Read Only Script Editor Access in PCCE

This question came up this past week and I had a nagging suspicion it wasn’t the case and spent some time trying to get it to work. In the good old days of UCCE Config Manager had the Feature Control set capability which allowed users to have a limited view to the ICM Script Editor. This was great for those type of users who understood the scripting, but were not trained up enough to make changes.

The PCCE 11 documentation seems to hint at this being possible. You create a read-only Administrator and then you give them Script Editor access. I understand this is a huge leap, but it is not an unreasonable assumption. However, the 12.6 documentation removed that information as well removed the ability of having read-only administrator. It appears that your only option in CCE Admin > Users > Roles is to remove all access to Script Editor The following role:


Has this effect:


If you add the Script Editor role again your user has full access to Script Editor again. So to summarize, it’s not possible to have a read only Script Editor user. I would love to be proven wrong. For now I hope this helps others out there looking for the answer.


A Deeper Dive Into the Cisco Finesse Layout

I’ve been helping a customer migrate from Cisco’s Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE) 11 to UCCE 12 and Amazon Connect. Depending on the complexity and needs of the business they might move to UCCE 12 or they might be moved to Connect. This has caused me to spend some time thinking of the most efficient way to migrate configuration between multiple environments and ensure everything is up to date.

One of the components which I’ve done a lot of work with, but never really looked at too closely is the Finesse layout. In this post we’ll break down what layouts are, how they work, and provide some interesting pieces of trivia around Finesse. This information is up to date as of Finesse 12.5. Make sure you reference the documentation for your specific version.


To start, the Finesse front end, what the agent and administrators see, are based on the OpenSocial specification. What this specification provides is a runtime environment where trusted and untrusted web components or gadgets can interact with the hosting platform, 3rd party services, or with other gadgets. Said differently, this specification sets the rules. It dictates how components will look, where they are placed, and what they can do. While the OpenSocial foundation no longer exists. At one point the foundation was moved under W3C where it was then set to inactive in 2018. The latest specification can be found living here.

An interesting bit of trivia. One of the original developers of OpenSocial was none other than MySpace. Remember them?

You will hear the word gadget multiple times and it is worth defining as it is a core block of Finesse. The best way to think about a gadget is as an application which can be embedded inside another application. If you’re familiar with widgets, you should consider gadgets to be very similar in nature. Now, something a lot of us fail to remember is that all of Finesse is actually one big gadget with a lot of smaller gadgets inside. While you can’t replace the whole gadget that runs on the Finesse server, you can add your own gadgets inside the Finesse gadget using a layout.


The very first thing you need to understand is that like all things Cisco Contact Center Enterprise and Express you must be very familiar with working with XML. While XML has lost a lot of favor in the last few years, when it comes to desktop layouts, using XML makes a lot of sense. While editing a layout can be confusing, Cisco does a good job of assisting with basic syntax checking to catch simple errors. In an ideal world there would be a visualizer that previews the changes you’re making to your layout before saving them. Maybe one day.

The XML file loaded must conform to this schema. The schema is what dictates what tags your layout can have as well as naming conventions for components. 

The XML schema has the following elements defined. These are not in the order they appear in the schema, but I’ve ordered in a hierarchical way to better highlight their relationship. Additionally, there are other elements included in the schema which are not covered below. The list below shows the most important elements to read through to better understand a Finesse layout:

  • finesseLayout: Think of this as the outer boundaries of the whole desktop.
  • layout: The actual layout.
  • role: Role definition.
  • tabs: Grouping of tabs.
  • tab: Each single tab.
  • page: The grouping of gadgets within that page referenced by a tab.
  • columns: Grouping of columns.
  • column: Each single column.
  • gadget: The actual gadget URL.

Another interesting bit of trivia. The XML schema allows for three types of Finesse users: Agent, Supervisor, and Admin. While the desktop layout never references Admins the schema has an additional role that Cisco could later enable or currently uses for publicly restricted functions.


The layout is what dictates what will be loaded when an agent or supervisor login to Finesse. More importantly, it allows for the organization of different gadgets on the page to fit your contact center requirements. At its core the layout includes the following sections:

  • Horizontal Header: This section is the top bar across Finesse. And includes a Logo, Product Name, Agent State for Voice, State for Digital Channels, Dialer Component, and Identity Component. For most installations you’ll only ever see the logo, name, voice state, and identity components.
  • Alternate Hosts
  • Title and Logo in Header
  • Headless Configuration: If your gadget does not require a UI.
  • Customized Icons

Interesting tip: Most gadgets can be dragged and dropped and resized by agents, however out of the box this feature is disabled. To enable it look at the enableDragDropAndResizeGadget config key.


Out of the box you should see the following gadgets:

  • Call Control
  • Queue Statistics
  • Agent Call History
  • Agent State History
  • Customer Context
  • Team Data (Supervisor)

Additionally there are a good bit of disabled gadgets that you can use they all revolve around bringing CUIC data, specifically Live Data, to the agent desktop.

I hope to have time to dive deeper on this topic. There are so many little morsels of information every where you look, you just have to dig a little deeper to find them.


Find specific phone number in Finesse phone books through the Finesse API using Python

Here’s a quick Python script that will allow you to go through each phone book in Finesse and identify the phone book that has the phone number(s) you’re after. Just fill in your information ‘<>’ and update the numbers you want to find.

import requests # for using API
from requests.auth import HTTPBasicAuth
import xml.etree.ElementTree as ET # for parsing XML

requests.packages.urllib3.disable_warnings() #If using a self signed certificate

rootURL = ‘<>’ # e.g.
phonebooksURL = ‘/finesse/api/PhoneBooks’
username = ‘<>’ #Finesse admin username
password = ‘<>’

headers = {‘Accept’: ‘application/xml’, ‘Content-Type’: “application/xml”}

phonenumbers = [‘5555551234’, ‘5555551235’, ‘5555551236’, ‘5555551237’] #phone numbers you want to find.

res = requests.get(rootURL+phonebooksURL, headers= headers, verify=False, auth=HTTPBasicAuth(username, password))

root = ET.fromstring(res.content)

for phonebooks in root:
phonebookId = phonebooks[3].text
res = requests.get(rootURL+phonebookId+’/Contacts’, headers=headers, verify=False, auth=HTTPBasicAuth(username, password))
root = ET.fromstring(res.content)
for contacts in root:
for number in phonenumbers:
if number in contacts[3].text:
print(phonebooks[2].text, contacts[3].text)


Audacity Export Encoding

Generating telephony audio prompts with Audacity on Windows and Mac

This blog post should be pretty basic, but in the last few months I’ve had two different parties ask me about this so I figured I would capture this for posterity. If you want to use Audacity to convert your audio file to a compatible format that can play in your Cisco UCCX or CCE call center or any system that uses CCITT u-Law 8.000 Khz, 8 Bit, Mono format.

Assuming you’re running the latest version of Audacity (I’m using version 3.1.3 on both Windows and Mac). Open the audio file you wish to convert. There are 3 settings you must change.

  • The format needs to be set to PCM 16-bit.
  • Project Rate (Hz) needs to be set to 8000.
Audacity Format and Rate

Audacity Format and Rate

  • File > Export > Export as WAV and ensure you set the right encoding.
Audacity Export Encoding

Audacity Export Encoding

That’s it, you’re good to go.


2022 Cisco Designated VIP

I am pretty jazzed for making this awesome list for the second year in a row. The amount of brain power that you can find in the Cisco community forums is insane and being grouped with them is an honor. I really appreciate the recognition from Cisco.

As an added bonus I looked back for my very first post on the community forums. It happened on 02/14/2006, almost 16 years ago. I don’t remember the specific project I was working on, but it involved IPCC Express 3.x… :)


Adding Text to Speech to Your IVR Using SaaS (Google Cloud Functions)

I’ve been on a text-to-speech and speech-to-text kick lately. My last post talked about using AWS S3 and Amazon Transcribe to convert your audio files to text and in previous articles I’ve covered how to create temporary prompts using Poly so you can build out your contact center call flows. Well, now we’re going to expand our use case to allow a traditional on premise call center to leverage the cloud and provide dynamic prompts. My use case is simple. I want my UCCX call center to dynamically play some string back to my caller without having to use a traditional TTS service.

First, this is not new in any way and other people have solved this in different ways. This Cisco DevNet Github repo provides a method to use to generate TTS for UCCX. However, this process requires loading a jar file in order to do Base64 decoding. Then there’s this Cisco Live presentation from 2019, by the awesome Paul Tindall, who used a Connector server to do something similar. To be fair the Connector server allowed for a ton more functionality than what I’m looking for.

Screen Shot 2021-09-15 at 3.38.30 PM

Cisco Live Presentation

Second, I wanted this functionality to be as easy to use as possible. While functionality keeps getting better for on premise call center software there are still limitations around knowledge to leverage new features and legacy version that can’t be upgraded that makes it harder to consume cloud based services. I wanted the solution to require the least amount of moving parts possible. That means no custom Java nor additional servers to stand up.

The solution I came up with leverages Google’s cloud (GCP) specifically Cloud Functions. However, the same functionality can be achieves used AWS Lambda or Azure’s equivalent. At a high level we have an HTTP end point where you pass your text string to and in return you will get a wav file in the right format which you can then play back.

Blank diagram

Flow Diagram

The URL would look something like this:

The Good Things About This

  • Pay as you go pricing for TTS. Looking at the pricing calculator a few hours of TTS a month would run under $2.00/month.
  • Infinitely scalable. If you’re handling 1 call or 100 calls your function will always return data.
  • Easy to use.

The Bad Things About This

  • There is a delay between making the request and getting the wav file. I’ve seen as long as 7 seconds at times. I would only use this in a very targeted manner and ensure it didn’t affect the caller experience too drastically.
  • Requires your on premise IVR to have internet access. Often time this is a big no no for most businesses.

Some initial testing with UCCX is showing some positive results. I’m going to investigate if there’s a way to accelerate the processing in order to keep the request and response in under 3 seconds as well as adding the ability to set language, voice, and even SSML via arguments. If you want to build this yourself here’s the code for the function.

def synthesize_text_to_wav(request):
"""Synthesizes speech from the input string of text."""
text = request.args.get('text')

client = texttospeech.TextToSpeechClient()
input_text = texttospeech.SynthesisInput(text=text)
voice = texttospeech.VoiceSelectionParams(
audio_config = texttospeech.AudioConfig(
response = client.synthesize_speech(
request={"input": input_text, "voice": voice, "audio_config": audio_config}

src_file_path = '/tmp/output.mp3'
dst_file_path = '/tmp/output.wav'

# make sure dir exist
os.makedirs(os.path.dirname(src_file_path), exist_ok=True)

# The response's audio_content is binary.
with open(src_file_path, "wb") as out:
print('Audio content written to file "output.mp3"')
AudioSegment.from_mp3(src_file_path).export(dst_file_path, format="wav", codec="pcm_mulaw", parameters=["-ar","8000"])
return send_file(dst_file_path

Be awesome!


Revisiting Initial Observations of Amazon Connect

Back in 2018 I made a series of posts detailing some of the good things and not so great things about Amazon Connect. Now that I’ve spent a few weeks getting reacquainted with the product I want to revisit one particular post (Initial Observations of Amazon Connect) and provide some update. While I love and am passionate about Cisco’s contact center offerings, I tried to check my bias as much as possible while working through this.

First, let’s cover some of the things I labeled as strange and provide an update:

  • Can’t change agent state while reserved or talking. Update: Has not changed.
  • If you use a desk phone, you can’t reject the call. Update: Has not changed.
  • Changes take about a minute or two to propagate and there’s no notification if your changes are live or not. Update: Has not changed.
  • If you create a new agent and then login as that agent using the same browser as before your admin session will be moved over to the new agent credentials. Painful when trying to test permissions on agents. Update: Has not changed. However, this is not an Amazon Connect issue as much as a browser caching and using multiple tabs issues.
  • You can’t re-route a connector by clicking on the start point, you must first delete the existing line and then create your new connector. Update: This has changed! You can re-route connectors by just clicking on the arrow.

Second, here are the things I said made no sense back in 2018 and their update:

  • Every step should have a Lambda invocation option. This would make the scripting a lot cleaner. Update: Has not changed.
  • If you reject a call and you’re the only agent you’re automatically set back to ready. Queue must be drained before last agent can change states out of available. Update: This has changed! You’re able to change to a non-routable state after you reject a call.
  • No default routing? I disabled the only queue and calls just dropped when I tried to route to that queue. You would think that the system would force some sort of default routing option just in case you make a mistake. Update: Has not changed. It is on the flow designer to account for queues being disabled.
  • Contact flow editor, no easy way to get back to all your contact flows. Update: Has not changed.
  • Agent auto accept takes about 12 seconds to trigger using soft-phone, this would impact agent stats and I really don’t see the point of having this feature if it’s going to take this long to connect an agent. Due to some limitation, I can’t re-rest.
  • When you save or publish a contact flow you get the same message “Contact flow saved successfully!” Different message for publish would be nice. Update: Has not changed. Seems to be such an easy change and would make the development of scripts so much easier.
  • No easy way to move the whole script. Work area should have infinite scroll to all sides. Update: I’ll give it a half change. While you still can’t select all blocks, you can zoom out and hold the control click and select the whole script or part of the script and move it. The fact that the script is still anchored to the top left corner still presents some challenges when you try to move things around.
  • You can’t select multiple nodes and move them, you must move one by one. Update: This has changed! Holding the control key allows you to select multiple nodes.
  • Flows don’t auto save drafts, if for some reason you don’t remember to save you’re SOL. Update: Has not changed.
  • How draft flows and published flows are handled is confusing. Not very user friendly. Update: Has not changed. While I’ve gotten more accustomed to it, it’s still could be a bit more intuitive.
  • Checking contact attributes doesn’t offer a NULL or NOT NULL condition check. Update: Has not changed.
  • When a connector goes behind a flow node, you can’t delete the connector. Update: I’ve not been able to reproduce this so I believe this has changed and the editor is better at automatically placing the lines.
  • No way to duplicate nodes. You must configure a new node from scratch every time. Update: This has changed! Holding the control key while you click a block allows you to copy it. This is probably the biggest change for me!

Amazon is pushing out tremendous new features and capabilities around Connect, but there are still some pretty glaring gaps which I believe could be easily solved. I will say the speed to develop and integrate feel unlimited, but once you get beyond the basics you need a good handle on code and AWS security and infrastructure to make your vision a reality.


Update to Installing Multiple CVP Studio Versions

I was installing CVP Studio 12.5 on one of my VMs and referred back to this old blog post of mine when I realized I had missed on critical piece of information. If the installer complains that an upgrade is not supported:

[5-17-2021 17:55:31] Informational: ————————————————————
[5-17-2021 17:55:31] Informational: Starting Studio upgrade procedure…
[5-17-2021 17:55:31] Informational: User presented w/MessageBox: <Upgrade is not supported for Cisco Unified Call Studio.
Please do uninstall the older version and then install the newer version.>
[5-17-2021 17:55:37] WARNING: This installation has been aborted.

Look inside the following registry location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall In that folder do a search for CallStudio. Export that registry key’s folder and then delete it. After that you should be able to install as many CVP Studio versions as you need. Below is one of my VMs running 3 different versions. The export is as a backup in case you need to restore what you changed.

Screen Shot 2021-05-17 at 9.12.07 PM

Please note that uninstalling CVP Studio after doing this doesn’t really work well or at all. So caveat emptor.


Microsoft and Nuance a Brilliant Play for Redmond

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft “is in advanced talks” to purchase Nuance. I’ve not been able to stop thinking of this move and I’ll be the first to admit that it surprised me, but the more I think about it and the more I talk to others in the industry this is an absolutely brilliant move. Here are my crystal ball predictions:

The patent play: Nuance comes with over 2000 patents. This is a huge cache which will no doubt be useful for the upcoming AI wars. This will be a huge boosts to Microsoft’s already huge R&D commitment in this space.

This hospital bill is brought to you by Microsoft: Nuance makes the majority of their money from the healthcare sector. We’re not talking just dictations or document management, we’re talking EHR, billing, and diagnosis software. Windows and Office are already prevalent in the healthcare space, this puts MS in the heart (get it?) of hospital operations and processes.

Cortana, it was the best of times it was the worst of times: Did you know that Windows 10 was Cortana’s big debut in the desktop space? Yeah neither did anyone else. Cortana began in 2014 as a direct competition to Alexa which was released the year before. At the time Microsoft was beginning to make some heavy bets in to the mobile space with Windows mobile. Well it’s a decade later and Windows mobile is dead, Cortana’s OS integration has been neutered and I’ve never seen another human being speak to their Windows PC. I believe this is going to change that with a huge marketing push of some college student dictating their final paper to their Microsoft Surface device while getting a manicure.

Where we’re going we don’t need passwords: Nuance comes with perhaps one of the oldest if not best speech biometrics software. Imagine joining a Microsoft Teams meetings where you call in and start speaking and you’re authenticated immediately. Or allow for “signatures” based solely on your voice. Verification and authentication continue to be huge and the rise of better and better “deep fake” technology will allow for some sort of trust verification service with Nuance biometrics in the middle of it.

(Part 1) We’re taking our ball and going home: This one is near and dear to me heart. If a Cisco call center customer wanted to have speech recognition or text to speech there was only one name in town. Nuance. This has changed a bit in the last few years with the introduction of LumenVox as an additional option. And this has changed even further in the last 18 months with Cisco supporting Google’s DialogFlow, but Nuance still reigns supreme. I can see MS increasing the pricing of an already very expensive product making it prohibitive for some call centers to run their software.

(Part 2) I can see clearly now the rain is gone: Did you know that Azure stands for the color blue of a cloudless sky? Microsoft will be able to create a very defensible moat around their Azure offerings by being the only provider to have the latest and greatest Nuance services. In addition, some telephony cloud provider, who are already battling Amazon and who white label Nuance products as part of their offering, might be forced to either consume more Azure resources to get better pricing or completely get priced out from this technology and watch the competition pass them by. This sets the stage for Microsoft to be in the driver’s seat of what UC or CC provider you might choose next if you have an already deep Nuance integration or if your call center must use Nuance.







What “Zoom Fatigue” can teach us about using video in the contact center

My significant other researches human behavior at work and she brought this study to my attention. She thought it would be very relevant to what I do. I want to summarize some key points and how they relate to the contact center, but first, I really wanted to title this post as “Why video will never kill the phone contact center star”, but that seemed too childish.

So what can Zoom Fatigue teach us about using video in the call center? Let me highlight a few key points from the article.

…in one-on-one meetings conducted over Zoom, coworkers and friends are maintaining an interpersonal distance reserved for loved ones.

Is your customer relationship what you would consider intimate? I can’t think of a single service or product where I would use that term, so the answer is more than likely no. Now, imagine having to handle customer video calls all day and feeling your personal space invaded. It would be exhausting for agents and off-putting for customers. Video calls should be reserved for customers with a long-standing relationship and limited to a few key agents who know the customer well. Additionally, considerations should be made around how many video calls an agent should handle in a short amount of time.

One of the remarkable aspects of early work on nonverbal synchrony (i.e., Kendon, 1970) is how nonverbal behavior is simultaneously effortless and incredibly complex. On Zoom, nonverbal behavior remains complex, but users need to work harder to send and receive signals.

Processing these extra nonverbal signals contributes to what my significant other and other researchers call “cognitive load” or the amount of information our brains can process at any given time. Video calls divert precious mental resources away from the task at hand, making it more likely your agents will make mistakes on complex tasks like financial services or billing. Traditional audio-only phone calls enable them to focus better while doing their work.

There is no data on the effects of viewing oneself for many hours per day. Given past work, it is likely that a constant “mirror” on Zoom causes self-evaluation and negative affect.

Self-view is very distracting for me, however that’s the only way for me to know if I’m in view or not as I use a standing desk. In addition to being distracting, this article argues that it is also stressful. If your agents are handling video calls, consider the ability to turn on and off self-view. Vendors should come up with a technology solution which notify the users when they are out of view without relying on the equivalent of looking in the mirror all day long.

…cultural norms are to stay centered within the camera’s view frustrum and to keep one’s face large enough for others to see. In essence users are stuck in a very small physical cone, and most of the time this equates to sitting down and staring straight ahead.

We first had handsets and they were terrible to hold and work at the same time. We then got wired headsets and life was better, but we needed to make sure not to get tangled or have someone kick them. We then moved on to wireless headsets and we got freedom! … only to have it taken away by video that creates a “lock in” effect. You can no longer just stand up and stretch. You can’t just run to the fax machine or to refill your water bottle. If your agents collaborate in a team to handle customer requests or handle calls which can be very lengthy avoid having them on camera.