Call Center Management Feature Article
July 13, 2010
Cloud-based Call Center Applications More Difficult to Integrate?
By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
There are some companies out there that, for a wide variety of reasons, are just plain reluctant to replace their premises-based systems with cloud solutions. In many cases it's simply that they made a considerable investment in hardware, traditional software licenses and perhaps network infrastructure, and they're looking to get as much return on that investment as they can. In other cases they have fallen into misconceptions about the features and capabilities that cloud-based solutions can deliver - for a wide range of reasons they view these applications as being "deficient" in one way or another when compared to their premises-based systems.
A recent white paper from DMG Consulting, sponsored by Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert), dispels some of the more common 'misconceptions' about cloud-based or hosted call center offerings. Although the white paper is focused on all-in-one call center solutions that bundle all the core call center applications on a single platform, the same 'misconceptions' can also apply to standalone 'best-of-breed' solutions, including workforce management software.
As we covered in part one of this series, one of the more common misconceptions is that cloud-based call center solutions are "just for the little guys." As we learned in that article, enterprises are making increasing use of cloud-based call center solutions as well, and have just as much, if not even more, to gain from making the migration.
In part two of this series we dispelled yet another common misconception: That cloud-based call center software lacks features and capabilities when compared to on-premises systems. We learned that most cloud-based systems deliver the same features and capabilities as their on-premises contemporaries - and if you think about it, why wouldn't they?
And in part three we dispelled yet another misconception - that cloud-based call center software lacks flexibility. In fact, it can be argued that today's hosted offering are many times more flexible that premises-based systems.
This week we'll tackle yet another common misconception: Cloud-based call center applications are more difficult to integrate with premises-based or legacy solutions.
As the white paper points out, "few integrations are easy, whether the solutions are premise-based or hosted." However it goes on to point out that software vendors today are putting a much stronger emphasis on interoperability and "out-of-the-box" integrations, providing connectors and APIs that make it many times faster and simpler for IT teams to carry out integrations. The newer the software, the more likely it is to include open standards, which in turn facilitates simpler and faster integration with other leading systems.
"The more standards-based and open the underlying system, the easier the integration," the white paper states. It also points out that some of hosted contact center offerings are built upon premises-based systems, therefore "they cannot be any harder to integrate than their underlying core technology."
The white paper also raises an interesting and logical point: Why would the providers of hosted call center solutions make them harder to integrate with other systems, when one of the value propositions driving companies to these solutions in the first place is that they can be implemented many times more quickly than on-premises systems?
"Hosted solution vendors are highly motivated to get their offerings up and running as quickly as possible because they do not earn revenue until the system is in production," the white paper states. "Additionally, end users have made it clear that a primary reason for selecting a hosted offering is because they do not have the money to pay for an expensive and lengthy implementation."
In general, hosted solutions providers are "doing a very good job of keeping their implementation and integration costs down," with many now offering fixed implementation and integration fees "that compare very favorably to the cost of premises-based efforts."
"This is another reason why the hosting vendors are highly committed to performing rapid integrations and efficient implementations," the white paper concludes.
Next week we'll take a look at the fifth and final "misconception" outlined in the white paper: "Hosting has a higher total cost of ownership than premise-based solutions."
Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard