Today, we\u2019ll look at three ways converged systems can bring business benefit: improving the caller\u2019s experience, improving call management, and improving employee resource management.* Improving the caller\u2019s experienceInteractive voice response (IVR) systems have long offered callers the ability to direct their own calls on a TDM-based PBX by using a touchtone pad to answer menu questions. However, when combined with speech recognition, today\u2019s IP-based systems can allow cost-effective integration with backend databases that allow customers to check their account balance, query inventory systems, place orders, or request to speak with a service representative. The caller experience improves by giving callers a choice to use speech-enabled self-service or to speak with a person.* Improving call managementBy building on caller-guided call destinations offered by speech-enabled self-service, call management can be improved using system-driven call control. VoIP-based systems can bring together information about the customer, the network, the employee, and the business application to get the best possible match between the call and the caller\u2019s expectation. Many VoIP-based systems can now extend the benefits of computer telephony integration to provide a screen pop that links appropriate customer data to a visual employee display. The customer data derived from either customer-provided information (like an account number) or caller ID is then linked to a back-office system like the customer resource management system or an order-management system.* Improving employee resource managementUsing raw data gathered from call records and network activity, although an effective tool, can be labor-intensive. Perhaps the best practices for using call detail reports to improve employee workforce management have traditionally been found in a call center environment. To take advantage of the business process that maximizes employee time, the distributed business needs to collect the same kind of call pattern data and have access to the same kind of reporting available to a call center. However, the data and reporting must be gathered from a distributed network of smaller offices or stores. When used appropriately, this gives businesses new information to help manage their employees in a distributed workforce.