If you’ve worked in IT for a while, chances are you’ve witnessed or even participated in a failed project or one that yielded less than stellar results. It can happen to the best of us and like all struggles we move on and learn from the experience. Involvement in a failed CTI project or hearing negative experiences from others, you may be skeptical of the value of CTI or have the opinion that it’s too complex and the ROI is limited. CTI projects are like any IT project though and chances are the failure had more to do with lack of planning and communication than telephony integration itself. You can read what some of our customers like Continental Tire and Carnival say about CTI here, to see what CTI has done for them if you’re still skeptical.
Here’s what we’ve learned to ensure CTI project success:
- Gather requirements from the business – if you already have a solution in place, document what features are valuable and what they can’t live without. Write up what features they’d like to see in a new product. If you don’t have a solution in place document the current process, including the pain points, exception handling and what they view as a successful process.
- Discuss those requirements when looking for a vendor. Vendors tend to emphasize the features they have, don’t let them distract you with features that aren’t important to your business.
- Plan resources. Get the info up front on skillsets you need to have involved in an implementation. Resources are often matrixed so you don’t want to kick off a project only to stall because you have to wait months for a resources to be available. If you have to bring in a consultant, you need to factor that into your overall budget.
- Integration products require info from both systems they are integrating to. Get this checklist and fill it out before you begin installation. You need to know what licenses and versions you need on both ends to accomplish your desired results.
- Don’t overlook training. User adoption is more successful when agents are familiar with the software so don’t just throw them into it – even if they already are familiar with screenpop and the CRM.
- Invest in a test environment. The closer it is to production the better. Dropping new code into production and hoping for the best or trying to test after hours doesn’t set yourself up for success.
- Create test scripts for all scenarios, not just sunny day scenarios. Exception handling will kill you on user adoption so make sure your testers account for all of the exceptions. If there are differences in the test and prod environments, make sure you are aware of them so you have a risk mitigation plan if it comes up in production.
- Pilot. We are big proponents for learning from your mistakes. Piloting is a great way to vet out issues so you can address any hiccups when you hit prime time. It’s also a great way to gain advocates for the software you are rolling out. Have your pilot group train others as you roll out.