How VoIP and Lower TCO Will Drive Adoption of Hosted On-Demand Contact Centers - a Three Year TCO Analysis
Likely to many other IT infrastructure elements, contact centers historically have been implemented using on-site hardware and software, which better supported security, control and manageability. The access to the carrier’s communications networks was managed by the IT department.
Technically robust, Centrex ACD did not meet the needs of a vast majority of the market and only garnered a 1% to 2% share of agent positions in North America. Moreover, lackluster carrier sales and marketing programs and unrealistic pricing schemes— complicated by intricate regulatory tariffs—never allowed the Centrex ACD product access to the core of the call center marketplace.
Such conditions continue to contribute to the market bias toward premises-based equipment that suppliers of hosted solutions have addressed during the past few years. This market structure is slowly giving way to a more diverse array of delivery models for contact center technology, such as those delivered by today’s on-demand or hosted contact center solution providers.
During the last decade, the application service provider (ASP) approach to business solutions has been erratic in terms of market penetration, acceptability, overall system reliability and functionality. On-demand contact center solutions have intuitively made sense for a segment of the business application marketplace including some contact centers, they have often lacked the feature sets, proper business model and overall flexibility required by customer service applications.
On the contrary, Yankee Group considers the more recently introduced hosted contact center offerings functionally and architecturally strong. They have been proven to work effectively at many outsourcer and early adopter enterprise sites around the world. Having increased scalability, effective single-server multi-tenancy, hosted versus licensed enterprise software and VoIP location-irrelevant connectivity enable hosted solutions that are superior to those offered in the past.
Moreover, hosted contact centers switch the installation, startup and maintenance costs as well as the technology selection risks and update responsibilities from the enterprise to the hosting company. This way, the hosted contact center is now—more than ever before—a viable alternative to the enterprise premises-based contact center solution.
A hosted contact center approach is an effective, attractive proposition for companies setting up new contact centers, or for well-established companies wishing to stabilize monthly expenditures and focus scarce business resources on core business functions. Businesses that select a hosted contact center solution can minimize or even eliminate the cost of their IT or telecom support departments. The VoIP networking technology enables maximum flexibility in agents’ geographic location, and routes and queues incoming calls 24 hours a day to agents located wherever a high-speed internet connection is available.