SaaS-based Call Center Systems Offer Reduced Complexity, Increased Reliability, Via 'All-in-One' Architecture
March 23, 2010
By Patrick Barnard
, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
One of the biggest advantages today’s software-as-a-service-based call center solutions have over on-premises systems is their “all-in-one” architecture. Because these systems are completely software-based, with all core call center applications tightly integrated on a single platform, they offer reduced complexity and increased reliability compared to traditional, “hardware-based” systems.
In a traditional call center, it is not unusual to find as many as 10 different hardware components in the server room, all dedicated for call center operations. Some of these components include PBX (News - Alert), ACD, IVR, dialer, email server, chat server, fax server, call recording/monitoring tool, reporting tool, co-browsing tool, voicemail system and customer database, among others.
But with a cloud-based, “all in one” call center system the functionality of all these components is integrated into a single IP-based system. Not only does that mean that the integration of all the applications is already taken care of, it also means the applications were designed and built to be used together (most vendors are now building all in one systems where all the applications are based on shared code). In addition, companies that migrate to cloud-based call center systems avoid the drawn-out and tedious process of having to select separate vendors and systems when it comes time to upgrade. Plus they don’t have to track, maintain and implement product updates from different vendors after they purchase.
As per a recent post on call center software provider Contactual’s (News - Alert)new blog, a Web-based call center system with an all-in-one architecture has numerous advantages over a traditional on-premises system in terms of deployment, maintenance and reliability.
“Deployment of components such as IVR, CTI (News - Alert)and Recording require significant amount of investments in terms of time and resources,” the post states. “Typically these costs amount to 60 percent of the total setup cost. In the traditional architecture agents require multiple client software components, thus adding to the software costs.”
What’s more, integrating different systems together is time-consuming and costly, and can create a significant a strain on a company’s IT department (or at least forces the company to utilize costly third party support). If the company is using a mixed bag of standalone, “best of breed” solutions from different vendors, the integration and maintenance issues become more complex – plus the company must deal with separate, multiple vendors for support.
This is in contrast to today’s cloud-based systems, most of which sport Web-based APIs making integration with other systems and databases many times simpler.
And because the cloud-based system is delivered as a managed service that means the software vendor takes on full responsibility for application performance, including maintenance and troubleshooting of software, hardware and network architecture.
“In addition to all the hardware costs each component (IVR, CTI, Recording etc.) requires recurring hardware annual maintenance costs,” the blog post states. “An on-premises call center also needs multiple IT specialists for maintenance and support. Although server count can be reduced using virtualization the integration complexities remain constant.”
Reliability is also improved by having all of the applications bundled on a single platform via shared code – plus, backing up an on-premises system can be a very expensive proposition:
“It is cost-prohibitive to include full redundancy and disaster recovery options,” the blog post states. “In most cases it involves duplicating components of the existing infrastructure thus not benefiting from economies of scale. Traditional call centers typically budget and plan for upgrade and maintenance projects that involve considerable system downtime.”
Perhaps most importantly, today’s Web-based call center systems give organizations the opportunity to gain access to the latest call center technologies without the high up-front costs involved in purchasing and installing on-premises equipment:
“The cost to setup and deploy a traditional 100 seat call center [could] exceed $700K,” the blog post states. “Depending on the dynamics of the environment, annual support and maintenance costs quickly add up to $200K or more. For a mid-sized call center this cost is extremely difficult to justify and in most cases is a major barrier to entry.”
Contactual’s OnDemand Contact Center is a cloud-based call center solution offering a full suite of core call center applications, all tightly bundled on a single platform. Contactual puts a strong emphasis on ease-of-deployment and ease-of-use, as well as system reliability. Not only is OnDemand Contact Center fast, simple and affordable to deploy, it sports an intuitive user interface, designed by a leading usability expert, making the solution easy to learn and simple to use. In fact, the company claims agents can be fully trained to use the system in about two days.
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