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April 16, 2009

BenchmarkPortal Study Reveals How Best to Migrate to All-In-One Communications Suites

By Brendan B. Read, Senior Contributing Editor

BenchmarkPortal, an independent research firm specializing in contact center best practices, has shown in past work that the total annualized costs for all-in-one communications software suites for contact centers can be less than half that of multipoint solutions following acquisition. That strong value proposition is no doubt encouraging many firms to specify all-in-one applications.
(BenchmarkPortal (News - Alert) defines systems composed of products or applications acquired from third-party vendors – despite many being marketed as ‘all-in-one’, ‘unified’, or ‘suite’ solutions -- as multipoint due to their multi-system hardware architectures and multiple points of administration.)
The well-respected organization has also demonstrated that contact center managers, CTOs and IT professionals prefer a single, all-in-one source for all technology needs. They also want their chosen single-source vendor to provide best-in-class functionality.
Now BenchmarkPortal, in a new report, ‘Technology Adoption Strategies for All-In-One Contact Center Solutions’ sponsored by Interactive Intelligence, shows how contact centers can protect existing investments, while making a phased migration to all-in-one communications software suites.
The report data were gathered from more than 100 contact centers and includes six migration case studies based on interviews with survey respondents. The study also provides an Adoption Matrix to help contact centers analyze and select the migration strategy best suited to their organization.
Key findings include:
*          There is a sizeable experience base of contact centers that have migrated to all-in-one communications software suites over time
*          Migration to all-in-one communications software suites is generally no more difficult, and is frequently less difficult, than other IT initiatives within contact centers
*          Approximately four out of five managers with multipoint solutions feel that a gradual migration strategy would make adoption of an all-in-one communications software suite more attractive
*          There is not a unique roadmap, but rather a matrix of considerations that contact centers should take into account when considering migration to an all-in-one communications software suite.
These include existing multipoint solutions’ ages, degree to which they are embedded into existing infrastructure, processes and customer-facing technologies, and management’s knowledge and resources for handling technology migration. They also include human and cultural factors, budget, number of remote office, and overall technology roadmap
In conjunction with the BenchmarkPortal report, Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) has launched a competitive replacement program. This program gives discounts to contact centers that opt to replace specific multipoint solutions with the company’s all-in-one IP communications software suite, thus making migration even more cost-effective.
 “Our first two studies in this report series revealed the operational benefits – including significant cost savings – of all-in-one contact center solutions,” says Dr. Jon Anton, report co-author and adjunct professor at Purdue University (News - Alert). “Given these benefits, we sought next to explore all-in-one adoption methods.”
Adds report co-author, Bruce Belfiore of Purdue’s Center for Customer-Driven Quality: “Based on our survey results, we found that contact centers don’t have to face an all-or-nothing ‘rip-and-replace’ decision if they opt for an all-in-one solution.”

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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