An agent desktop is one of the primary applications used by contact center agents for most of their business processes. In many contact centres, agents directly use the CRM consoles. However, in other cases, agents use specialized applications to execute their business processes. These desktop applications are typically integrated with other backend applications such as CRM, ticketing, ERP, legacy systems, middleware etc. and the CTI provider. Currently, all the major contact center technology providers such as Cisco, Avaya, Genesys etc. provide frameworks for building unified agent desktops.

The Challenges

The challenges faced by these contact centres include work load forecasting, customer service and attrition, though not just limited to these. Contact centres with complex workflows or integration with multiple IT systems additionally require focused desktop applications to ensure that customer services are not adversely affected and the KPIs are being achieved. There isn’t any one size fits all application that can solve all the customer queries and work flows in the most optimized way that is commercially available off the shelf.

The need for Rapid Prototyping

The business use cases help design the agent desktop application, but data and volumetric help optimize the application. Such focused and highly optimized applications are usually built using an iterative approach where the primary stakeholders (agents) continuously use and provide feedback. This requires a need for rapid prototyping of the user experience and the backend system interface design to build the most optimized agent desktop. The speed, performance and the agent productivity can all be achieved if the “right” application is developed. Industries such as Telco and Financial organizations usually adopt the rapid prototyping model since their business processes change frequently and the IT systems to be integrated are huge.

Rapid Prototyping will accurately forecast agent interaction time and system requirements

Rapid prototyping helps contact centres evolve their desktop application over a period of time. Contact centres can quickly build a minimum viable agent desktop and start serving the customers. In parallel, they can start optimizing the desktop / processes for better KPI management by taking feedback from agents, observing the user behavior, analyzing the usage data and optimizing the backend interfaces. This will require to build multiple iterations of the desktop application and validate the different hypothesis.

Rapid Prototyping defines accurate agent desktop requirements

Rapid prototyping of agent desktop helps in the requirements discovery phase where the latent requirements are unearthed. Business priorities can be managed far better using a prototyping approach rather than building an application using the traditional waterfall model. Such agent desktop applications are far more relevant to contact centres and customers. It is easy to adapt the desktop application to the changing priorities and the business needs.

In such a scenario, the IT team should choose appropriate technology, tools and processes so that they can complement the nature of the business i.e., if the business demands are rapidly evolving, the agent desktops should also be able to evolve quickly. Visual drag & drop designers, model driven architecture (MDA), template-driven frameworks, auto discovery of integration services are some of the productivity improvement tools that are very helpful for quick rollout of agent desktops