Developing IVR Software with Rapid Application Development (RAD) Tools
January 26, 2011
RAD tools are the IKEA futons of the software world. Rather than starting from scratch with timber and carpentry tools, users get pre-cut and finished pieces, hardware and instructions—all they need is a screwdriver. Or, in this case, a computer.
These products make it possible for non-technical persons to create software such as IVR applications without coding it themselves, which requires knowledge of sophisticated software-development language.
With IVR, many applications are coded in VoiceXML (News - Alert), an open standard programming language for writing voice recognition and text-to-speech software similar in architecture to HTML. RAD tools for IVR like Plum Voice’s QuickFuse enable users to create IVR applications without in-depth knowledge of VoiceXML.
Instead, they provide drag-and-drop graphic user interfaces (GUIs) for visual programming of call flows—users can see their call flows as they design them while the software assembles the code in the background.
Because they use normal language along with visual tools for natural and intuitive design, RAD tools for IVR are quick and easy to learn. With QuickFuse, users can have working prototypes in minutes, especially for smaller, simpler applications. They can then go immediately to testing—walking through a test call on-screen in real time while QuickFuse highlights every prompt, input, branch and block for a clear view of paths and design errors.
With no coding, QuickFuse eliminates the need for staffing a VoiceXML programmer, which is ideal for companies that either don’t want or don’t have the resources for dedicated staff. Meanwhile, if users run into problems, they have vendor support at their disposal—they’ll never be alone and lost in the VoiceXML coding world.
On the back end, RAD tools do the complicated work of interfacing IVR systems to computer and phone networks, communicating to back-office systems with open-standard SOAP web services. Users don’t have to worry about interfacing, so they can concentrate on call flows. Because many RAD tools work with computer-telephony integration (CTI (News - Alert)) boards from multiple vendors, there’s no need to recreate an IVR application when switching CTI boards.
Compared to IVR solution development in VoiceXML, RAD tools for IVR are quick and easy. Instead of building the futon from scratch, they offer the out-of-the-box, easy-to-assemble IKEA version. TMCnet publishes expert commentary on various telecommunications, IT, call center, CRM and other technology-related topics. Are you an expert in one of these fields, and interested in having your perspective published on a site that gets several million unique visitors each month? Get in touch.
Edited by Juliana Kenny