentication. These requirements ruled out any possibility of using the out of the box transfer and conference features. We had to develop a customized CTIOS Agent Desktop, a Customer Voice Portal VXML application (which had to utilize encryption), as well as a Tcl script executing on the voice gateways. There were quite a few challenges along the way, but in the end the customer was very pleased with the results. The next challenge: converting the CTIOS application to Finesse.

Automate and customize your communications with CDW and Cisco. #CDWSolutionsBlog

The aforementioned tools and custom solution have truly been a collaborative effort. Voice engineers, contact center engineers, solution architects, developers, the design team at Cisco, and of course, the customers themselves have been involved one way or another in creating these applications. Nothing gets our creative juices flowing quite like developing something new or helping a customer solve a complex need, whether it is a tool, a custom solution or a mobile application.

The future of Cisco APIs has no intention of slowing down as versions change and new applications are introduced – Spark being one of the newest. Finally, there’s a way to collaboratively write a custom application for a collaboration tool. Now that’s the power of Cisco APIs.

Interested to learn more about how implementing unified communications can improve your ROI? Check out our collection of UC-related white papers, data sheets and case studies for more information.

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