NSW govt moves on call centre consolidation

NSW govt moves on call centre consolidation

Infrastructure and applications to be shared across departments

The NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS) has started a project to upgrade its core telephony systems with the aim of opening the new platform to other government departments creating a virtual call centre environment.

DoCS is now seeking a solution to upgrade or replace the hardware and software associated with its Siemens PABX equipment at its 250 seat HelpLine call centre at Parramatta in Sydney's West.

The implementation is expected to be completed and operational by June 30 this year and will occur in concert with two other projects - a new voice and desktop recording system and the provision of a speech recognition IVR system.

The DoCS PABX supports four calls centres across two NSW government agencies - DoCS and the Attorney General's department. DoCS's HelpLine is required to be operational around the clock.

While the DoCS HelpLine is an in-bound call centre, there are plans to migrate the facility to a "multimedia contact centre" whereby the public can make contact via a Web site, e-mail, and fax. All transactions will then be able to integrate with the DoCS CRM system.

DoCS sees the convergence of data and voice technologies being led out of its call centre.

DoCS claims its HelpLine call centre is leading the consolidation and sharing of contact centre technology in the NSW government. I addition to the PABX sharing with the Attorney General's department, DoCS's Genesys CTI system is shared with the Department of Housing contact centre.

"The strategy is that the DoCS HelpLine will be the hub for a shared multi-site, multi-channel virtual contact centre technology platform," according to DoCS. "DoCS envisages its new solution will be leveraged by other NSW departments."

Collectively, DoCS, the Attorney-General's department and the Department of Housing handle some 7500 in-bound interactions per day.

The existing HelpLine comprises of a Siemens HiCom 350E PABX and Genesys version 7.1 CTI system with high-availability routing. An Oracle 9i database is used to record statistics for every call and every agent state change which is then used by Brio reporting for business intelligence.

The computer servers are running Windows 2003 Standard Edition with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange used for messaging. All workstations are Windows XP SP1.

To enable its vision for convergence, DoCS is seeking a Hybrid TDM-IP PABX that is also SIP enabled. The call centre agents are expected to remain on TDM lines with administration using VoIP handsets.

Other requirements of the new system include the ability to integrate with the existing Genesys CTI system, the RightFax server, and DoCS's Active-X based softphone. Provisions for disaster recovery are also "highly desirable".

The new system is also expected to generate SNMP "traps" to generate remote notifications to mobile phones, or e-mail addresses.

With 17 companies pre-selected to bid for the contract, a spokesperson for the Department of Commerce, the agency charged with handling most of the state's large procurement contracts, said the tenderers have to assess the current system and determine what is required for the update and replacement components.

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