Bayer migrates to a virtual contact centre solution with Aspect Unified IP

30 January 2014

Bayer Business Services is the global competence centre of Bayer Group for IT and business services. The focus is on services in the core areas of IT infrastructure and applications, procurement and logistics, human resources and management services, and finance and accounting. Stages of value creation range from consulting through the development and implementation of system solutions to business process outsourcing, the handling of entire business processes.

In fiscal 2011 Bayer Business Services employed a worldwide workforce of 6,381 people and achieved sales of EUR 1,103 million. Bayer Business Services has its head office in Leverkusen, Germany. Its chief international offices are located in Pittsburgh, São Paulo, Hong Kong, Newbury, Mumbai, Barcelona, Singapore and Berlin.

The challenge

In 2008, the Innovation Management of Bayer Business Services – IT Operations embarked upon a global IT strategy with the aim of making significant improvements to the company’s communications infrastructure and capabilities.

A new global project team, headed by Stefan Erkens, was tasked with developing and implementing a global unified contact centre strategy - with its first task being to analyse and report on the company’s current situation.

The team found that the existing contact centre structure was very fragmented. Developed over many years, it used solutions from numerous vendors and various licence fee models in different regions, with most systems supported and maintained locally. This local support structure had little flexibility and it was difficult to realise spontaneous customer requests.

High availability and unified contact centre management were identified as key requirements of the new technology solution at an early stage — as well as multichannel communications capabilities, a global support structure and future social media integration. The team recommended that changes be made on an incremental rather than a ‘rip and burn’ basis to ensure a smooth transition that was both flexible and cost-efficient.

The solution

The project was put out to tender globally and in Autumn 2008, Aspect was selected as the chosen supplier. Bayer Business Services identified Aspect Unified IP as a platform that could provide all the required capabilities, as well as global availability.

Bayer Business Services was attracted by Aspect’s proven expertise, ongoing delivery of leading contact centre solutions, its platform independent as well as high flexibility. The close partnership between Aspect and Microsoft and tight integration between Aspect and Microsoft solutions was also an important factor, as Bayer planned on major investments in Microsoft communications solutions, such as Microsoft Lync for unified communications, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, etc.

With Aspect® Unified IP® 6.6 as the enabling platform, Bayer Business Services designed the Bayer IP Contact Centre. The Aspect Unified IP – based solution provides a broad range of contact centre capabilities from inbound call distribution to virtual contact routing across various international locations, voice portal, outbound dialler, Internet contact and quality management (including voice and screen recording and historic and real-time reports).

The results

The Bayer IP Contact Centre incorporates core components and components that are tailored to specific projects to ensure that support is both global and sufficiently flexible to meet local requirements. This is very important to Bayer Business Services and their customers as each of its international contact centres is different. And, depending on the project, additional software and tools are sometimes integrated to provide for capabilities such as CTI, Outbound, Chat, Web, CTI online analysis or consulting-tools.

“We can unlock capabilities locally as we need them, while providing support for all contact centre solutions on a global level. This provides us with incredible flexibility,” said Stefan Erkens. “Aspect has complied with all our requirements — and working closely together with the Aspect team has been an excellent experience every step of the way.”

Bayer’s core Aspect Unified IP infrastructure is located in Leverkusen but can be accessed by its employees anywhere in the world via a user ID and password. All inbound customer contacts are answered ‘virtually’ before being intelligently routed to appropriate advisors or resources based on agent skills or other chosen criteria.

Aspect Unified IP supports various remote dial-in options (IPT Phone, IP Communicator, GSM or fixed line) delivering high flexibility. This includes remote working, a capability that proved extremely valuable when, in early 2010, heavy snow storms in Pittsburgh blocked all streets, preventing Bayer’s contact centre staff from getting on site. Thanks to the Aspect solution, all employees were able to work from home via remote access and operations ran uninterrupted—with no drop in service levels. A few months later, when more than 100 New Jersey-based agents had to stay at home due to severe weather, Bayer turned to contact centre remote working again.

“Here we can provide greatest flexibility in usage and a noticeable added value in reachability of Bayer’s global contact centres in Europe, North and Latin America as well as Asia,” said Hobart Moore, CT Manager Voice & Video, Pittsburgh. “Bayer’s global contact centres now provide greater flexibility and added value through improved availability all over the globe in Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America.”

All in all, Aspect Unified IP has delivered an extremely powerful and flexible solution for Bayer — not just enabling Bayer to introduce a new contact centre solution at a pace that suits its business needs but also enabling the company to unlock local capabilities and ensure business continuity via flexible remote access options.

“Aspect has confirmed our confidence in them. Our positive experience with Aspect in the past also had a part in the decision for the global deployment of Aspect Unified IP,” said Stefan Erkens. “We can unlock capabilities locally as we need them, while providing support for all contact centre solutions on a global level. This provides incredible flexibility to our customers.

“We have deployed Aspect solutions at our Leverkusen site for more than ten years now and, of course, this had also had a part in the decision for the global deployment of Aspect Unified IP. The new solution has stood the test and clearly confirms that Aspect was the right choice.”