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A: Opinions can vary, but my first thought about “simplified” deployment is that the new breed of application-based communications solutions are far easier to deploy than traditional hardware systems, primarily because you’re implementing a single all-in-one server rather than a multipoint hardware configuration.

For the most part with an application suite, and especially with IP telephony, SIP-supported networks and VoIP, a server resides on a single data network to drive voice traffic as well as data. And not to oversimplify things here, but configuring a communications server on a network and managing it in the same manner as a business application server is a heckuva lot less complicated than hooking up a PBX to an ACD box, an IVR system, an auto-attendant, an e-mail server and countless other systems.

Something else to consider for simplification is the ease of deploying a server-based communications solution within an existing voice and data infrastructure. Imagine trying to marry a new multipoint voice system to CRM applications and customer databases. Middleware and a ton of expensive integration programming might make the marriage work, but probably not without a lot of headaches.

_______________________Applications, advanced features, broader integration and less hardware seems to be the sales pitch for many
of the newer IP communications systems, as is simplified deployment. But “simplified deployment” doesn’t tell
me much. Can you share some
thoughts on what you think it means?


Moreover to keep up with changing business demands, especially in highly competitive markets such as the contact center sector, organizations must continually deploy new applications, new features, new services, new office locations, etc., long after a communications solution is first installed — which brings me back to all-in-one communications platforms and the path of simplicity they pave.

In a recent BenchmarkPortal research report by Dr. Jon Anton and Bruce Belfiore of the Center for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue University (“A Cost Comparison of All-in-One Versus Multi-Point Solutions In the Contact Center Sector,” August 2, 2007), the authors surveyed nearly 200 contact center managers and decision makers and reported this in their findings:

• The ongoing addition (deployment) of most new technology, applications and functionality, appears significantly easier for organizations that have deployed an all-in-one solution versus those with multipoint products. This is because these organizations need only to add on application modules or activate service updates from their single supplier, opposed to conducting full RFP processes each time a decision is made to purchase a new system for added functionality.
• All-in-one supporters note the problems often posed by deploying new technologies from disparate vendors. They like having fewer boxes and administrators to deal with.

• Software-based drag-and-drop programming tools offered by many all-in-one providers make it significantly easier to create, deploy and maintain advanced interaction flows, such as ACD-based e-mail routing, with no integration programming required.
• As a whole, contact center managers recognize the value of working with one vendor and a single solution, in that it inherently simplifies and speeds deployment, both initially and for future needs.

The BenchmarkPortal report includes a lot more, but the points here convey pretty much what contact center managers and IT professionals worldwide had to say about all-in-one communications solutions and simplified deployment.

So two final thoughts: 1) in environments such as a contact center where communications dynamics constantly change, the simpler their deployment capabilities, the better. And 2), given all the less visible aspects of ongoing deployments, like new business applications, new offices and time-consuming RFP processes — usually with multiple vendors instead of one — all-in-one solutions are definitely the way to go for any deployment.

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