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April 24, 2007

VoIP Not a Priority for Every Organization

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Due to the significant cost and functionality benefits that it can provide, VoIP is often a first choice priority for technology implementations in the contact center. With the intense pressure that these divisions are under to increase productivity and service delivery while reducing costs, VoIP is one of many implementations considered a smart move for the contact center. Not true, however for medium-sized Australian contact centers.

New research conducted by IDC (News - Alert) has found that companies with 50 to 500 employees have systems infrastructure as a top IT priority. Customer relationship management (CRM) is most often second on the priority list, followed by enterprise resource management. VoIP phone systems actually ranked as the lowest with only 5 percent of companies listing it as a priority.
Outsourced IT services are used by some 35 percent of companies surveyed, with security management and systems integration among the most common types of work done by external providers. The average mid-sized company was spending close to $300,000, or 2.5 percent of annual revenue, on IT and fixed-data telecommunications, with an average of $196,000 spent on IT and $102,000 on telecoms.
It could easily be assumed that technology is an afterthought in the contact center, when in reality, it actually plays a very important role. These organizations depend upon technology to provide them with the information that they need on each customer, a way to address issues when a caller makes contact, and so much more. The right technology implementations can also provide an environment that fosters home-based agents to expand the offerings of the contact center beyond its physical walls.
It is up to contact center leaders to determine what technology implementations will not only help them to achieve their goals, but keep them on course with the overall corporate strategy. For many, VoIP has yet to demonstrate the benefits that they are seeking that outweigh the advantages offered by other technologies.
For instance, the contact center agent can benefit greatly from intuitive applications that  provide skills-based training customized to their specific needs. The outcome of such an application can be a more satisfied agent who can deliver a better experience for the customer.
CRM applications can have a similar impact as they provide the organization with valuable information that can enable the creation of products and services that are tailored to meet the needs of specific customers. Such customization can help to drive sales as well as protect the base when faced with a tight competitive industry.
Like most organizations, the contact center must be selective in its technology implementations as most do not have budgets that allow for all technologies to be available. Needs can vary as well between organizations and each must choose the right application to meet these needs and keep the contact center in line with corporate strategy in order to achieve long-term goals.
Want to learn more about contact centers? Then be sure to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. The papers are authored by industry leaders, who, in turn, receive qualified sales leads from interested parties. Check here for the latest in CRM information.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.


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