I’ve said before that it’s critical that enterprises conduct end-to-end testing, particularly for their contact center or unified communications environments. But what does testing end-to-end really mean?
The four key elements to look at in end-to-end testing are: infrastructure, IVR/auto attendant, telephony-database integration, and agent CRM system. In this post I’m going to focus on infrastructure testing. Be on the lookout for upcoming posts on the other three areas.
Today’s Complicated Communications Environment
Today’s communication environment is extraordinarily complex. We live in a time where everyone wants to communicate and interact in their own unique way. Clearly this situation can be very challenging for contact center operations managers. There is pressure to meet customer satisfaction goals and reduce the risk of new technology, while also keeping costs low and addressing other business goals.
Under such circumstances, it’s important to test your communications infrastructure with a number of different goals in mind.
Testing Interdependencies Between Components
In order to ensure that all components work together in harmony, you must find out the answers to the following questions:
- What are all the potential call flows?
- What network elements are the calls or interactions traversing?
- How is provisioning and segmentation configured
- How does one element depend on another?
Testing Each Component Together and Alone
It’s important to test each element separately to insure functionality and capacity. After that, you need to perform a holistic test. Remember, components are being placed in a unique communications environment, filled with pieces from various vendors with a wide range of functionality. Without testing, predicting how components will react is near to impossible.
Testing Multichannel Networks
Multichannel networks carry not only voice traffic, but also data and video traffic. It’s important to understand how communication is conducted on each of these channel independently. At the same time, you also need to understand how one channel might affect (or degrade) other channels.
The Many Benefits of End-to-end Infrastructure Testing
There are numerous organizations involved in the success of a contact center network: IT, telecom, database, agent operations etc. So often, I’ve participated in situations where, when things begin to go wrong, the finger pointing begins. End-to-end infrastructure testing can help you minimize this issue. Instead of waiting until a customer complains when an issue occurs, you can pinpoint the problem and get things fixed quickly.
Along those same lines, keep in mind that finding root cause is extremely challenging and time-consuming in production environments. If you test before you go into production, you can minimize mean time to diagnosis and repair.
Testing before going live is really the only way to ensure that your customers will be getting the best experience possible when new technology is added to the communications environment. If you don’t believe me, read the research by Gartner.
Does your organization test technology before deploying it? Let me know in the comments below.