Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solutions (Cisco HCS) for Contact Center is a next generation unified communication and collaboration platform for service providers and partners who want to offer unique Cisco collaboration technologies using hosted and managed models. A service provider can offer swift deployment of Unified Communications Manager applications with considerable value to the end customer, taking advantage of shared management/aggregation infrastructure,
economies of scale, and simplified deployment.
The following figure shows the high-level solution topology for Cisco HCS for Contact Center.
Figure 1. Cisco HCS for Contact Center
Cisco HCS for Contact Center service delivers Cisco Unified Contact Center
Enterprise (Unified CCE) on a single pair of duplexed Unified
Computing System (UCS) B230-M2 blades, referred to as
Side A and Side B. Cisco HCS for Contact Center offers the same shared management
(service fulfillment and assurance) and aggregation (carrier
trunks) that is common for all customer instances and used for
other Cisco HCS services.
Cisco HCS for Contact Center is deployed in a virtualized environment, using OVA templates that are downloaded from Cisco Systems.
For an illustration of remote office options see Figure 1.
The Contact Center aggregation layer and the shared management layer combines Cisco HCS components with the multiple network connections and route requests to the dedicated customer instances. Shared aggregation consists of PGW and CUBE-SP and shared management consists of UCDM, CCDM, CUOM/SM, DCNM, UCS Manager, vCenter, and ASA (Firewall/NAT).
Figure 2. Cisco HCS for Contact Center Topology
Cisco HCS for Contact Center Options and Feature Support
HCS for Contact Center is a virtual deployment that is
physically deployed as a:
Single pair of blades for up to 1000 agent
Single pair of blades for two customer instances of up
to 500 agent deployment.
Four pairs of blades for single instance up to 4000 agent deployment. The fourth pair of blade is optional for both CCB (Courtesy Callback) and CVP Reporting server. Also, the fourth pair of blade is required when the sum of calls at agents and the IVR exceeds 3600.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Domain Manager (Unified CCDM) is a browser-based management application that is designed for use by Contact Center/system administrators, business users, and supervisors. It is a dense, multi-tenanted provisioning platform that overlays the Contact Center equipment. The Contact Center equipment consists of configuration items, generally known as resources, such as agents or skill groups, and events that are logged when the resources are used by the equipment, such as call record statistics.
Unified CCDM partitions the resources in the equipment using a familiar folder paradigm. These folders are then secured using a sophisticated security structure that allows administrators to specify which users can perform which actions within the specified folders. Unified CCDM supplies a number of tools that operate on the configuration and statistics data and allow users to modify both the Contact Center and Unified CCDM itself. The tools are all inherently multi-tenanted and the following tools are currently supported:
Information Notices tool provides a Message of the Day"functionality
Service Manager tool enables the dynamic modification of agent teams and skill groups
System Manager tool enables users to create and modify resources such as agents or call types and organize them into a hierarchical folder structure
Security Manager tool enables administrators to set up and manage security permissions
Unified CCDM focuses on supplying multi-tenancy functionality, playing to the business plans of hosts and large enterprises by enabling distributed or disparate Contact Center equipment to be partitioned:
Unified CCDM abstracts and virtualizes the underlying Contact Center equipment, thereby allowing centralized deployment and decentralized control, which in turn gives economies of scale while supporting multi-level user command and control.
Unified CCDM allows the powerful and flexible native provisioning operations to be abstracted into simple, high-level tasks that enable business users to rapidly add and maintain Contact Center services across the virtualized enterprise (or portion thereof).
Unified CCDM users can see only the resources in the platform that they are entitled to see, thereby giving true multi-tenancy.
Unified CCDM users can only manipulate resources visible to them, by using the tools and features they are authorized to use, thereby giving role-based task control.
The advantages of CCDM over CCMP are as follows:
Provides Northbound APIs (SOAP and REST).
Can be used at the shared management level across multiple customer instances.
OVAs are sized for 50000 active and 300000 configured agents across multiple customer instances.
Unified CCDM maintains a complete data model of the Contact Center equipment to which it is connected. This data model is periodically synchronized with the equipment. In addition to the configuration information such as agent and skill groups, Unified CCDM records the events logged by the equipment, such as call records, for management information and reporting.
Unified CCDM provisions multiple Contact Center customer instances. It also provides the northbound REST and SOAP interfaces for multiple instances from a shared Unified CCDM.
Install the Unified CCDM servers on a Service Provider Management AD
create a trust relationship with the Unified CCDM domain and each customer instance
Unified Communications Domain Manager is a multi-tenant application, so you can use the Unified Communications Domain Manager server to provision all HCS customers. HCS supports only one Unified Communications Domain Manager
instance per HCS installation.
Figure 6. Unified Communications Domain Manager
ASA NAT and Firewall
Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Firewall partitions a single security appliance into multiple virtual devices known as security contexts. Each context is an independent device, with its own security policy, interfaces, and administrators. Multiple contexts are similar to having multiple standalone devices. Each context keeps customer traffic separate and secure, and also makes configuration easier. All customer traffic is first sent to the firewall before forwarding to the computer resources.
Core Solution Components
This section describes the following core solution components:
Cisco Unified Border Element Enterprise provides the feature set to support the transition to SIP trunking. Cisco session border controller (SBC), the Cisco Unified Border Element, provides these important services between the enterprise and service provider networks:
Interworking: The capability to interconnect different signaling methods and variants.
Demarcation: The capability to act as a distinct demarcation point between two networks.
Security: The capability to intelligently allow or disallow real-time traffic between networks.
Unified Contact Center Enterprise (Unified CCE) is the software application that provides the contact center features, including agent state management, agent selection, call routing and queue control, IVR control, CTI Desktop screen pops, and contact center reporting. The Unified CCE runs on Cisco Unified Communications on Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco Unified Communications on Cisco UCS)
virtualized servers or exact equivalents unless otherwise specified. It relies on the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system software and the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 database management system.
Cisco Unified Customer Voice Portal (Unified CVP) is a software application that runs on industry-standard servers such as Cisco Unified Communications on Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco Unified Communications on Cisco UCS) virtualized servers. It provides prompting, collecting, queuing, and call control services using standard web-based technologies. The Unified CVP architecture is distributed, fault tolerant, and highly scalable. With the Unified CVP system, voice is terminated on Cisco IOS Firewall (IOS Firewall)
gateways that interact with the Unified CVP application server using VoiceXML (speech) or SIP (call control). The Unified CVP Server includes Call, VXML, and Media Server.
Unified CM, the call-processing component of the Cisco Unified Communications System, extends enterprise telephony features and capabilities to IP phones, media processing devices, voice-over-IP (VoIP) gateways, mobile devices, and multimedia applications.
Unified Intelligence Center
Cisco Unified Intelligence Center provides real-time and historical reporting on the contact center business, aggregating reporting from the Unified CCE and Unified CVP databases.
Cisco Finesse is the next-generation agent and supervisor desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise, providing benefits across a variety of communities that interact with your customer service organization. It is designed to improve collaboration by enhancing the customer and customer service representative experience.
The Cisco Finesse agent and supervisor desktop for Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise integrates traditional contact center functions into a thin-client desktop. A critical characteristic is that every desktop is 100-percent browser-based and implemented through a Web 2.0 interface. No client-side installations are required. This reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO).
Cisco Finesse also provides a Web 2.0 software development kit (SDK) and gadgets to enable developers to quickly get started with implementing in your environment.
Core Component Integrated Options
This section describes the following core component integrated options:
Courtesy Callback limits the time a caller
waits on the phone for an agent to answer. Instead of listening to queue music, callers have the option to
have their calls returned when an agent becomes
Each call has a calculated Estimated Wait Time
(EWT). When a callers' EWT approaches zero, the script initiates a
call back to the caller. Upon retrieving the caller on the phone
again, the caller is placed back into the queue in the order in
which they first entered. Therefore, their call is transferred
to an agent. For more information about Courtesy Callback, see Courtesy Callback Configuration.
You can play a configurable, automated agent greeting to callers,
standardizing the caller experience. The greeting helps keep the
agent voices fresh because they do not have to repeat the same
greeting on every call.
The Agent Greeting feature lets you record a message that plays automatically to callers when they connect to you. The greeting message can welcome the caller, identify the agent, and include other useful contextual information. With Agent Greeting, each caller receives a clear, well-paced, and language-appropriate introduction.
The process of recording a greeting is similar to recording a message for your voice mail. Depending on how your call center is set up, you can record different greetings that play for different types of callers (for example, an English greeting for English speakers or an Italian greeting for Italian speakers).
By default, greeting play is enabled when you log in to your agent desktop, but you can turn it off and on as necessary.
Agent Greeting is available to agents and supervisors who use IP Phones with Built-in-Bridge (BiB) that are controlled by the Unified CCE and Unified CM. These agents are typically located within a contact center. This feature is subject to certain functional limitations. For more information about the Agent Greeting phone requirements and limitations, see Agent Greeting Design Considerations.
To deploy the Agent Greeting feature, you must configure Unified CVP, Unified CCE, and Unifed CCM. For more information about these configurations, see Configure Agent Greeting.
VXML gateway IVR leg dial-peer must not use the voice-class codec, it should use either the codec G.711u-law or the codec G.711a-law.
Customers can play a configurable announcement to an agent right
before the caller is connected, providing information about the
type of call being delivered (for example, sales or tech support)
and other guidance. Agents get information about the caller through
their headset, speeding problem handling and improving first-call
Whisper Announcement plays a brief, prerecorded message to an agent just before the agent connects with each caller. The content of the announcement can contain information about the caller that helps prepare the agent to handle the call. You can enable Whisper Announcement and specify the announcements to play in your Unified CCE call routing scripts. For more information about these scripts, see Configure Whisper Announcement.
Database Lookup Integration provides the option to integrate with an external database and to create, or update, or retrieve the operations on a database table. For more information, see Configure Database Integration.
The HCS for Contact Center has two options for local trunks at the customer premise:
Cisco Unified Border Element—Enterprise at the customer premise
TDM gateway at the customer premise
Transcoding resources are not deterministically picked from the local customer premise gateway.
Unified Mobile Agent enables an agent using any PSTN phone and a broadband VPN connection (for agent desktop communications) to function just like a Unified CCE agent sitting in a formal call center and using a Cisco IP Phone monitored and controlled by Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Unified CM) JTAPI.
Outbound Option Dialer
The Cisco Outbound Option application provides
outbound dialing functionality along with the existing inbound
capabilities of the Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise. This
application enables the contact center to dial customer contacts
and direct contacted customers to agents or IVRs. With Cisco Outbound Option, you can configure a contact center for
automated outbound activities.
HCS for Contact Center Release 9.0, 9.2(1) only supports SIP dialer. This release does not support SCCP dialer.
Post Call Survey
A Post Call Survey takes place after normal call treatment typically to determine whether a customer was satisfied with their call center experience. This feature enables you to configure a call flow that, after the agent disconnects from the caller, optionally sends the call to a Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS) configured for a Post Call Survey.
The caller can be prompted during IVR treatment as to whether they want to participate in a Post Call Survey. If they choose to do so, they are automatically transferred to the Post Call Survey after the normal call flow completes, for example, after the agent ends the conversation.
Administration & Data Servers have several roles: Administration, Real-Time Data Server, Historical Data Server, and Detail Data Server. The AW-HDS-DDS Server is a combination of Administration Server, Real-Time and Historical Data Server, and Detail Data Server all in one. The Logger database retention period is 400 days of historical data and 40 days of detailed TCD and RCD records. If you require longer retention periods, optionally add a single
AW-HDS-DDS server to the deployment.
AW-HDS-DDS is a core component for 4000 agent deployment.
You can silently monitor the mobile agents through CTI OS based silent monitoring. To do this, you must deploy a standalone silent monitor server. This silent monitor server gains access to mobile agent voice traffic through a SPAN port that you must configure to send all traffic to and from the agent gateway to the silent monitor server. The silent monitor server then filters and forwards voice traffic for the selected agent to the supervisor's silent monitor server.
Cisco Unified WIM and EIM
Cisco Unified E-Mail Interaction Manager (Unified EIM) enables organizations to intelligently route and process inbound emails, webform inquiries, faxes, and letters. Cisco Unified Web Interaction Manager (Unified WIM) provides agents with a comprehensive set of tools for serving customers in real time. It enables call center agents to provide immediate personalized service to customers through text chat messaging and page-push abilities. Agents can also use Unified WIM to assist customers using web chat.
Following are the Cisco Unified WIM and EIM Components.
The file server is used to store reports templates, reports output, license files, and startup scripts.
A configuration can have only one file server.
Unified WIM and EIM database is created on the database server.
The installation program creates the following database:
A master database, that stores system configuration information to manage services.
An active database, that stores all business and interaction data. This is also referred to as the partition database.
An archive database, that stores all archived data. This database is created only in deployments that use the standard edition of MSSQL Server.
The master and active databases are installed on the same machine. The archive or reports databases can be installed on different machines.
MSSQL Server clustering can be used to achieve fail-over for the databases.
Unified WIM and EIM reporting database is created on the Reporting Server. The reporting database, stores all the data used by the reporting module. This database is created only in deployments using the enterprise edition of MSSQL server.
The messaging server provides a centralized location for the exchange of information asynchronously among various components of Unified WIM and EIM applications through sending and receiving of messages.
The agent assignment service publishes a message to the application server notifying it that a particular agent who is logged into that server has been assigned a new chat.
The application server publishes a message to the workflow cache process to refresh its cache when a user modifies a workflow in the Administration Console.
A configuration can have only one messaging server.
The application server owns the business logic responsible for interactive responses to all user-interface requests-across all classes of users including customers, agents, administrators, knowledge authors, and system administrators. It handles requests for operations from a user (the web client), interprets user requests and delivers responses as web pages, constructed dynamically using JSP (based on the user request).
A configuration can have more than one application server. The number of application servers in a deployment will depend on the amount of user load to be handled.
The web server is used to serve static content to the
It receives the requests from a web browser and serves static content such as images,
requests for .jsp files are routed to the application server for
further processing and generation of dynamic content. The web
server component is often installed on the same machine as the
application server, it can also be installed on a different
If the web server needs to be in the DMZ, it has to be installed
on a different physical machine. A configuration can have multiple
web servers, with a one-to-one mapping between a web server and an
Unified WIM and EIM has processes that perform specific
business functions, such as fetching emails from a POP3 or IMAP
server, sending emails through an SMTP server, processing
workflows, assigning chats to agents and so on. All services run on the
services server and are managed by the Distributed Service Manager
(DSM). Framework services that manage these remote services also
run on the services server.
A configuration can have only one services server.
The DSM is responsible for starting, stopping, monitoring, and managing all the services running on the services server. The DSM uses the Remote Method Invocation registry (RMI) to communicate with the application server and other various services.
RMI Registry and RMID
All services get registered with the Remote Method Invocation (RMI) registry. The RMI registry stores the location (Server:port) of the service. This enables clients who need to communicate with a service to look up the information for that service in the RMI registry and initiate a connection.
For more information about the Unified WIM and EIM requirements and limitations. See (Link yet update)
Cisco Media Blender works with Unified WIM to provide Web callback.
Unified WIM and EIM Features
Email is supported by Unified WIM and EIM to create a communication channel between a customer and an agent. There are various steps involved in efficiently responding to emails from customers. Emails are first retrieved into the system and routed to appropriate users or queues. Once a response is created, it is processed through the system and sent to the customer.
It is an activity created for a chat session between a customer and an
agent. A chat is a real time interaction between an agent and a
customer during which they exchange text messages. As part of a chat,
agents can also push web pages to customers. Based on how chat
activities are routed to agents, they can be categorized as
Standalone chats and Integrated chats.
An integrated chat is routed to an integrated queue, and a
message is sent to Unified CCE. Unified CCE processes the activity and assigns the chat to an available IPTA (ICM Picks the Agent)
Web Callback and Delayed Callback
The Web Callback feature allows the user to request a callback by submitting a form on a website. Unified WIM processes the submitted information and connects the user with an agent. In the Unified CCE integration, the Unified WIM sends a message to Unified CCE requesting Unified CCE to route the callback request to an agent. Unified CCEsends a message to Unified WIM with a message for Cisco Media Blender. Call Router supports the Web Callback for sending notification to the peripheral interface manager (PIM), and Media Blender receives the message.
The Delayed Callback feature in the Unified CCE integration is similar to the Web Callback feature, but when the Unified WIM receives the delayed callback request, it adds the request in the Delayed Callback table. Unified WIM sends the HTML page to the caller, indicating that the caller will receive a callback within a specified time. When the specified time arrives, Unified WIM moves the request to the Unified CCE queue for routing to Unified CCE. The call is then processed the same way as for Web Callback.
Cisco Remote Silent Monitoring
The Cisco Remote Silent Monitoring (RSM) application allows for real-time phone-based monitoring of agents in the Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise (Unified CCE) environment. The RSM platform is installed on a Windows operating system as a single server instance, and a separate call flow script is hosted on the Unified CVP (VRU) platform.
When a supervisor dials into the VRU node using a VoIP or a plain old telephone service (POTS) phone:
The incoming call is routed to the Unified CCE call flow script, then sent to a VXML call flow script.
The script requests services and data from the RSM server, according to the caller’s input to system prompts.
The script parses a response and provides data and voice streams to the caller.
The RSM system prompts allow for the selection of Random, Newest, or Problem call monitoring modes. Callers can also select the specific agents they want to monitor based on the Agent ID (or Peripheral ID) of the agent, or they can select from a list of currently active agents.
The RSM server runs two application instances, VLEngine and PhoneSim, which together provide RSM services to callers. The VLEngine tracks the environment state and handles most of the requests from the call flow script (that is the login authentication, agent listing, permissions required to monitor a call). The PhoneSim service manages the simulated phones.
VLEngine runs on the Tomcat application server software, which provides servlet hosting. So, when a supervisor who is dialed into RSM interacts with the system,the call flow script makes HTTP requests for dynamic content from VLEngine servlets and then parses the output. Requests for static content, such as audio prompts, are also made to the VLEngine in certain cases (for example, for the Unified CVP VXML script, through the use of its VXML VoiceBrowser step).
VLEngine monitors all Unified CCE events using CTI OS, keeping dynamic, real-time track of those agents currently handling calls, as well as the skill-group membership of those agents. So, for example, if an agent was previously not on a call when the caller first dialed in, but is now handling a call, that agent’s status is updated so the agent can now be monitored.
PhoneSim device entries look and function exactly like hardware VoIP phones in the Unified Communications Manager environment and they are managed and controlled by the RSM server. It functions as a supervisor’s VoIP phone, and provides supervisor dial-in functionality. So, when a supervisor sends a request through RSM to monitor an agent, the system identifies that it is streaming the monitored agent’s call data directly to the supervisor’s VoIP phone. In reality, the call is streamed to the PhoneSim service, which proxies it to the VRU node for playback to the dialed-in supervisor.
Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) allows callers to speak words or phrases to choose menu options. For example, after a caller dials, an
Automated Attendant receives a welcome message, and is asked for
the name of the caller, the caller can say a name and then be
connected to that person.
Text-to-Speech (TTS) converts plain text (UNICODE) into speech. For example, VXML gateways either retrieves and plays back the pre-recorded audio files referenced in the VXML document or it streams media from text-to-speech (TTS) server.
The Recording option provides network-based, recording, playback, live streaming, and storage of media for compliance, quality management, and agent coaching including audio and video, with rich recording metadata. The platform provides an efficient, cost-effective foundation for capturing, preserving, and mining conversations for business intelligence.
Wallboard provides the user with the ability to monitor, in real time, the service being provided to customers and display information on customer service metrics such as number of calls waiting, waiting call length, and Service levels.
Workforce Management (WFM) is a browser application that can be accessed by any user (agent, supervisor, scheduler, and administrator) who has the Internet Explorer browser. WFM does not use a thick client (which would require installation programs) and therefore, is ideally suited to a highly-distributed workforce environment.
WFM allows the scheduling of multiple Contact Service Queue (CSQs) and sites. A single WFM implementation may be used worldwide. It also allows the managing of key performance indicators and real-time adherence to schedules.
This section describes the following two deployment models:
The following figure shows the 4000 agent deployment model with four pairs of high density B230M2-VCDL1 blade. The fourth pair of blade is optional for both CCB and CVP Reporting server. Also, the fourth pair of blade is required when the sum of calls at agents and the IVR exceeds 3600. Use the guidelines
specification-based hardware to add
additional VMs for options. For more information about available options, see
Figure 9. 4000 agent deployment model.
To achieve CUIC redundancy, another pair of optional CUIC publisher and CUIC subscriber servers have to be installed to support 400 reporting users.