PRODUCT PROFILE

Apropos Set To Release Interaction Management Suite 6

Apropos Technology is making a move to expand beyond the mid-market and sell to larger customers with the release of version 6 of its Interaction Management Suite. Due to debut in late June, the beefed-up application will provide upgrades for customization, integration, reporting and analytics capabilities and will be fully J2EE-compliant.

The revamped offering incorporates feedback from more than 100 users, said Apropos chief technology officer John Repko. In particular, the shift to Java-based technology and added support for Oracle and Unix will be attractive to large customers, he told CRM Buyer Magazine. A new server architecture will enable Apropos to enhance scalability, and the Java-based APIs will give customers more flexibility to customize the offering, Repko said.

Moving on Up

Like its predecessor, the latest offering integrates capabilities that support multichannel customer interactions, including voice, e-mail, Web chat and callback, fax correspondence and offline tasks. The company now is testing the new version, which can scale to handle 2,000 agents, 200 supervisors and up to 80,000 interactions per hour, said Bill Mertka, senior manager of product marketing at Apropos.

“When there are a large number of agents, a lot of customization is required, and the older version hasn’t been viewed as very user-friendly when it comes to customization,” said Gartner principal analyst Richard Costello. “Apropos is hoping for version 6 to provide an improved customization process and tools that would help move them into the mid-to-larger market,” he told CRM Buyer.

Apropos faces a challenge as it attempts to gain share in an already-crowded market, Costello said. Thus far, competition from the likes of Avaya, Cisco, Genesys and Interactive Intelligence has denied Apropos many of the larger opportunities it seeks, he explained.

“Apropos’ success so far has been in enterprises looking for a bundled solution for small-to-midsize contact-center environments and departmental solutions for Fortune 500 and Global 2000 organizations,” says a recent report from Gartner.

Out of the Center

According to Apropos, “interaction management” describes a “multimedia contact center with CRM and mobile capabilities,” Costello said. Version 6 will incorporate key features of the existing product, which uses a full set of tools to route, queue, control, track and report inbound and outbound multimedia interactions.

The contact-center management features include interaction distribution, escalation, priority, intelligent routing, real-time performance monitoring and historical reporting.

However, “a true enterprise-class tool would be present at desktops throughout the enterprise — not just in the contact center,” Apropos’ Mertka told CRM Buyer. “We’re seeing changes in interaction management supporting wider business processes….”

The trend is to move out of the contact center, he noted.

Driving Down TCO

While the company has not yet released pricing for version 6, Apropos is promising a low total cost of ownership (TCO) for the new product “based on its integrated software-based solution,” according to Gartner. The offering compares favorably with “multiple-component products from legacy vendors that require integration and maintenance of various and disparate hardware- and software-based products,” the firm reports.

Gartner adds that “Apropos’ simplification of management and system administration of existing communication channels also effectively lowers TCO.”

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