Making all pieces of CTI system work together properly requires high-scale synchronization and integration of products and vendors at all levels.
Basic hardware and conjunctive elements make the bottom layer of CTI system. The essential conjunctive elements include voice and data channel processing boards, appropriate servers and networks, adequate standards and application programming interfaces (API) that would provide linkage between the vendors’ equipment. The major suppliers of conjunctive elements are Natural Microsystems, Dialogic, Brooktrout and some other field companies, who differ on application types.
Network infrastructure echoes CTI in regard to data networks and phone switches
Phone switches are core components that make high-volume routing work as automatic call distributors within PBX system. Since networks need to be constantly upgraded to deliver outstanding call processing services through the network, phone services and switches are crucial to PBX and CTI systems. If a company is small and needs to route less number of applications through the network, CTI becomes an advantage, since no significant premise-based equipment is required. Small businesses benefit from the no need to set up high-tech infrastructure to implement and provide high-tech “high touch” services on the basis of existing network infrastructure of LANs, intranet, and external Internet connection.
However, there is an in-between layer between basic hardware and network infrastructure, which consists of most essential element of CTI system, namely customized applications.
Special applications retrieve necessary information from host systems, synchronize it with incoming telephony information, and format it for both sides
At the dawn of CTI, most of these products coordinated switch applications only between the products from the same vendor. Usually, the middleware of applications were highly important and needed to be highly customized for use with older widespread databases. Consequently, it imposed quite high pressure on the implementation of CTI systems. Companies that used old customized database systems experienced quite high levels of frustration when installing CTI systems, since they had to go through complex period of internal customization between the databases and switches.
Nevertheless, currently, middleware applications are being sold as built-in connectivity elements of CTI systems. Furthermore, application software writing companies are acquired by large corporations that offer CTI solutions.
Application layer is essential in the CTI hierarchy, since it is namely application software that makes staff more productive by the means of speech or messaging recognition, automated processing of sales orders on the web, etc. Yet, it is crucial for the company to consider and state clearly the idea of what CTI system is aimed to accomplish. Furthermore, the choice of PC equipment will depend on the applications company needs to run. Consequently, the process of setting up CTI system requires assessment of application features first, and then buying PC equipment to install appropriate and effective CTI. The process, thus, involves identifying applications that can be most beneficial to companies and then integrating the applications into existing network infrastructure.
Yet, all layers of CTI system and technology come with consulting and integration services, which link all the system to the highest benefit of CTI system user. Since the whole process is on-site, it requires quite close relationship between different people having different priorities within technical realms.