by Tim Lohman

Teachers Credit Union mitigates risk with new UC call centre deployment

Jul 15, 20094 mins
Technology Industry

Teachers Credit Union has deployed a 126 seat unified communications call centre solution to improve collaboration and interactions with its 155,000 strong membership.

The solution, supplied by Interactive Intelligence and deployed by United Business Solutions, has significantly improved the organisation’s disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities, says Colin Thomas, IT manager at the Teachers Credit Union.

“The benefits we have had so far are really based around risk mitigation,” Thomas says. “It has also given us a high capability benefit through having the solution split in an ‘active-active’ cluster between two locations. So, if there is a failure to a server component in one location there should be no interruption in service as it will automatically flip to the secondary server.”

“We also have local survivability built into the branch network, so if they lose contact with the core, they still have their own media servers and local gateways to keep in touch with the wider contact network,” Thomas adds.

The Interactive Intelligence solution replaces an older Ericsson ND 110 modular telephone system, in place for more than 10 years and clearly coming to its end of life cycle, Thomas says.

The move to the new contact centre solution is also part of a wider technology update at the organisation, which last year saw the deployment of a content management system, and an increase in the capacity and capability of its network to support its Web channel.

“We have moved to IP telephony internally and will probably move this financial year to an MPLS topology which will change things again so that we are almost exclusively IP based,” Thomas says.

The Credit Union has also placed a lot of emphasis on growing its self service capabilities across its Web and IVR channels in an effort to provide high-touch services, he says. The new Interactive Intelligence tools are expected to help provide those high touch services to its remote channels.

“We have a board of directors and an executive team which are very aspirational for the service quality and types of products we can deliver to the membership,” Thomas says. “My role as the IT guy is to put in place platforms that deliver to that aspiration. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I knew I was delivering technologies from last century rather than this century.”

With the roll out of the National Broadband Network, the organisation will consider leveraging the higher speed link between itself and members to offer greater choice over the types of interactions with the Credit Union.

“It could see us connecting the Web site to our back end systems and allow members to service themselves,” Thomas says. “Not just basic transactional banking but a holistic management of their financial services portfolio.”

Combining the NBN, the Interactive Intelligence platform and the Credit Union’s limited current presence capability — provided by Microsoft’s Office Communications Server — could see presence extended internally and externally to its membership.

“The next stage for us is to incorporate the Microsoft OCS toolkit into the Interactive Intelligence platform so we have presence across the company,” Thomas says. “If we can do that internally, then conceptually at least, it’s just a matter of flipping that and presenting it to the membership.”

The Credit Union is also considering extending its current strong IVR and Web authentication tools to its click-to-chat services so it can increase interaction with its members.

“If the business chooses to have transaction services [in chat] then you need to do that on the basis of it being authenticated,” Thomas says. “We already have strong authentication tools on the Web site and our voice service so it makes perfect sense to move that to chat as well.”