Very simply IVR is an application that allows callers to interact with the system without the need to be connected to a live agent.
Self service application allowing for playing prompts, collecting DTMF digits or speech recognition and performing actions based on these inputs.
Think about when you call your bank and get prompted to enter your account number, and based on your input you get presented with series of options such as check your balance, etc.
When IVR is integrated with an ACD you can opt out from it to be connected to a live agent for further treatment.
Cisco has the following IVR solutions:
UCCX (IPCC Express) which is a full IVR/ACD solution for SMB market, IP-IVR (same CRS engine) which can integrate with ICM to create an UCCE (IPCC Enterprise), or Cisco Voice Portal (CVP) which similarly to IP-IVR can integrate with ICM. Both IP-IVR and CVP can also be stand alone self service IVR solutions as well if no ACD/CTI functionallity is needed.
I encourage you to read further in numerous literature posted throughout CCO.
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