In the initial phase of pre-installation planning, you need to become
familiar with the Unified ICM system and understand how it fits into your
Unified CCE. You can then determine which products and components you want to
deploy in an Unified ICM virtual contact center.
In this chapter, complete the following pre-installation tasks:
Determine the role of the Unified ICM software in your enterprise.
Understand how the Unified ICM software fits into the Unified CCE and carrier
Choose Unified ICM products. Will your system be a complete
pre-routing and post-routing system? Will you have other options such as
Unified ICM Gateway SQL, Cisco CTI, or Unified IP IVR?
The Unified ICM Enterprise Edition works with your
contact center equipment and the IXC carrier network to create a virtual
contact center. In the virtual contact center model, multiple distributed
contact centers are linked to form one Unified CCE. The agents within the
Unified CCE become members of a single team that is capable of servicing
customer contacts throughout the enterprise.
The Unified ICM software makes the best use of your contact handling
resources while ensuring that each customer is directed to the most appropriate
resource available. To get a better idea of how the Unified ICM software fits
into the contact center and carrier environments, the following sections
examine how the Unified ICM software routes telephone calls.
The Unified ICM software executes call routing decisions before a call
terminates at a contact center. This concept is called pre-routing. As shown in
the preceding figure, calls to be routed usually originate in the public
telephone network as calls to a toll-free number (1).
The IXC Network
The Unified ICM software is configured in the intelligent network of the
IntereXchange Carrier (IXC) to receive a route request for each designated
incoming call (2). A subsystem of the Unified ICM software, called the Network
Interface Controller (NIC), communicates with the carrier's network
through an intelligent network interface.
The NIC translates the network's description of the call, including
point of origin, number dialed, and any customer entered digits, into the
language of the Unified ICM software. The NIC passes this call information to
the CallRouter in the form of a route request (3).
For clarity, the NIC is usually shown in figures as a separate
computer. Actually, NICs are implemented as software on the Unified ICM
software platform (usually on the CallRouter or CallRouter/Logger [Rogger]
At this point, the Unified ICM software may query an ANI or customer
profile database before returning a route response to the NIC (4). The NIC
passes a destination for the call back to the IXC network. The IXC is
responsible for connecting the call and maintaining the voice
Each contact center has one or more Automatic
Call Distributor (ACD) systems that direct incoming calls to the telephone sets
of individual agents (5). The Unified ICM software maintains real-time
communications with the ACDs in each contact center by using a Peripheral
The PG communicates with the ACD over the switch vendor's Computer
Telephony Integration (CTI) link (6). To make optimal decisions, the Unified
ICM software must know the latest status for every call, agent, and agent group
in its network. One purpose of the PG is to extract this status information
from the ACD and forward it to the CallRouter's in-memory database. (The
PG can also be used as a CTI Server and as a communications interface between
the Unified ICM and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems located at contact
center sites or in the network.)
In private network configurations,
ACDs can also originate call routing requests. This is called post-routing.
Post-routing provides the same intelligence used in pre-Routing, but applies it
to calls originating from a private network of ACD, PBX, and IVR systems. The
PG assists in post-routing by forwarding routing requests to the Unified ICM
software and returning the target destinations to the ACD
External server or workstation applications can subscribe with a PG that
acts as a CTI Server (8). The CTI Server provides call and agent event data
that can be used in screen-pops and other CTI applications. At the desktop
level, the Unified ICM CTI desktop provides an environment for integrating
soft-phone, screen-pop, and data entry at the agent's workstation.
Monitoring and Reporting
All event data that the PG and router gathers is forwarded
to the Unified ICM software and stored in an industry-standard relational
database (9). This data is used in real-time monitoring and historical
reporting. You can modify the standard Unified ICM monitoring screens and
reports with Unified ICM-provided database access tools. Optionally, you can
access the data directly with SQL or Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)
Administration & Data Server
An Administration & Data Server (10) monitors and controls the
overall operation of the Unified ICM software. The Unified ICM software can
support multiple Administration & Data Servers located throughout the
contact center network.
ICM system software components
Many different Unified ICM system software
components are involved in pre-installation planning. You may want to become
familiar with the role of the components in the Unified ICM system.
Not every component is used in every Unified ICM System.
The CallRouter is the part of the Unified ICM system that contains the
call routing logic. The Unified ICM software receives call routing requests and
determines the best destination for each call. It also collects information
about the entire system. The Unified ICM software serves as a real-time server
by forwarding performance and monitoring information to Administration &
The Logger is the interface between the Unified ICM software and the
database manager (Microsoft SQL Server). The Unified ICM software collects
performance and monitoring information about the system and passes the
information to the Logger for short-term storage in a central relational
database. The Logger forwards historical information to the Historical Data
Server (HDS). The HDS on the Logger maintains statistics and data for
monitoring and reporting.
Network Interface Controller (NIC)
The NIC connects the Unified ICM software
to the IXC signaling network. The NIC receives a route request from the
signaling network for each incoming call and passes the request to the Unified
ICM software. The Unified ICM software responds with routing information (a
routing label), which the NIC passes back to the IXC signaling network.
For clarity, the NIC is usually shown in figures as a separate computer.
Actually, NICs are implemented as software on the Unified ICM software platform
(usually on the CallRouter or CallRouter/Logger [Rogger]
Each contact center device (ACD, PBX, or IVR) communicates with a
Peripheral Gateway (PG). The PG reads status information from the device and
passes it back to the Unified ICM software. The PG runs one or more Peripheral
Interface Manager (PIM) processes, which are the software components that
communicate with proprietary ACD systems. A single PIM is required for each
peripheral to which the PG will interface. Therefore, a single PG (and its
associated PIMs) can serve multiple peripherals of the same kind. For example,
one PG with four Aspect ACD PIMs can serve four Aspect ACDs in the contact
A single PG can support both ACD PIMs and IVR PIMs;
however, the ACD PIMs and the IVR PIMs must all be the same type of PIM (ACD
PIMs must be the same type; IVR PIMs must be the same type).
single server can support up to two PGs. For details, refer to the
Configuration Guide for Cisco Unified ICM/Contact Center Enterprise and Hosted.
Administration and Data Server control console
The Administration & Data Server is the human interface to the
Unified ICM software. It serves as a control console from which you can monitor
agent and contact center activity and change how the Unified ICM software
routes calls. For example, you can use the Administration & Data Server to
configure the Unified ICM contact center data, create call routing scripts, and
monitor and report on the Unified ICM system or some part of the system.
Administration & Data Servers can be located anywhere, as long as they have
LAN or WAN connections to the Unified ICM software.
Administration & Data Servers have several roles: Administration,
Real-time data server, Historical Data Server, and Detail Data Server. A
Unified ICM deployment must have Administration & Data Servers to fill
these roles. The servers can be deployed in the following combinations to
achieve the needed scalability with the minimum number of servers:
Administration Server and Real-time Data Server (AW)
Configuration only Administration Server
Administration Server, Real-time and Historical Data Server and
Detail Data Server (AW-HDS-DDS)
Administration Server and Real-time and Historical Data Server
Historical Data Server and Detail Data Server (HDS-DDS)
An Administration Client (formerly known as a
"client AW") serves the administration role, but is deployed as a
client to an Administration Server for scalability. The Administration Client
can view and modify the configuration, and receive real-time reporting data
from the Administration & Data Server, but does not store the data itself,
and does not have a database. You must install each Administration & Data
Server on a separate server for production systems to ensure no interruptions
to the real-time call processing of the Call Router and Logger processes. For
lab or prototype systems, you can install the Administration & Data Server
on the same server as the Call Router and Logger.
Historical Data Server
Administration & Data Servers need to access historical data (half
hour data, call detail, and so on) for historical reporting in the Script
Editor or in third-party tools. You must install at least one real-time
Administration & Data Server in a system with a Historical Data Server
(HDS) to support reporting and long-term historical data storage. The HDS IP
address requirements are identical to those of a standard Administration &
The Unified ICM Reporting solution provides an interface to access
data describing the historical and real-time states of the system. Release
8.5(x) supports Unified IC as the reporting user interface.
Reporting concepts and data descriptions are described in
Reporting Guide for Cisco Unified ICM/Contact Center Enterprise & Hosted; this description is independent of the reporting user
interface being used.
Cisco Unified Intelligence Center (Unified IC) is an advanced reporting
product used for CCE and other products. This platform is a web-based
application offering many Web 2.0 features, high scalability, performance, and
advanced features such as the ability to integrate data from other Cisco
Unified Communications products or third-party data sources. Unified IC
incorporates a security model which defines different access and capabilities
for specific users. Unified IC Standard is included with Unified ICM. Unified
IC Premium is an optional product with additional features. You must install
Unified IC on a separate server; it cannot be co-resident with other Unified
For a complete description of both Unified IC products see
Reporting Guide for Cisco Unified ICM/Contact Center Enterprise & Hosted.
ICM options and related products
You can set up the Unified ICM software with a
variety of options, such as adding software to perform database lookups or
performing secondary call routing once a call has terminated at an ACD. In some
cases, the Unified ICM software is an integral part of other Cisco contact
center products, such as the IP Contact Center (IPCC). You may want to review
the Unified ICM software options and related products to learn about the
different ways the Unified ICM software can be deployed in a Unified
The Unified ICM software uses pre-routing to execute routing decisions
before a call terminates at a contact center. With pre-routing, the Network
Interface Controller (NIC) receives the route request from the IXC and passes
the call information to the Unified ICM software. The Unified ICM software
processes the route request through a call routing script, which defines how
the call should be routed. The Unified ICM software returns a route response to
the NIC, which in turn forwards it to the IXC. The route response contains the
call's final destination.
In pre-routing, the Peripheral Gateway's role is to keep the
Unified ICM software informed of the real-time status of switches, calls, and
agents in the Unified CCE. The Unified ICM software uses this real-time data to
make an informed call routing decision.
Pre-Routing systems require the following components:
Network Interface Controller (NIC)
Administration & Data Server
Peripheral Gateway (PG)
The pre-routing capabilities are enabled through the Network Interface
Controller (NIC) and the CallRouter processes. NICs are implemented as software
on the Unified ICM software platform (for example, on the CallRouter or Logger
The Unified ICM routes calls within the public network based on
several dynamic variables. You can use any combination of the following
variables to route calls:
Day of week
Origin of call
Cost of the call
Cost of the transaction
Customer database lookup
Customer-defined business rules
Time of day
Calls are routed in the most efficient manner possible given the
current contact center load conditions.
In a traditional time-division multiplexing (TDM) environment,
post-routing systems have software that allows the CallRouter to make secondary
routing decisions after a call is received at a contact center. In
post-routing, the ACD or IVR submits a route request to the Unified ICM
software. The Unified ICM software executes scripts to process the routing
request and return a destination address to the ACD. The Unified ICM software
then directs the ACD to transfer the call to an agent, skill group, or service,
either in the same contact center or at a different contact center. In making a
post-routing decision, the Unified ICM software can use the same information
and script it uses in pre-routing. In other words, the same call routing
intelligence that is used in the pre-routing of calls is applied to calls that
are interflowed between contact center sites, transferred between agents, or
transferred into or out of IVRs.
Pre- and Post-routing systems
A pre- and post-routing Unified ICM system is a
complete intelligent call routing, monitoring, and reporting system. The
Unified ICM software can execute routing decisions before a call terminates at
a contact center. It can also make secondary routing decisions after a call is
received at a contact center. You can expand a Pre- and post-routing system
with optional features such as Unified ICM Application Gateway, Unified ICM
Gateway SQL, Unified ICM IVR interface, and CTI Server to create an intelligent
call routing and management solution in which all the elements of the Unified
CCE play a role in intelligent routing.
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
Cisco CTI software provides an interface between the Unified ICM
software and agent desktop and server applications. The CTI software works with
a PG's ACD and IVR interface software and all associated ACDs to track
events and transactions and forward call- and transaction-related data to an
agent's desktop computer.
The CTI software has full third-party call control features that allow
agents and integrated desktop applications to perform tasks such as
transferring calls, conferencing calls, and setting call data all within an
enterprise framework. An agent at the desktop can transfer voice and data in
the form of a screen-pop among agents and across different ACD platforms. This
allows customer and transaction data to accompany a call from an IVR or web
server to the agent and from site-to-site as required. The Unified ICM system
can also use CTI data to determine call destinations based on factors such as
customer value, business objectives, market penetration, and personalized
CTI Server, the basic server component of Cisco CTI, enables the Unified
ICM software to deliver agent, call, and customer data in real-time to a server
and/ or workstation application as events occur throughout the life of a call.
The CTI Server is a software process that runs on a Peripheral Gateway (PG).
It is a gateway into the Unified ICM software data and services.
Pre-route indications identify a caller and provide associated
attributes to applications while the call is still in the public or private
network and before the caller is connected to an agent, web server or IVR.
Call events are provided throughout all stages of the call flow,
from the moment a call arrives at an answering location (ACD, PBX, IVR, web
server) until the caller hangs up.
Agent work state changes are reported as they occur.
Cisco CTI Object Server (CTIOS)
CTI Object Server (CTIOS) is a high-performance,
scalable, fault-tolerant server-based solution for deploying CTI applications.
It serves as a single point of integration for third-party applications,
including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, data mining, and
CTIOS is a client of CTI Server and has a
single all-events connection to Cisco CTI Server. In turn, CTIOS accepts client
connections using session, agent, and call interfaces. These interfaces are
implemented in .NET, COM, Java, and C++, allowing for a wide range of
application development uses. The interfaces are used for call control, to
access data values, and to receive event notifications.
configuration and behavior information is managed at the CTIOS server,
simplifying customization, updates, and maintenance. You can access and manage
the servers remotely. Thin-client and browser-based applications that do not
require Cisco software on the desktop can be developed and deployed with CTIOS.
CTIOS incorporates the following major
Client Interface Library
CTIOS Combo Desktop for
Agents and Supervisors
Refer to the Cisco CTIOS Software
documentation for more information.
The Voice Response (IVR) interface software runs on a PG platform. It
allows the Cisco Unified ICM software to route calls to targets on IVRs and
collect data from IVRs for use in call routing, real-time monitoring, and
The IVR interface can also provide queuing at a network-based or
premises-based IVR. With this feature, calls can be directed to an IVR queue
when no other appropriate answering resource is available. The IVR interface is
not specific to a particular IVR system or manufacturer. It is based on an open
IVR model. Many IVR systems support Cisco's Open IVR Interface
Specification, including Unified CVP.
The Cisco Customer Voice Portal integrates with both traditional
time-division multiplexing (TDM) and IP-based contact centers to provide a
call-management and call-treatment solution with a self-service IVR option that
can use information available to customers on the corporate Web server. With
support for automated speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech (TTS)
capabilities, callers can obtain personalized information and can conduct
business without interacting with a live agent.
Unified CVP was previously called Internet Service Node (ISN).
For a list of IVRs that support this interface, contact your Cisco
You can integrate IVR systems into the Cisco Unified ICM software
in several ways.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems
provides more information on IVR integration as well as examples of how you can
integrate IVRs with the Cisco Unified ICM system.
ICM Application Gateway
The Cisco Unified ICM Application Gateway option allows the Cisco
Unified ICM software to interact with a host system that is running another
contact center application. Within the Cisco Unified ICM software, the Gateway
feature is implemented as an Application Gateway node in a call routing script.
You add an Application Gateway node to a script to instruct the system to
execute an external application. This allows the script to evaluate responses
from the external application and base subsequent routing decisions on the
results produced by the application.
The Gateway option allows the Cisco Unified ICM system to interface
with any external application, not just database applications.
You can use the Gateway option within the Cisco Unified ICM system to:
Allow other applications to select a call's destination.
Control or trigger external applications through Cisco Unified ICM
call routing scripts.
Pass data to and collect data from other contact center
For example, a simple Gateway application might return a variable to
the CallRouter that identifies the caller as having a premium account. The
routing script can use this information to control where and how the call is
routed. Optionally, the Cisco Unified ICM can pass the retrieved information to
the site that is receiving the call. Data such as account numbers, dates,
billing phone numbers, and addresses can be passed along with the call to an
Cisco Unified ICM Gateway SQL allows the Cisco Unified ICM software to
query an external Microsoft SQL Server database and use the data in call
routing. If you have databases that contain customer account or profile
information, you can perform database lookups to assist in call routing. You
can base the database lookups on Calling Line ID (CLID), Dialed Number (DN), or
Caller Entered Digits (CED) such as account or social security numbers.
A typical Gateway SQL application can prioritize callers. For example,
a call routing script can use the caller's CLID to access a database and
retrieve data about the caller such as the caller's average monthly bill.
Based on this information, the routing script routes the caller to the most
appropriate answering resource.
Before implementing the Gateway SQL and DB Lookup functionality, we strongly recommend considering a CVP VXML Application for database lookup instead. The DB Lookup node will interrupt routing while doing it's queries. The CVP VXML Application will scale much better.
The following figure shows a basic Gateway SQL configuration. Note
that this configuration requires an additional database server on which you can
load the external Microsoft SQL Server database and data.
Internet Script Editor is an application that works with routing and
administration scripts. It provides the same functionality as the Cisco Unified
ICM Script Editor software, without the need for an Administration & Data
Internet Script Editor works through the IIS Web server on Cisco
Unified ICM software, using HTTP to communicate with the Cisco Unified ICM
The Internet Script Editor and the Cisco Unified ICM Script Editor
GUIs are essentially the same. The menus, toolbars, palette, and work space are
utilized in the same manner in both applications. The differences between the
two occur primarily in the method by which each application communicates with
the Cisco Unified ICM software.
ICM multichannel software
The Cisco multichannel software provides a flexible, integrated
architecture to support a variety of agent and customer interactions for a
contact center. The contact center manager can configure agents to handle
voice, Web collaboration, text chat, and email requests and have the agents
switch between these media types on a task-by-task basis. The manager can also
configure agents to support only one media type. Customers can choose the
medium that is most comfortable and convenient for them.
Requests are routed by the Cisco Unified ICM system using the same
kind of business rules applied to contacts arriving from a carrier network.
Every request is delivered to the most appropriate agent anywhere in the
For information on Cisco Unified multichannel software, see the
documentation for Unified Email Interaction Manager, Unified Web Interaction
Manager, and Cisco Media Blander.
Cisco Unified Contact Center
Cisco Unified Contact Center combines Cisco IP telephony products and
Cisco Unified ICM software to create an IP-based contact management solution.
Cisco Unified Contact Center provides a migration path to an IP-based contact
center by supporting integration with legacy call center platforms and
networks. With Cisco Unified Contact Center, agents can use Cisco IP phones to
receive both time-TDM and VoIP phone calls. Capabilities of the Cisco Unified
Contact Center include intelligent call routing, ACD functionality,
network-to-desktop CTI, Unified IP IVR integration, call queuing, and
Cisco Unified Contact Center is based mainly on two Cisco products:
Unified CM and ICM software. Unified CM provides traditional PBX telephony
features in an IP telephony environment. Unified ICM software provides
enterprise-wide management and distribution of voice and data from ACDs,
Unified IP IVR systems, small office/home office (SOHO) agents, and desktop
applications. Cisco Unified IP phones and Unified IP IVRs (as well as
traditional TDM IVRs) are also part of the Cisco Unified Contact Center.
For information on Unified CCE, see the
Installation Guide for Cisco Unified ICM/Contact Center Enterprise & Hosted and the
Administration Guide for Cisco Unified ICM/Contact Center Enterprise & Hosted.