Cisco provides an option for running an interface to Interactive Voice
Response (IVR) systems. The IVR interface software allows IVRs to take
advantage of Unified ICM call routing features. For example, an IVR can use
post-routing capabilities to select targets for calls it needs to transfer. The
IVR interface software runs on a standard PG hardware platform. It allows the
Unified ICM to route calls to targets on an IVR and collect data from an IVR
for use in call routing, real-time monitoring, and historical reporting. 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. For a list of IVRs that support
this interface, contact your Cisco representative.
To plan for this IVR option:
Review the options for integrating IVRs into the Unified ICM system.
Determine if any IVR programming or application development is
Review the Peripheral Gateway platform requirements.
IVRs can be located at the customer's call center site or in the IXC
network. At the call center, you can connect the IVR on the network side of the
"behind" the ACD. In the IXC network, the network provider can
offer the IVR as a service.
In an Unified ICM configuration that includes an IVR, you configure
the ACD so that it can transfer calls to the IVR. The following figure shows
some of the capabilities of the IVR in an Unified ICM system.
Figure 1. IVR/ICM Integration Overview
Capabilities of IVR:
In most Unified ICM /IVR configurations, calls continue to be
Pre-Routed by the Unified ICM system.
When a call is routed to an IVR, the IVR answers the call and
interacts with the caller.
The IVR can access a host system (for example, a customer profile
database) to retrieve more information to help process the call.
Often, the caller can get all the information he or she needs
through simple interaction with the IVR. In some cases, however, the IVR needs
to transfer the caller to an agent or another call resource.
In some configurations, the IVR can invoke post-routing to select
an agent from anywhere in the call center enterprise. To do this, the IVR sends
a route request to the PG. The PG forwards the request to the Unified ICM
system, which responds with a new destination for the call. The PG returns the
new destination to the IVR. The IVR then signals the ACD or network to transfer
the call to the specified destination.
The way in which an IVR is integrated into the Unified ICM system
affects the flow of call processing and determines the types of data the
Unified ICM can collect from the IVR. For example, an IVR that has a direct
interface to an IVR PG provides the Unified ICM system with data that is used
in call routing, monitoring, and reporting. A configuration in which the IVR
has an interface only to the ACD has more limited capabilities.
You can integrate IVRs into the Unified ICM system in several
different ways. Each integration option provides a different set of Unified ICM
In this option, the IVR is attached only to the ACD. The ACD, in turn,
is attached to a PG. The PG is running the Cisco peripheral interface software
(PG software process) required to communicate with the specific type of ACD.
There is no direct interface between the IVR and the Unified ICM system (in
other words, an IVR process is not implemented).
Figure 2. Configuration With an ACD PG Only
In this configuration, you must connect the IVR to an ACD that
supports post-routing. The IVR and ACD cooperate so that calls are transferred
from the IVR to the ACD, and then post-routed by the ACD via the PG. The PG in
this configuration has only the ACD peripheral interface software. It does not
have the IVR interface software; therefore, it does not provide the IVR with
full access to post-routing.
In the preceding figure, the IVR can handle a call in two different
The IVR can handle the call to completion (for example, if the
caller wanted current billing information and needed no further assistance, the
IVR can complete the call.)
The IVR can transfer the call to the ACD. The ACD can then use the
PG to post-route the call.
Configuration with IVR and ACD PGs
This configuration option is similar to the previous option except
that an IVR process and host link to the IVR are implemented. In addition to
monitoring the ACD for real-time agent and call event data, the PG can monitor
the IVR for call and application data and control the movement of calls into
and out of the IVR. The IVR data is also forwarded to the CallRouter for call
routing and reporting.
As shown in the following figure, you can install the IVR and ACD
interface software on the same PG hardware platform.
Figure 3. Configuration with IVR and ACD PGs
Network-side IVR with IVR and ACD PGs
The next configuration option places the IVR on the network side of
the ACD. In this configuration, the IVR is connected to the network and
potentially to the ACD. The IVR can receive calls directly from the network
without ACD involvement. The Unified ICM can pre-route these calls, but it is
not a requirement.
The IVR can also receive calls from the ACD (for example, when an
agent transfers a call to the IVR). Again, the Unified ICM may or may not have
routed these calls. The following figure shows an example.
Figure 4. Network-Side IVR with IVR and ACD PGs
Once the IVR receives a call, it can handle the call to completion or
transfer the call off-IVR for subsequent handling. The IVR can also use
post-routing to select a target for the transfer. If the IVR transfers the call
to an ACD, the IVR may or may not request routing instructions from the Unified
This configuration is different from the earlier options in several
The IVR is connected to both the network and the ACD.
You can transfer a call that originated in the network to the
local ACD by tandem connecting a second trunk with the original trunk. You can
transfer a network call to a remote ACD either by connecting a second trunk in
tandem with the original trunk, or by invoking a
"call take-back" feature in the network.
You can use post-routing to transfer a call that originated at the
local ACD to any target.
In-network IVR with ACD PG only
In this configuration, the IVR is provided as a service by the network
service provider. The PG monitors the ACD and forwards data to the Unified ICM
system for call routing and reporting.
When the caller dials the toll-free number, the Unified ICM instructs
the network to transfer the call to the network-based IVR. The network IVR then
prompts the caller for input. If the caller requires additional information
(such as speaking to an agent), the IVR dials a
"hidden" toll-free number. The network then queries the Unified
ICM system for a routing destination. The Unified ICM system returns a routing
label and the network transfers the call to the specified ACD and DNIS. An
agent at the ACD can handle the call to completion or transfer the call for
In-network IVR with IVR and ACD PGs
In this configuration, the IVR is provided as a service by the network
provider. The network transfers all calls to a destination IVR. The IVR either
handles a call to completion or transfers the call to another resource (for
example, an agent at an ACD).
Figure 5. In-Network IVR with IVR and ACD PGs
IVR transfer routing using third-party call control
In this configuration, the IVR invokes a transfer request to transfer
a call to the ACD. The IVR uses a CTI link to the ACD which sets variables in
the transfer request (for example, CED, DNIS, CLID, Social Security number, or
account number). This configuration is viable only if the IVR is attached to an
ACD that supports post-routing. The following figure provides an example of
Figure 6. IVR Transfer Routing with Third-Party Call Control
When the ACD receives the transfer from the IVR, it makes a route
request to the PG to conduct an enterprise-wide agent selection. The PG routing
client sends a route request to the CallRouter. The CallRouter passes a
response to the PG and on to the ACD. The ACD then transfers the call to the
IVR programming and application development
The Open IVR Interface allows the
Unified ICM to see some level of IVR application-specific data (for example,
menu selections). An IVR application developer can use the Open IVR Interface
to implement call routing (routing client) and monitoring capabilities.
The IVR routing client allows the IVR to send route requests to the
Unified ICM via the PG. These requests can include data variables such as
Customer ID and Menu Selections. The Unified ICM system uses this data to
instruct the IVR where to transfer the call. The application developer uses the
IVR monitoring interface to send IVR port and application activity data to the
Unified ICM system for call routing and reporting.
IVR Peripheral Gateway
The Cisco IVR interface software runs as a logical PG on a standard
Peripheral Gateway hardware platform. A single PG hardware platform can support
a maximum of two logical PGs. A single PG platform may run one or two IVR PGs
or an IVR PG and an ACD PG. For example, you can have a PG hardware platform
that runs an Aspect CallCenter PG and an IVR PG. A logical PG can have PIMs for
one type of ACD, plus an IVR PIM. The hardware platform must have sufficient
capacity to handle the aggregate load from all attached peripherals.
The multi-instance CTIOS configuration supports up to ten logical
PGs on a single PG platform. These PGs are configured as separate customer
In the following figure, a duplexed set of PGs serve both an IVR
system and an ACD system. These PGs are equipped with both ACD and IVR
The IVR can also be on a System IPCC PG or a IPCC Generic PG.
The IVR Peripheral Gateway can run in simplexed or duplexed
configurations. In a duplexed configuration, only one side of the PG has an
active connection to the IVR at a time.
When multiple IVRs are connected to a PG, IVRs that use poll-based
monitoring cannot be mixed with IVRs using any other kind of monitoring.
Figure 7. IVR-to-PG Interface
For information on how IVR systems fit into the Unified ICM data
communications networks, see