Recos IC and Cisco Collaborate to Build Custom CUCM Solution for RZF Financial Administration Offices
Recos IC is an innovative software provider for additional communication modules based in Lachen, Switzerland, with German offices in Immenstadt and Ludwigsburg. Our company has been a Cisco Preferred Solution Partner for several years, and our motto is "Swiss quality: the foundation of your success."
Recos IC builds solutions for service oriented call handling on top of Cisco products to help organizations requiring call management features that are not available as part of out-of-the-box offerings. With these applications the customer can optimize his workflow and raise the phone reachability.
These custom solutions are based on our Recos IC Suite software environment and include presence management, call routing, and call history modules that extend the capacities of CUCM. To build these extensions, we work closely with Cisco to learn about the technology roadmap and then with solution integrators to determine gaps in services and functionalities. We then step in to fill any holes that might be preventing our clients from maximizing the potential of their service centers operations.
Building an Intelligent Service Center
One of our customers is RZF—Rechenzentrum der Finanzverwaltung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. It’s the Data Center of the Financial Administration of North Rhine-Westphalia (RZF) in Germany—the IT department of the Ministry of Finance. The organization's service centers are the primary point of contact for citizens in the region who have questions about their income taxes and pensions, payments, reimbursements, and other fiscal or legal issues and obligations arising out of financial rules and regulations.
As you might imagine, getting through to the right person is vital for citizens dealing with the RFZ. With some 28,000 IP phones and physical Jabber clients connected to the organization's network, it can be challenging for a caller to find someone who can help you with tax, pension and other issues. With its Cisco IT, Communication and Service infrastructure, the RZF ensures that all necessary services are available securely and permanently at all times.
Nobody wants to play phone tag or be passed from one service agent to another. Unfortunately, call center management software doesn't always make it easy to transfer individuals to the right person. What if an agent is in a meeting? What if somebody left their post but didn't log out, thus appearing to still be online?
Take the Time to Get It Right
In early 2018, after Cisco released a new version of CUCM, RZF came to us requesting improved call management, call grouping, and login administration functionalities that weren't available on the platform. One of their requirements was that we build an application that would not require employees to open up a new window or an additional application. In addition, it had to be possible to log on and off easily and flexibly. Could we integrate these features into their physical Jabber client?
In just one month, in December 2018, all one hundred and ten service centers with about 500 service groups were migrated from the old system, distributed to the new centralized platform. We made sure that everything was working correctly behind the scenes before we rolled out RZF’s customized Recos IC Suite solution to the entire organization. The switchover went off without a hitch.
Custom Presence Dependent Call Management
The most important new feature is the presence management function. It automates individual logins and logouts, and allows service agents to manage their online status. For example, an RZF employee who is at their desk may have to spend the next hour on administrative tasks. They can set their status to away, and calls will be routed to the next available team member. Switching back the presence status to available will bring back the employee to the service center—no additional login is necessary.
The same goes for employees who are at lunch or taking a break. When they step away and lock their computers, they are automatically logged out of their service center because the presence status of Cisco Jabber client is listed as being unavailable. We couldn't do that with CUCM, and the lack of this feature created all kinds of frustration for callers who were waiting to get through to people who weren't there.
The real power of Recos IC Suite is the new management capacities it gives team leaders. For example, if a team is short-staffed or a crisis occurs, its leader can open up the directory, see who's available, and transfer qualified agents from other units into his or her team. Should the need arise, leaders can also move entire categories of calls to other teams.
Another Recos IC Suite feature for a simplified administration is the provisioning module. Recos Provisioning provides an interface that can be used to manage the entire team solution in the RZF. This reduces the time to manage all groups and team member substantially and helps to prevent errors by manual administration. All necessary information is taken from existing, central systems, merged by the module and forwarded to the necessary systems like Callmanager. If, for example, a new employee is added or his team membership changes, this is only entered in the central HR system—everything else is automatically adjusted by the Recos software.
An End to Missed Calls
A final critical feature is server-based call history. RFZ has a high number of part-time employees and also remote workers. Citizens also call in with tax questions on evenings and weekends because they can't do it during regular business hours. Previously, RZF could only log a history of calls received when the Jabber client was active.
Recos IC’s custom solution extended this capacity by allowing the system to log missed calls to a server for retrieval the next time. This capacity is tied to an agent's direct line and all service centers, and as a result, a worker who is a service center can see all missed calls, no matter if they were personal or service center call. Recos IC’s custom solution extended this capacity by allowing the system to log missed calls to a server for retrieval the next time. This capacity is tied to an agent's direct line and all service centers, and as a result, a worker who is a service center can see all missed calls, no matter if they were personal or service center call.
A Seamless User Experience and Reduced Server Costs
None of these features were standard in Cisco CUCM, and the only other way for RZF to acquire them was to use an expensive full-blown call center solution. This approach was cost-prohibitive and inefficient because it would have required adopting a whole new system.
Fortunately, Cisco provides access to the CUCM and Jabber APIs, and this allowed Recos IC to create a seamless user experience on top of RFZ's Jabber client using Swiss and German expertise on top of American technology.
As a result, more than half of RZF’s 28,000 users are now enjoying the presence dependent call distribution features offered by Recos IC Suite, integrated in Jabber with fast growing upward tendency.
A further benefit of this custom solution is the reduction in the number of distributed application servers from one hundred and ten to four, which was achieved by centralizing the system design as we were building the new solution on top of Cisco CUCM and Jabber.
The savings in infrastructure, IT management, and energy costs are substantial.
A Partnership Based on Innovation, Respect, and Trust
Collaborating with companies like ours is one of the hallmarks of Cisco's approach to IT. They don't treat their partners as resellers who push product. They empower us to extend their ecosystem and to provide bespoke experiences to our customers using Cisco technology as the foundation.
Our partnership with Cisco is built on innovation, respect, and trust. We work together to push the boundaries of IT and to offer our customers solutions that are easy, automatic, and intelligent. I am proud of our work for RZF because Cisco and Recos IC are helping ordinary people get the information they need from the government to keep their taxes, their pensions, and their finances in order.