Computer Telephony Integration or “CTI” is the integration of external software applications into the telephony world. Basically, it allows an external application to access the telephone system in some manner. This can be either in a read mode, accessing information about the caller and where the call has been routed to (the person answering the phone), or even controlling how the call is routed, or originating the call (write/command mode). The two classic examples of these functions are the “screen pop” – where a call center agent has information about the caller automatically presented to their computer when they answer the phone, and the “click to call” application, where clicking on an icon causes the telephone system to dial your phone for you.
Computer Telephony Integration is the underpinnings of all advanced call center applications. Call recording, interactive voice response (IVR), outbound dialing applications like reminder services and even advance applications like SMS, chat and video can require CTI.
CTI uses different application programming interfaces (API) to communicate between the telephone system and the respective applications being accessed. There are several standard API’s defined, and each PBX vendor has their favorites, plus their own custom development interface.
CTI utilizes every part of an IT environment. Servers, network, telephone system, and software applications are all affected or have an effect on a CTI implementation.
It is therefore imperative that you have someone involved that understands the entire scope and background of the technology being implemented. As Independent Technology Consultants, Praecom Consulting is unique in that we have experience with Computer Telephony Integration consulting and how it affects the entire technology infrastructure, as well as ensuring that it meets the short and long term goals of the business.
If you are considering implementing any advanced call center features, make sure you engage an expert who has your business needs, technology infrastructure and an objective mindset prior to beginning your research.