Today, every company needs some sort of customer engagement — whether they know it or not.  Customer engagement has metamorphosed to include not only external customers but internal customers as well.  There are many options out there for companies to choose from, but which is the best for you?

This post focuses on Cisco products related to customer engagement and how you can use their underlying platform and partner network to create a solution that works for you.  So let’s get down to basics.

At its base, Cisco offers up three different flavors of customer engagement.  We start with Unified Contact Center Express, move up one level to Packaged Contact Center Enterprise, and finish up with Unified Contact Center Enterprise.  These three are commonly referred to UCCX, PCCE, and UCCE respectively.  Let’s look at each one of these so you can see where you may fit in.

Unified Contact Center Express (UCCX)

The X in the UCCX acronym refers to express — and while it may be the introductory offering from Cisco, it’s more advanced than people think.  Topping out at 400 maximum agents, it offers enterprise features that make it a good choice for companies.  It can be laid out as a single system in a data center, or include a redundant server for maximum uptime.  The redundancy can be in a single data center, or it can be geo-redundant across data centers.  It offers up features such as:

  • Advanced reporting;
  • Web 2.0 Next Generation Client;
  • Custom scripting with advanced integrations;
  • Email/webchat multichannel; and
  • Outbound dialing.

With a strong partner network in Cisco, you can add products that truly enhance your experience, like 2Ring Social Gadgets added into the agent desktop, which allow you to execute advanced workflows, screen pop, and aid in agent and supervisor productivity.  Calabrio Advanced Quality Management and Workforce Management give you the peace of mind with agent voice and screen recording for compliance, as well as a high level of workforce management, including analytics for looking at trends.  You can add in predictive dialing with Aqueon campaign management, making sure your outbound endeavors are addressed.

That said, while this software can be more advanced that what the Express name eludes to, it may not be the best fitting slipper for your company.

Packaged Contact Center Enterprise (PCCE)

PCCE is Cisco Customer Engagement’s middle child.  And being the middle child, you would expect more advanced features and higher scale.  The numbers bear this out, with up to 1,500 agents. In fact, because  each release pushes the scale up, it would not surprise me to see agent counts of 2,000 or greater in the future.  While UCCX is two virtual machines in a HA design, PCCE is a two-server model of its big brother, UCCE.  It offers all of the features of UCCX but with a higher complexity factor.

With PCCE you can carry out more advanced IVR and speech enabled IVR features, using Nuance and other partner-led products. It offers the same advanced reporting, Web 2.0 Next Generation agent/supervisor desktop.  All of the third party vendor software listed above for UCCX work on Enterprise.  This being part of the Enterprise suite from Cisco, it comes with more advanced capabilities over UCCX.  Some of these capabilities include Courtesy Callback, Web Callback, Mobile Application integration through APIs, greater call capacity and queuing capacities, and a higher performing dialer.

Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE)

UCCE includes the same features listed above in PCCE but can scale up to 12,000 agents and beyond.  It can increase and scale to meet all of a company’s voice and data engagement requests.  If you need the ability to handle 3,000 calls into your engagement center, this is your guy.  And while it is the Big Brother of the three, it can scale down to be a middle brother for those customers who have 3,000 or 4,000 agents.

Cisco has done a really nice job with all three platforms and has paid attention to detail in the latest releases to ensure the same look and feel from the Agent Desktop and Reporting features.  And in most cases, the third party integrations are the same between all versions–though there are more  third party solutions in the Cisco Partner Ecosystem for PCCE/UCCE.  Above all, consider this: Don’t choose your platform on size alone. Consider all the complexities associated with your environment and pick the right product to meet your needs.  You may have only 100 agents, but if you need advanced integrations into backend systems, CRM applications and advanced IVR capabilities, then PCCE would be a better choice.

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