Outsourcing Glossary S-Z


Sales Force Automation (SFA)
SFA software enables sales people on the road to use their notebook computers to log remotely to a central database. The database contains all information and resources of its sales team, so everyone is better informed.

Scheduling Exception
When agents are involved in activities outside the normal schedule.

Screen Monitoring
A system where supervisors are able to remotely monitor the activity of agents’ computer terminals.

Screen Pop
Synchronization of the appropriate screen populated with the right customer data from a legacy system to match the incoming call presented to the agent.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)
An SLA is a contract or addendum to a contract that defines the type, value and conditions of the outsourcing services to be provided. Typically, SLA’s address quality of service conditions, such as response time, availability, speed, et cetera.

Screen Refresh
Rate that real-time information is updated on a display.

Service Legal Agreement
Performance objectives reached between the service user and the provider, or between an outsourcer and organization. This includes specific objectives e.g.: 10% increase sales, answer all calls within 1 minute.

Shared Services
Shared services is the outsourcing of a business function within an enterprise to a highly skilled internal department or group. For example, the purchasing department at one plant may provide purchasing services to all other plants within a given manufacturing company. Shared services may also be provided to third parties.


Talk Time
The time agents spend with callers during transaction.

Using telecommunications to work from home or other locations instead of at the organizations premises. Now more likely because of VoIP technology.

Telephony Applications Programming Interface (TAPI)
CTI protocol developed by Microsoft and Intel.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
A type of calculation designed to help consumers and enterprise managers assess both direct and indirect costs and benefits related to the purchase of any IT component. The intention is to arrive at a final figure that will reflect the effective cost of purchase, all things considered. When you decide to buy a computer you may go through a TCO analysis: for example, the greater cost price of a high-end computer might be one consideration, but one that would have to be balanced by adding likely repair costs and earlier replacement to the purchase cost of the bargain brand. The TCO has to be compared to the total benefits of ownership (TBO) to determine the viability of the purchase.

(1) A command, message, or input record that explicitly or implicitly calls for a processing action, such as updating a file. (2) An exchange between and end user and an interactive system. (3) In a database management system, a unit of processing activity that accomplishes a specific purpose such as a retrieval, an update, a modification, or a deletion of one or more data elements of a storage structure.


Uniform Call Distributor (UCD)
A system that distributes calls to agents and provides reports. A UCD is not as sophisticated as an ACD.

Universal (Blended) Agent
Refers to either an agent who can handle all types of incoming calls or an agent who can handle both inbound and outbound calls.


A vendor is any person or company that sells goods or services to someone else in the economic production chain. Parts manufacturers are vendors of parts to other manufacturers that assemble the parts into something sold to wholesalers or retailers. Retailers are vendors of products to consumers. (When you have a street fair, the people who set up booths and tables are often referred to as vendors.) In information technology as well as in other industries, the term is commonly applied to suppliers of goods and services to other companies

Virtual Service Center
A distributed Service Center that acts as a single site for call handling and reporting purposes.

Voice Response Unit (VRU)
Also called Interactive Voice Response Unit (IVR), or Audio Response Unit (ARU). A VRU responds to caller entered digits or speech recognition in much the same way that a conventional computer responds to keystrokes or clicks of a mouse. When the VRU is integrated with database computers, callers can interact with databases to check current information (e.g., account balances) and complete transactions (e.g. make transfers between accounts). See Voice Processing.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) 
Allows two parties to talk using their computers, over the Internet i.e. No phone needed.


Web Based Call
Initiated by hitting a ‘hot button’ when browsing a web site to link the person to an Agent for more detail.

Web Callback
The caller enters a phone number into a web page and the agent calls the caller back.

Web Collaboration Assisted Browse Co Browse
Allows one party to control the web browser of the other and guide them through the web pages.

Web Informer / Web Announcements
When held in a queue the callers computer speaks to the caller to advise of delay times etc.

Web Video
If either the agent or the caller has a camera then one can see the other. Normally combined with VoIP as well.

White Boarding
Allows the agent and caller to draw freely using their computers on a common screen.

Wide Area Network (WAN)
The connection of multiple computers across a wide area.

Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
A technology that converts Web pages into a format accessible by mobile phones.

Workforce Management Software
Software systems that may forecast call load, calculate staff requirements, organize schedules and track real-time performance of individuals and groups.

Similar to call load, however can also include non-call activities.

Wrap up
Work that is a result immediately follows an inbound transaction. This often includes entering data, filling out forms and making outbound calls necessary to complete the transaction. The agent is unavailable to receive another inbound call while in this mode. Also called Post Call Processing (PCP).

Wrap-Up Codes
Codes agents enter into the ACD to identify the types of calls they are handling. The ACD can then generate reports on call types, by handling time, time of day, etc.