Adaptive Engineering (AE) lives gamification to its core and it user desktop is a significant differentiator. It has taken a page from the $40 billion video gaming industry and has designed its application’s interface to resemble video games. The company’s packaging and development philosophy is to create the artwork for the interface first, then connect all the marbles. Customers are part of the design and AE customizes the interface to the customer’s specifications, including incorporating logos, colors, graphics, and pictures into the interface. Concourse’s game-like look and feel is more appealing to younger users because it is an interface with which they are familiar. However, the intuitiveness of the interface offers a short learning curve and less “work-like” environment to all users.
Adaptive Engineering’s Concourse enables enterprises to combines multiple work-flows into a single interface. It provides a solution-independent platform for companies wishing to streamline employee and contact center agent-desktops, improve communication and collaboration, and increase knowledge transfer. Moreover, Concourse packages its solutions (Adaptive Engineering calls them “marbles”) into an easy to use, intuitive, and … well … fun interface. (How often can are business applications called fun?)
Concourse is different from other integrated applications. It is more of a communication unifier that a UC solution. While most solutions are based on the vendor’s product (such as Cisco Unified Communication Manager or ShoreTel’s Communication Manager), Adaptive Engineering designed Concourse to be vendor and channel independent. Concourse supports all communication channels, including social media, voice, email, SMS/text messaging, instant messaging, and video and it enables businesses, governments, nonprofits, and other organizations to combine their multiple communication systems (such as Avaya PBXs, Interactive Intelligence CIC, Microsoft email and IM, and Polycom video solutions) into a streamlined application. Finally, Concourse supports operation on most of the popular mobile operating systems.
By gathering their marbles into a single “basket”, users can use a combination of communication channels to send and share information, collaborate on projects and customer issues, and create conferences. For example, a contact center agent may need assistance with a customer. She can initiate a conversation with an expert with an instant message, receive instructions via email, and initiate a conference call between herself, the caller, and the expert all within the Concourse interface. While many contact centers can complete these activities, it would require three or four separate applications.
Concourse garners and evaluates the status information provided by other communication solutions and displays that status information within the interface. Contact center agents, for example, can see if a particular expert or supervisor is available and can search for others if their first choice is unavailable. Moreover, administrators can configure Concourse to search for experts using a round robin process. The solution tracks of the frequency of each connection and attempts to balance the workload. This prevents agents from overusing a resource and creating strains between the contact center and business units.
Concourse provides two additional functions that offer significant opportunities to contact centers and help desks. Agents have the ability to push files to other users. For example, a contact center agent can send product brochures or troubleshooting steps to customers through the company’s webpage. In addition, Concourse supports remote control of a user’s desktop. This is helpful for troubleshooting customer issues; for example, a technician on a help desk can connect to a user’s PC and perform diagnostics, then retrieve the file for evaluation. The agent may also have a specialist look at the issue by creating a “daisy-chained” remote control.
Applied Engineering built Concourse on several open source platforms including Red Hat Linux, JBoss, Apache, and MySQL, among others as well as common proprietary platforms, such as Microsoft SQL server. Concourse is a single server application that operates on Windows, Linux, Sun-OS, HPUX, and AIX. Concourse provides a single-login via Active Director and LDAP. In addition, the Concourse Client operates on Windows XP and Windows 7 as well as through Citrix and Windows Terminal Servers. Finally, the application supports security protocols such as SSL, Kerberos, and 256-AES encryption.
Perspective customers should note that Concourse requires professional services to install and configure. However, the amount of services required is no more than would be needed with many other integrated solutions, and because it is based on open source software, Concourse may even require less. Adaptive Engineering and its partners are capable of providing all services a customer needs to install and maintain Concourse.
Applied Engineering is a private company with its headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts (USA) It operates Centers of Excellence in Bucharest, Romania and Belgrade, Serbia as well as a development and support center in India. It was founded in 2003 as professional services provider and developed and released Concourse a couple of years later. The company employs approximately 150 employees with 50 in the US and the remaining divided between the Romania, Serbia, and India. Financially, AE is self-sufficient and operates within its revenue streams, has no debt, and uses no venture capital. Its customers include T-Mobile, Bank of America, ConsumerUnited Insurance, and Dish Network.
Most companies have an established communication portfolio and are hesitant to replace a solution just to unify the communication. However, Concourse allows users to keep their existing communication solution and bundle them into a neat and fun package. Enterprises looking for to inject some fun into their work-flows, should investigate Adaptive Engineer’s Concourse.