• United States
by Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick

XML ties apps together for call centers

Sep 01, 20032 mins
NetworkingProgramming Languages

* How XML can unite applications that call centers rely on

One of the basic operational requirements for a call center is the integration of multiple back-office systems and applications.

For example, agents need access to a customer relationship management system – preferably with a “screen pop” that shows a customer’s profile when the agent receives the customer’s call. Other applications may include accounting, inventory, or even an application external to the company like a credit check database. Historically, integrating these multiple applications has required substantial systems integration that proved expensive and time-consuming.

One improvement in how call centers integrate these multiple applications includes the introduction of XML, a standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium.

XML provides a means to structure, store and send information. As a markup language, it is a mechanism to identify structures in a document.

XML has been designed to be easily understood and simple to implement. Many developers (and even some amateurs) have learned to write using XML rules. With a large development community available, XML has become a widely adopted protocol to communicate between applications.

Desktop applications like Microsoft Windows and the Microsoft .Net framework provide an XML interface to ease integration with Web-based and e-business services. Enterprise back-office applications – including those from Oracle, PeopleSoft, Siebel and others – have also provided XML interfaces for several years.

Because desktop applications, back-office applications, and communications systems applications now support common Web-based protocols, the foundation is laid to integrate these multiple applications onto single user portal – including the call center agent’s desktop.