Crystal Call Center CS Ness

Tikal Networks was called to analyze and design a call center solution for Ness Technologies. Ness Technologies is Israel’s largest IT services and business services company (NASDAQ NSTC: $572MM 2010 revenues Yahoo finance). The company also provides IT services in 18 countries to a mix of local and global enterprises. The company supports a large number of corporate and government organizations with enterprise applications: from E-Mail servers (Microsoft Exchange), ERP and CRM applications (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft) to corporate desktop solutions (Microsoft Windows and Office applications). Many Ness corporate customers sign an SLA agreements (WikiPedia Service Level Agreement) to assure reliable and timely support. SLAS are standard enterprise support agreements. SLAs define service in terms the time it takes to respond to a customer call by a technical support agent. SLAS also define a level and amount of service the company supplies. This obligates Ness to show their service effort in terms of time a service agent spends working on a client’s problem. An agent’s effort is reported by the amount of time she spends on the phone with a client. Clients receive daily reports on issues, number of calls and resolved issues. Reports and trend analysis give both Ness support managers and customer IT technicians the ability to control support cost and manage hot issues (i.e. common site or corporate problems, failures due to automatic updates, system wide errors, spreading viruses, etc.) More detailed, timely and precise reports, turn into better service and more useful actionable information.

Ness technologies set out to replace their analog call center. Ness Technologies’s management needed to upgrade their call center to better support enterprise customers. They explored upgrades with the traditional telephony and networking suppliers. Ness Technology’s culture is firmly established on large IT applications for enterprise customers. This solution point of view is common in many large corporate enterprises. Corporate IT solutions are biased towards proprietary suppliers offering integrated solutions. These solutions, mostly add-ons to large enterprise applications (i.e. CRM, BI), serve adequately situation where call center function is secondary. This corporate bias pushed certain stake holders at Ness toward traditional proprietary systems in contrast to open source applications which Tikal Networks provides. Tikal’s approach of using open source Asterisk platform with an off-the-shelf purpose built call center, did not fit the traditional Ness Technologies standard operating mode. Tikal Networks showed Ness management the advantages of their solution. From reliable Asterisk platform to the feature rich and flexibility of purpose built applications. Tikal’s solution provided Ness management with a solution well beyond what mainstream IT and telephony companies could supply. Initial cost, operating expenses, maintenance costs, wide range of features, future expandability, purpose built call center features and overall a standards based IP (Internet Protocol) architecture, all contributed to Ness’s decision to explore and eventually buy Tikal’s Crystal Call Center.

Ness Technologies set out to replace their existing analog call center system with an up to date digital IP based, software based system. Their existing system consisted of a few call tracking servers (four active ones). The system supported 150 agents. With some agents operating in critical 24/7 format. Each analog server supported different call agent specialists. For some customers, support agents were situated at different analog servers. This created a difficult overall tracking and reporting condition. No integration with other applications existed at the time (CRM, BI). Call agents needed to key and track open issues on the analog call center system and on other systems. This situation exists today in many analog call centers. The analog to digital call center switch described here is a common problem in most call centers today. In contrast, Tikal’s solution using Asterisk based Crystal Clear IP PBX and other open source applications (MySQL, Linux), is a proven method used in thousands of deployments. Tikal Networks call center solutions are deployed at over 45 locations and supports thousands of call agents. Many in mission critical roles: technical support, sales and marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), government operations and corporate support.

Tikal Networks proposed a standard call center solutions (Crystal Call Center) to Ness Technologies management. Due to the price to performance attributes, Ness management quickly came to a decided to go ahead with Tikal’s Crystal Call Center. The system budgetary price ran in the range of US$ 100,000. Once Ness Technologies placed the order, the following phases took place:

  • First two weeks: Tikal Networks’s system integrators analyzed and specified the system.
  • One week: Hardware and software sourcing. Some time overlapped the analysis phase above.
  • Two weeks: System installation, including complete configuration and testing.
  • Two weeks: Training, switch over, final tweaking and delivery.
  • Two months total time: from decision to mission critical operation.

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