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ISSUE 2 • 2018

Operations Issue
❯❯How to achieve technology RFP success
❯❯Delivering one-stop contact centre and UC services
❯❯Versatile system supports McDougall
The Operations

10 steps
to achieve contact centre
technology RFP success
By Colin Taylor

he process of implementing • What will this technology allow us • What is mandatory? - those required
any new technology in your to do? capabilities you can’t live without;
contact centre can often be • What is a nice to have? - features or
daunting. So what is the best process for Once you confirm what you want functions that would be nice to
establishing which technologies are best aligned with your to do and/or achieve with the new have, but not mandatory; and
organizational goals and needs? technology you can begin to define • What is informational- interesting,
The first or “pre-step” is to establish whether to sole your requirements. Building use but not required today? - capabilities
source or issue a request for proposal (RFP). A sole source cases provides granularity and will that you would like to know more
procurement process can be defined as any contract allow you to specifically see the about, which could be desirable in
entered into without a competitive process. An RFP, in opportunities and benefits of the new the future.
contrast, solicits proposals from qualified vendors who you technology, namely:
believe can meet the requirements of the organization. • Where you will use it?; In defining your requirements, it is
But sole sourcing can be perceived to be a risky • How it will be employed?; and important to weight the value of each
proposition. What if you have missed some detail or neglected to • What benefits are expected. function and capability. Examine if all
reach out to a leading provider? the requirements are of equal value

The RFP process is a safer approach. Although more Research solution providers or importance. This will help you
time consuming it allows you to assess all the major Next, you need to identify the determine how to assign weighting
players in the market. providers that you believe value. You can use the “Mandatory”,
Here are the five reasons to issue an RFP: can deliver the solution(s) to help you “Nice to Have” and “Informational”
1. Improve decision making, including getting more achieve your goals. with defined values, of 3, 2, 1 or you
options before narrowing down to what works, Here are the first steps: can add separate weights based on
avoiding jumping to conclusions without evidence • Ask you peers in similar each requirement.
and performing due diligence on major purchases organizations; Ask the vendors to explain how
and contracts. • Reach out to your network for they will meet your requirements:
2. Reduce overt bias both internal and external. recommendations and guidance; don’t just ask for confirmation. As
3. Increase the transparency of decision making, and there can be many ways to comply, a
reasoning and clarity. • Look online for solution providers, simple “Yes”, will not communicate as
4. Ensure that all people and management involved including checking out analyst much information as requesting the
are complying with steps, rules and regulations groups like Gartner and Forrester. detail on “How”.
and reviews and have the authority to commit the

organization to a contract. Define and weight the value Define rules of engagement
5. For infrequent purchases RFPs reduce the issues
risk of poor purchase and allows the decision to be
3 of your requirements
The next step is to create
Defining the “rules of
engagement” is crucial. One
broadly accepted. a list of the desired features and of the objectives of any RFP process is
functionality you want to see in the to eliminate bias and ensure that all
The 10 RFP process steps technology solution. It is important to vendors have the same opportunity
determine if all the requirements are to win the business.

Determine what are you seeking. equally important or if some should You will want to mandate the
What will you ask for, who will you send the RFP to be weighted as more important vendor communication to only take
and how will you evaluate the responses? Unclear than others. Be sure to ask vendors place in writing, by email. This
goals will produce unclear results. So ask yourself the for details on how they can meet facilitates information sharing with
following: the requirements. Sort them out as all parties and provides an audit trail
• Why do we want this technology?; and follows: supporting the process. Do not allow

2 | Contact management Issue 2 • 2018

The Operations

vendors to communicate with anyone except as authorised In the contact centre world we tend No matter the solution or vendor
in the RFP. to focus on what we can do with the you will need to reach to support at
solution to improve contact centre some point in time. It’s important to

Allow vendors to ask questions and customer outcomes, but not so understand how this will work and
It is impossible to identify and answer all of the much on what risks a new technology what it costs.
possible questions that could arise from reading may present from security or Most vendors offer a multi-tier
an RFP. Vendors will have questions and you will need IT perspectives. But with the support models and the cost of each
to understand and answer each of them. Many of the heightening dangers of cybercrime will vary with the speed of response
questions asked are likely answered in the RFP but vendors that could hurt customers and and accessibility to the support team.
want to ensure a correct understanding. companies security is critical • How do you get technical support
Therefore, plan on a question period following the for contact centre technologies. e.g. portal, email, phone;
release of the RFP. Share the questions and answers with Therefore, be sure to engage these • Are hours of support limited?; and
all vendors to eliminate any confusion or ambiguity that departments of your requirements. • How are on-going professional
may exist regarding what you are seeking or how you Also, make sure the data is services charged?
intend to use the solution. yours. And that you know how you
will extract it if you ever choose to I advise over-spend on support in
Scoring and evaluation migrate to another solution. the first year. This is when we will be

6 The biggest mistake we see organizations make is

that they have not defined how they will score and Reputation and references
least knowledgeable and will have
the highest degree of change thus
evaluate responses until after they have begun reviewing
the responses. This can be dangerous as it creates a risk
7 Checking references is
commonly not completed as
assistance and support will be desired.

that the scoring and evaluation becomes influenced by one this can be a time-consuming process Shortlist and vendor demos
or more of the responses, possibly providing an advantage and we assume that any reference At this point you will want
to one vendor over another. will only say positive things about to down-select by creating a
Therefore, be detailed and specific when developing the vendor, but, this is not always short-list. To carry too many vendors
your evaluation scorecard: the case. Reference checks may yield forward is time consuming and
• Know how you will evaluate the RFP responses before responses like, “I wish we had never generally yields very little in terms of
you receive any; and selected this vendor” and “we signed changing the overall ranking. Short-
• Define your scoring approach in detail, be specific. the contract 2 years ago, but haven’t listing the top two or three vendors
Common evaluations elements include functional implemented, as the vendor still can’t can make a great deal of sense.
requirements, pricing, reputation and references, ease get the solution to work as promised”. With each short-listed firm, you
of use and support. When checking references, will want to set up demos of their
Caution: If you over-weigh one of these elements, the others ask about: solution, typically with web-based
become less important. • The implementation process collaboration and conferencing
and team; applications. You will want to see how
When establishing your scorecard: • The cost and any variance the solution operates, the different
• Don’t be influenced by the responses, to change your or surprises; dashboards available to differing
weighting; • The timeline; was there any classes of users and assess its ease of
• Ask vendors clarification questions e.g. what are the set slippage?; use and flexibility. Get the entire team
up and recurring charges?; • Any surprises in the process; and to attend the demo and ask the vendor
• Ask vendors to provide a total cost of ownership (TCO), • How well the solution met their to record the demo so it can later be
and calculate TCO yourself; and needs. shared with those who didn’t attend.
• Have more than one person evaluate the RFPs. You will then score then demos,
Research the vendors and to employing you scoring model.
It is easy to be influenced by vendor responses to cause understand how have others rated
you to want to add, remove or change requirements. But if them. Look for high-quality research Final scoring
we allow this, once we start reviewing the responses, we
compromise the entire process. If there are great points you
and rankings such as from the
analyst firms. Look for credible
10 The final step is to combine
the scores from the RFP
wish were included in the RFP, note it, and look for the same awards received and reviews of the and demo to generate a final score
in the other responses or add it to your vendor clarification solutions on websites, in discussion or ranking. Then reach out to the
questions but don’t change the scoring criteria. groups and online communities. See highest scoring vendor and begin the
Evaluations should be completed by multiple individuals if the reviews are positive. negotiation.
as not everyone brings the same experience, knowledge or

attention span to the reviewing process. By enlisting multiple Ease of use and support Colin Taylor is CEO and Chief Chaos
stakeholders in the review process, you will increase your You will want to assess Officer, the Taylor Reach Group
odds of a good outcome. It is the dichotomy of scores that how easy the solution is to Colin has
can add value to process, as the team will discuss why they operate and manage and that you assisted companies including Aldo,
Mercedes Benz, Reader’s Digest, Republic
awarded X or Y to a particular response which may present can make the changes yourself. Most
Services, National Bank of Australia
a different perspective than another person saw. All this organizations don’t want to acquire
and TD Waterhouse. Recognized as
discussion improves the rigor in the process. a solution that incurs a professional one of Canada’s leading contact centre
Here are some sample requirements you may wish to service charge each time they make experts, Colin has received 27 RSVP
include in your RFPs: a change. Ask about training and Awards for excellence in Contact Center
• Security protocol; background required to manage and Management from the Canadian
• Current and future language requirements; employ the solution. Ask if additional Marketing Association (CMA). Recently
• Data ownership; and or advanced administrator training is Colin was Ranked #5 in The Customer
• System application programming interfaces (APIs). offered by the vendor. Service 100 globally.

Issue 2 • 2018 Contact management | 3

The Operations

Cloud providers now

delivering one-stop contact
centre and UC services
By Elka Popova

he compelling benefits of cloud 2018. Including a lobby seat license,
architectures: more flexible as well as a range of seat licenses, CoreDial recently acquired Voice4Net,
capacity adjustment, more the new mix-and-match packages a cloud contact centre provider, to
cost-effective support of remote agents combine different telephony, UC further enhance its portfolio and
and faster access to advanced features have led to more and customer care features on one deliver greater value to partners and
businesses moving their communications, customer care platform to address varying needs customers alike. The acquisition has
and other software workloads to the cloud. Frost & Sullivan within organizations. The most culminated with CoreDial releasing
research reports that the market revenue in North America comprehensive package will include the CoreNexa Contact Center. It
for hosted/cloud contact centre solutions expected to grow the full set of UC and CC features. offers omni-channel inbound and
at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.7% from 8x8 will be enhancing its outbound, multimedia functionality
2016 to 2021. intelligent call routing, weave in including IVR, email ACD, chat, SMS
But businesses are now looking for providers that can contextual personalization for and call back in queue. CoreNexa also
offer a one-stop shop for a broader scope of their needs. omnichannel services and provide provides call recording and workforce
An integrated set of cloud communications and contact speech analytics. It recently acquired management.
centre solutions from a single provider delivers operational MarianaIQ(MIQ), which brings deep
efficiencies and helps ensure greater usability. More learning capabilities and is part of Dialpad
specifically, businesses can reduce vendor management the strategic investments it has been At Enterprise Connect 2018, Dialpad
costs, ensure tighter interoperability and integration making in artificial intelligence (AI) launched a CC solution built on
among different tools and better synchronize their and machine learning. Google Cloud Platform. Dialpad
technology upgrade cycles. Call Center provides analytics
To address these market trends, many cloud Avaya tools to monitor agent productivity
communications providers are launching contact centre Avaya launched a new contact centre and customer data. It also delivers
as a service (CCaaS) solutions, either through partnerships cloud solution recently to boost the customized email or SMS alerts on
or technologies that have been developed internally or supplier’s value proposition in this key metrics such as wait times, queue
acquired from third parties. In turn, CCaaS solutions help market. The CC solution leverages length and abandonment rates.
providers differentiate themselves, generate additional Avaya’s acquired Spoken technology Dialpad will be adding sentiment
revenues and create stickier services. to enable a smoother transition analysis, call transcription,
Several recent announcements from the unified for existing Avaya premises-based automated note taking and coaching.
communications (UC) as a service (UCaaS) provider customers to the cloud. A new Avaya It recently acquired TalkIQ, which
community demonstrate increasing provider focus on IP Office Cloud solution will also be provides real-time speech recognition
delivering advanced and more tightly integrated contact launched in the near future that and natural language processing
centre capabilities as part of their cloud solutions sets. will expand IP Office consumption technologies.
UCaaS services include network-based services such as options.
call control, voice switching, PBX, voicemail and unified In a surprising move, Avaya Fuze
messaging, instant messaging and presence, audio, web launched the Avaya Mobile In March 2018, Fuze announced an
and video conferencing, and team collaboration and Experience in the U.S. Through a expanded partnership with NICE
mobility. They also include the network infrastructure partnership with a cellular provider, inContact and a new partnership
related to service provisioning. Avaya will operate as an MNO with Five9. The provider believes
The integration of UCaaS and CCaaS benefits both (mobile network operator) and will that possessing a broader selection
enterprise and contact centre users. UCaaS services be delivering highly differentiated of CC solutions will allow it to better
can help augment the contact centre agent experience services to contact centres and address specific customer needs. These
and deliver greater value to end customers (i.e., those enterprises. By porting their toll-free partnerships complement Fuze’s
interacting with a business contact centre) by enabling numbers to Avaya’s cellular service existing, internally developed CC
faster and more effective issue resolution via shared and leveraging advanced Avaya offering. Fuze Contact Centre is a voice-
presence and use of more advanced collaboration tools. routing technologies, enterprises and only solution providing an integrated
contact centres will be able to receive experience for businesses deploying
8x8 more reliable caller ID and geo- Fuze’s suite of applications. For larger
Acknowledging growing customer demand for integrated, location data. Avaya presently does or more complex environments,
cost-effective UCaaS and contact centre (CC) solutions not service Canadian numbers, but Fuze has been offering customers
8x8 announced a new series of service packages at they are discussing it. NICE inContact through a strategic
Enterprise Connect 2018 that will be available in summer partnership established in 2015.

4 | Contact management Issue 2 • 2018

The Operations

Nextiva across contact centre agents and Combined with Nexmo APIs, these
Announced in late 2016 and rolling out through 2018, enterprise experts. The new offering solutions can be used standalone
Nextiva is building service CRM, customer-to-business will integrate with both Star2Star’s or integrated with Vonage’s CC
chat, surveys and email marketing tools directly into the hybrid UCaaS solution and its new solutions.
NextOS platform. Based on the pricing and business model pure hosted solution.
of its analytics tools, Nextiva will allow customers to add Conclusion
these new pre-integrated capabilities individually, based on Twilio To increase revenues industry
their specific needs at competitive pricing. At Enterprise Connect 2018, Twilio providers must capitalize on the
further diversified its portfolio growth opportunities in cloud contact
RingCentral and disrupted the market with the centre market by addressing existing
At Enterprise Connect 2018, RingCentral announced launch of a full-fledged CC solution. demand for end-to-end, single-vendor
enhancements to its CC offerings. More specifically, the Twilio Flex combines the capabilities communications and customer care
company announced integration of RingCentral Contact of Twilio’s network and platform solutions by launching cloud contact
Centre with RingCentral Glip team messaging and with a contact centre graphical user centre services. Providers can acquire
collaboration as well as a new RingCentral Pulse service. interface. Out of the box, Twilio Flex cloud CC companies or partner with
Contact centre agents can use existing RingCentral Glip supports multiple customer-care third-party providers in order to bring
teams or create new ones to access a broader pool of subject channels including voice (including such capabilities to market quickly.
matter experts and leverage multiple channels—voice, WebRTC-enabled in-browser voice), Alternatively, providers can develop
video, messaging and screen share—to interact with video, text messaging, Facebook these capabilities internally.
them. RingCentral Pulse uses intelligent bots to monitor Messenger, Twitter, LINE and WeChat.
important contact centre metrics in real time and provide Elka Popova is vice president and
automated alerts and notifications to key stakeholders via Vonage senior fellow, Digital Transformation at
RingCentral Glip. Vonage launched two new Frost & Sullivan ( Elka’s
differentiated customer-care focus is with enterprise communication
and next-generation technologies.
Star2Star offerings at Enterprise Connect 2018.
Her expertise spans a broad range of
Star2Star currently has a new multi-channel contact It introduced skills-based routing
industry sectors including enterprise
centre solution in beta testing that will be launched in the and sentiment analysis tools that telephony and messaging, unified
coming months. Internally developed and based on the provide building blocks for businesses communications and collaboration,
same underlying technology as Star2Star’s hybrid and to create their own routing plans hosted/cloud-based communications
pre-cloud communications solutions, the new offering and analytical views of customer and SaaS, and SIP trunking and VoIP
will allow tight integration and improved collaboration interactions and agent performance. access services.

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Issue 2 • 2018 Contact management | 5

The Operations

How a versatile system

supports McDougall’s
By John Amrhein

s one of Canada’s most experienced and leading U.S. Food and Drug Administration or another suitable technology.
contract research organizations (CROs) for over 30 (FDA) or to the European Medicines McDougall is a growing business, so
years, Toronto-Ontario based McDougall Scientific Agency. A portion of each clinical we also sought technology that allows
delivers valuable insight to biotech and pharmaceutical trial is conducted blindly where one for multiple IVR applications as well
clients across all phases of their clinical trials. algorithm randomly assigns a placebo as additional telephony features that
With timely, accurate data and analytics, McDougall or test drug to a patient/test subject. could be used by our offices.
helps them expedite their time to market while decreasing McDougall also works with supply Second, the IVR project plan called
development costs. Known for delivering exacting management. For example, a specific for professional services. McDougall
insights, we work closely with companies to understand hospital may go through six drug needed a vendor with comprehensive
their business requirements, aligns with their regulatory kits and need to order more. We developer and system manager
strategies and mitigates risks to deliver a vital statistical will prevent these inefficiencies by training that would guide users
strategy for their product development. programming unique algorithms into through the implementation process
Every successful clinical trial relies on expertly the system to measure and track kits as well as ongoing training.
managed data operations. McDougall’s intelligent system at each stage: shipping, delivery and We had other requirements
ensures consistency and regulatory compliance while integration. including:
providing expertly managed data collection and validation. In 2011, McDougall conducted 1. Compatibility with our
Our innovative technology ensures efficient statistical an online search of interactive voice virtualized IT infrastructure.
designs that expedites workflow and mitigates risks, response (IVR) systems. We selected 2. Application development
resulting in a smooth, efficient and trusted operation from several vendors to receive a formal not requiring unique or rare
start to finish. request for proposal (RFP). developer skills, but instead
First and foremost, we sought a using a “modern” or common
Business need and challenge system that had to be validated and language or graphical user
McDougall designs the clinical trial study and data could be implemented in a regulated interface.
collection instruments, executes the trial, cleans the data, environment. We needed a system 3. Integration with McDougall’s
analyzes it and finally reports the study and results to the with continuous availability for MS SQL Server database system
Health Canada’s Therapeutic Products Directorate, the clients via fail-over, high availability and with web applications

6 | Contact management Issue 2 • 2018

The Operations

including (interactive web response (IWR) and has seen several positive results. For The new system also ensures
electronic data capture (EDC). example, when sponsors of studies scalability. This includes auditing
4. Support for four to 10 simultaneous calls from clients needed to set up new clinical sites, trials, securing access, the ability
via one or two incoming telephone lines. we would only need to supply them to adhere to requirements, testing
5. Supports outgoing faxes and emails. with phone numbers. In addition, and confidence in the system’s
McDougall has developed key development lifecycle.
The Enghouse solution business metrics in time and on In conclusion, Enghouse
Enghouse Interactive’s Communications Portal (CP) met budget. We have more efficiently Interactive has helped us
McDougall’s high-level requirements at a reasonable price. addressed complex randomization differentiate ourselves from our
The Enghouse CP is an open, standards-based platform schemes and drug inventory competitors by providing an
with integrated application development and management management, as well as system innovative technology solution that
components that significantly reduces the time, cost and availability. resolves important business issues
complexity of deploying voice and Internet Protocol (IP) For randomization research of our clients. Enghouse Interactive’s
communications solutions. participants, McDougall clients Communication Portal automates
The CP system empowers business communication have called the IVR application to manually intensive procedures and
through voice self-service solutions, including: randomize: eliminates risks to data integrity, the
• IVR and interactive video and video response (IVVR); • Cardiac patients on the operating foundation of clinical research.
• Outbound dialing; and tables waiting to receive stents;
• Speech-enabled self-service systems. • Pediatric dental patients in John Amrhein is vice president,
the dentists’ chairs awaiting McDougall Scientific. He joined
In addition, the system also offers: treatment; and McDougall in April 2008 and functions
• SMS and email; • Patients with diabetic foot ulcers. in several capacities, including:
managing employees and service
• Standards-based voicemail;
delivery, supervising IT service providers
• Contact centre solutions, including intelligent routing The system retrieves information
responsible for maintaining McDougall’s
applications and screen pop applications; stored in the EDC by using web computing infrastructure and running
• Unified communications solutions, including application programming interfaces McDougall’s business development
standards-based voicemail systems and applications. (APIs) and web services. When the data and sales activities. Prior to joining
They combine traditional voice, IP telephony, video originates in the IVR the system also McDougall, John was Senior Statistician
messaging, SMS, email and fax communications; and pushes data to the EDC from the IVR. at SAS Institute (Canada) where he
• Visual self-service solutions via web browser, For drug supply management, taught statistics and programming and
smartphone, mobile or other connected devices. the IVR has alerted clients when consulted with clients in health care,
supplies were: pharmaceuticals, retail, manufacturing,
Prior to CP, McDougall was using a Nortel system reliant • Due to expire and had to be finance and government. Prior to
joining SAS, John was a mathematical
on a PBX that was no longer supported by the vendor, replaced;
statistician with the U.S. Department
which raised concern about service continuity. The new CP • Below supply thresholds and had
of Agriculture where he designed
system, with a cold stand-by, has improved our business to be replenished; and probability-based surveys of the U.S.
continuity and the service level agreements the company • Coming from multiple depots and agri-business sector.
can offer their clients. requiring tracking from those
At the time of the RFP, McDougall was migrating office sources.
phones to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) via session
initiation protocol (SIP) and the new IVR had to be compatible
with it. We also required a vendor with solid support,
including training along with an extensive quality software New Gold Line hosted contact centre
development and maintenance process and schedule.
Randomization and drug supply management at
solution generating results
McDougall is automated via IVR and IWR. It provides client
GL CloudConnect (GLCC), the enterprise division of the Group of Gold Line of Markham,
value by delivering just-in-time enrollment-driven supplies Ontario has deployed the Enghouse Interactive Contact Centre: Service Provider (CCSP)
to study sites, thereby lowering costs and optimizing as the platform for its new cloud contact centre offering, GLCCaaS.
supply inventory. CCSP is a multi-tenant hosted cloud contact centre platform. The solution has been
Enghouse Interactive’s IVR and IWR has a global reach integrated with Gold Line’s GLSIP trunking and its GLPBX hosted PBX offerings. And it
and is eminently flexible. It has allowed us to customize has enabled Gold Line to meet increasing client demand for enterprise cloud solutions.
applications to meet such unique client needs as: “This new cloud service, through partnering with Enghouse Interactive, affords Gold
• Facilitating adaptive designs including dose escalation; Line the opportunity to extend existing relationships and be the single-source partner
for all of our customers’ needs,” said Essie Nouraee, GL CloudConnect vice president,
• Implementing complex randomization allocation and
VoIP technology and services.
trial supplies management schemes;
One such customer, Global Mentoring Solutions, Inc., (GMS) a leading provider of
• Capturing Patient Reported Outcomes (ePRO); outsourced IT help desk managed services, sought GL’s assistance after its existing
• Conducting surveys; cloud contact centre provider failed to deliver the flexibility and commercial model it
• Recording patient trial status such as reasons for required.
failing screening; Since deploying GLCCaaS in November 2017 the company has realized greater
• Executing emergency code break procedures; flexibility and cost savings that has enabled the company to reinvest in expanding
• Sending automatic notifications and confirmations operations into new markets.
triggered by specific actions or events; and “The GMS contact centre operation is not a static environment and the cloud plat-
form we were using impacted every touchpoint of our ever-evolving customer care and
• Email confirmation of subject randomization.
call treatment processes,” said Wayne Goldstein, GMS president and CEO. “GLCCaaS’
value proposition was clear and compelling, as it offered the scalability we needed
Benefits and results and the agility to adapt and effectively manage our business.”
Since the system’s implementation in 2013, McDougall

Issue 2 • 2018 Contact management | 7