Avaya has acquired Agile Software for an undisclosed sum, in order to get its hands on the team that develops the call centre software which Avaya sells to midsize businesses.

By controlling R&D for Avaya's Contact Center Express (CCE) software, Avaya says it can develop new features for it more quickly and integrate it more tightly with other Avaya products.

The company says this will result in tighter links with Dialogue Designer and Voice Portal, Avaya's development and management software for self-service contact centre applications. Owning Contact Centre Express outright will also speed its integration via Session Initiation Protocol with Avaya's general communication-layer software, the company says.

Avaya will also be able to integrate CCE with higher-end Avaya communications products for businesses that grow in size or have new communications demands, the company says.

Avaya bought Agile last week, but will not disclose the price. Avaya already owned 23 per cent of the company. The purchase will give Avaya a better footing to compete with medium sized offerings from competitors Alcatel-Lucent, Altitude, Aspect, Cisco, Interactive Intelligence and Nortel, says Mike Barbagallo, an analyst with Current Analysis. Overall, Avaya is the leader in contact centre sales, he says.

Avaya has had a mixed history in its medium sized contact centre offerings, having a product, dropping it, returning with two products then OEMing from Agile, Barbagallo says. "This [deal] tells me they're really serious and can develop faster, adding things they want to add without negotiating with Agile," he says.

Avaya also is announcing the latest version of CCE, which is designed to give sophisticated monitoring and reporting capabilities to contact centres with as many as 300 agents. CCE 4.0 adds more detailed reporting of voice, email and instant messaging activity by contact centre agents, making an additional Avaya reporting product, Call Management System, unnecessary for many customers, Barbagallo says. The features are used to determine agent productivity, key data in figuring out how to keep costs down.

CCE 4.0 adds integration with Avaya Voice Portal. Previously, if customers wanted interactive voice response features in CCE, they had to buy third-party products.

The new version of software also adds more automated features such as auto callback; if customers call and hit a queue with a long wait time, they can use CCE to schedule a time when an agent will call them back. The software integrates with a dialler that calls customers at the scheduled times.