By Patrick Barnard
, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
When it comes to software delivered via the Internet, there's sure a lot of competing terms out there, such as "Hosted," "Web-based," "Software-as-a-Service," and "Cloud-based."
Some software vendors use the terms interchangeably, making it difficult to determine which model of delivery they really use (at least not without digging deeper).
Others put a strong emphasis on a particular term, for example "cloud-based," in their marketing, claiming it denotes a specific architecture which is superior to others.
Although most people know the basic difference between the legacy, client-side hosted applications of a few years ago and today's "Web-based" solutions, this use of multiple terms nevertheless has the effect of making things confusing for buyers.
On the other hand, one could argue that which term is used to market the service hardly even matters.
Let's face it -- they're all "Web-based." All that really matters is whether the software has the features and capabilities you need and how well performs as it is delivered to your premises.
That's not to say you shouldn't do your due diligence to learn about the specific model of delivery the provider is using - balancing the advantages of one service over another. For the most part you will be comparing solutions based on cost, capabilities and feature sets, ease-of-deployment, reliability, security, scalability and integration capabilities - not whether they are marketed as "Hosted," "Web-based," "Software-as-a-Service" or "Cloud-based."
's OnDemand Contact Center is a Web-based contact center solution that is ideal for facilitating the home-based agent model
and the "informal contact center
," plus it delivers business continuity
capabilities as well. The fully Web-based solution offers a suite of core call center technologies, including ACD with universal queuing for multimedia contacts and skills based routing; IVR for speech-enabled, self-serve options; and CTI (News
) to facilitate integration with CRM systems and databases. In addition, Contactual's patent pending Advanced Virtual Tenant Architecture (AVTA) distinguishes its contact center software from other solutions on the market.
With its universal queuing capability, the ACD is able to route phone calls, emails, Web chats and text messages to the next available agent -- including home-based agents -- via a single queue. Skills-based routing means the ACD can be programmed to route those contacts to the most appropriate agent, based on contact type and the agent's specific skill sets. The solution's Web-based administration allows call center mangers to make changes to the routing schemes "on the fly" and in real time, so they have full control over the contact types each agent receives.
The contact center software also delivers priority routing, which is where calls and contacts from specific (e.g. "premium") customers are prioritized over others and immediately routed to the next available agent, thus reducing hold times and speeding service. Through integration with a company's CRM system and other databases, customers can be identified the instant they call, send an email, or launch a chat session by way of their "customer profile," which typically includes name, street address, customer "type" ("regular," "new" or "premium," etc.), phone numbers (including home phone and mobile phone) and IP address. CTI also allows for pertinent customer information, including past purchases and other activity, to be "screen popped" onto agent desktops immediately when a customer calls, thus enabling call center agents to serve customers quickly and efficiently.
To learn more about Contactual's (News
) Web-based contact center software, click here