GG: What is your vision for Telephony@Work and how is the company positioned in the IP Contact Center market?
EB: Telephony@Work was founded in 1998 with the mission of empowering businesses to deliver world-class service on the phone, fax, and Internet without the costs, risks, and delays of traditional technology deployment paradigms.
We originally developed our multimedia IP Contact Center technology to empower large service providers and multi-site enterprises to centralize contact center infrastructure to support diverse business units across locations on common infrastructure — without sacrificing privacy or local autonomy. This has become known as “multi-tenant” technology and we’re the dominant player in that space. That’s probably why we’re so closely associated with large-scale deployments at such companies as MCI, TELUS, Siebel, ABN AMRO, and so many others. While we dominate in the multi-tenant arena, we also fit very well in single-site contact centers. Our technology can scale down very cost-effectively to address contact center needs across the spectrum of opportunities.
Over time we’ve also been widely recognized as the leader in “adaptive” IP Contact Center technology, which enables companies to easily modify any technology-driven business process or routing rule in real-time, at no cost. This lets companies ‘fix’ strained technology-driven business processes in real-time to maximize both efficiency and revenues. Companies that have implemented our technology and embraced a philosophy of change have seen tremendous productivity gains. Larger companies have seen productivity gains of as much as 30 percent while smaller companies, typically lacking in-house expertise and consulting budgets, have seen even greater gains.
This philosophy of business empowerment is core to everything we do.
GG: What are the problems that Telephony@Work’s IP Contact Center technology was designed to solve?
EB: Our technology was designed from the ground up to empower companies to fully leverage the benefits of IP-based contact center technology and eliminate the core challenges associated with traditional technology deployment paradigms.
Traditional technology deployment approaches have been tremendously expensive, complex and time-consuming. That’s because they require integrators to “recreate the wheel” for every deployment — by integrating as many as 24 separate technology point solutions to deliver a complete solution. The problems we’re solving emerged because of the way that contact centers have historically been deployed; with each new emerging technology being ‘bolted’ onto the legacy infrastructure via custom integration. Not surprisingly, mainstream business publications, analysts, and academic research consistently report that 60–70 percent of contact center deployments never achieve their stated objectives due to complexity and budgetary restrictions.
Systems provisioned in this model are also notoriously rigid; requiring a lot of time and money to implement changes over time — because of the multitude of different integration points, administration consoles, and programming environments involved in maintaining traditional solutions and implementing changes. Regression testing following such changes is also expensive and time-consuming. This is why most companies forklift their legacy contact center technology investments every five years — because the increasing delta between what was originally provisioned and current needs becomes unsustainable over time.
Disjointed business processes across diverse systems is another consequence of the traditional point solution approach; because the same routing and customer priority business rules can’t be easily applied across all communications channels. In addition, because the various components aren’t integrated-by-design, there are multiple databases associated with different parts of the provisioned solution, providing only a limited view of data and inhibiting the consolidation of customer data in real-time.
As companies have begun migrating to IP-based solutions, traditional vendors have taken the approach of adding yet another layer of complexity by selling yet another point solution to implement voice-over-IP in the contact center. The downside of this approach is that it neutralizes a number of the core benefits empowered by IP-based transport. For example, they can’t centralize technology resources without sacrificing local autonomy.
This is a huge issue. There are tremendous inefficiencies associated with the ‘traditional’ approach of deploying and maintaining diverse contact center systems at every location. These inefficiencies include duplication of systems and licenses at each site, shortages of software licenses at some locations while the needed resources sit idle at other locations, and the duplication of staff required to maintain each set of systems at every location. IP contact center technology can eliminate these inefficiencies by empowering companies to centralize technology resources and leverage them across a global network, thereby dramatically reducing technology costs across all locations. That said, extending ‘traditional’ site-specific point solutions to support other locations requires those remote locations to entirely give up their autonomy over their own technology-driven business processes.
For managers who are compensated based on performance, proposing reliance on a remote IT staff i s a hard sell. That’s why most companies that have extended their legacy solutions never realize the benefits of enterprise unification. Vendors that sell technology on this basis typically tout savings resulting from reduced transport costs, but that’s really a marginal benefit when compared to the compelling productivity gains that come with cross-location enterprise unification.
GG: How does Telephony@Work IP Contact Center technology address these challenges in ways that are different from traditional approaches?
EB: Telephony@Work’s CallCenterAnywhere technology was designed to empower companies to dramatically reduce costs by centralizing technology resources to support diverse locations — while preserving and enhancing local autonomy. Of course, we also had to address all of the manageability, scalability, reliability, and network security issues required for centralized technology to become a viable alternative to system and staff replication at every autonomous site.
Our technology was also designed to enable companies to adapt to changing business conditions in ways that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago. Our award-winning CallCenterAnywhere solution delivers all of the multimedia IP Contact Center technologies needed to run a world-class contact center — while empowering real-time, no-cost business process modification. To achieve this, we looked at all of the traditional needs-analysis questions that integrators use to define ‘scope-of work’ for their contact center customers. We then spent years translating those needs-analysis questions into Web-based menus, drop-down lists, and radio buttons in a unified, browser-based provisioning interface. The benefits of this approach include dramatically reduced provisioning costs and time-to-market, a huge reduction of cost-of-ownership expenses and the revenue-generating benefits of real-time, no-cost modifications to all technology-driven business processes.
The key, of course, was to pre-program all of the potential outcomes in an architecture that would enable changes to be implemented in real-time — at no cost. This also empowers managers to more meaningfully contribute to performance through knowledge of best practices and the agility to implement routing and business process changes in real-time.
That’s not to say that we deliver a ‘black box’ — in fact, our technology is built on an open architecture on top of Web services. That enables our customers to extend our applications in ways that we might never have imagined.
Once we achieved our original objective of ‘productizing’ the spectrum of ‘traditional’ business process configurations across the various media channels, our focus shifted to finding new ways of leveraging our integration-by-design approach. Today we deliver efficiency and value that go far beyond the limits of traditional ‘integration-heavy’ solutions — value that could never delivered in any reasonable amount of time in the traditional systems-integration paradigm. That ROI-focused, out-of-the box thinking is another reason we’ve had so much success over the last few years. IT