For premium licensed Cisco Unified Contact Center Express (UCCX), one of the most powerful features is database queries allowing applications to access data based on user inputs or call contact information. I have seen some very complicated scripts taking advantage of backend databases. When scripting call flows in UCCX, one must be careful of very large scripts which consume excessive amounts of memory leaving very little for other activities like call processing. To better manage the processing requirements of UCCX database queries; there is an extremely beneficial feature that I recommend for Microsoft SQL and Oracle database servers. This feature is referred to as SQL “Views”.
Let’s start with a review the UCCX database scripting palette. For populating data in our script, we access the DB Read to open a connection to the server and query the server, a DB Get to map data to variables used in our script, and a DB Release step to close our connection. Optionally, we can have a DB Write step if we need to update tables.
During a call, based on caller input, we may access the database multiple times querying in multiple tables for the required information. Each query may have its own DB steps, prompts, error recovery, and call processing steps. It doesn’t take too many queries before a script can get overly complicated.
This is where the SQL View is a useful tool. A View can be thought of as a “Virtual Table”. It can be comprised of data from multiple tables that can be re-formatted, manipulated, or calculated to match UCCX requirements. The data accessible through a view is not stored in the database as a distinct object. What is stored in the database is a SELECT statement. The result set of the SELECT statement forms the virtual table returned by the View.
Views have an added security benefits:
- Hide the tables that actually contain the data you are querying.
- Can be restricted to specific rows in a table.
- Can be restricted to specific columns in a table.
For example, instead of querying a table “FINANCIAL_DATA” which may contain information related to a customer’s financial status (and possibly even violate an individual’s right to privacy), we can query a specific View which hides any sensitive data from UCCX.
The View: “CallerInfo” can be constructed in the database to provide a customer (member) name and ID. Additionally, the View could contain other data that might be used elsewhere in our script. Now the script uses only a single query, can populate all possible variables, and then process the call more efficiently.
We might consider it a challenge to construct an application that retrieves data from multiple sources, calculate values to present to callers, or uses complicated formatting for data presentation but best practices dictate that we use UCCX for its primary purpose; processing and handling calls and we use backend Database Servers for their primary purpose; storing, organizing, and manipulating large amounts of information.
Please feel free to post comments on your use of Views.