Five Reasons Why Hosted Call Center Solutions are Winning Out over On-premises Systems
January 12, 2010
Organizations the world over continue to migrate to hosted call center solutions, as they continue to discover the many advantages they have over on-premises systems.
Although there may still be legitimate reasons why an organization will want keep its call center system on-premises, the rationale for doing so is getting weaker over time, as hosted call center software vendors continue to perfect their systems and address issues such as security, integration, reliability, and system capabilities.
The decision whether to go the hosted or on-premises route should not be approached lightly, though, as there is a multitude of factors to consider, such as the organization’s level of investment in existing infrastructure, the size of its IT staff and level of expertise, management's relationships with vendors and service providers, and the probability that the organization will grow over time.
Once these factors are considered and weighed carefully against one another, though, a majority of organizations today will end up opting for the hosted route.
And the trend is expected to only accelerate: According to a November report from Gartner (News - Alert), the global software-as-a-service market will reach $7.5 billion in 2009, a 17.7 percent increase from 2008 revenue of $6.4 billion. The report predicts the SaaS (News - Alert) market will show consistent growth through 2013, when worldwide SaaS revenue will total more than $14 billion for the enterprise application markets. While not as popular as SaaS-based business software, hosted communications solutions, including hosted call center solutions, represent a significant percentage of the SaaS market.
Today’s hosted call center solutions are winning out over on-premises systems for five major reasons. First, they are fast, simple and affordable to deploy. All that is really needed are the computers and a high speed Internet connection. That means organizations avoid having to make a large upfront capital investment in new equipment and network architecture – and the migration to the new software is greatly simplified. Because the software is delivered on a subscription basis, organizations don’t need to pay for expensive software licenses, they simply “lease” the software on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Second, because hosted call center software is delivered as a managed service that means the software vendor takes on responsibility for application performance, including maintenance and troubleshooting of equipment and network infrastructure. For this reason today’s hosted call center software solutions significantly reduce the strain on company IT departments. Because the software is delivered on a subscription basis that means the cost of the service can be represented as recurring line item in monthly expense reports. This is in contrast to on-premises systems, which can result in major financial “surprises” in the event a piece of equipment fails or something else goes wrong.
A third significant advantage for hosted call center software is its extreme scalability. Because the software is hosted in a data center where there is presumably ample computing resources an organization can rapidly scale up or scale down the number of call center agents without having to invest in new equipment and software licenses. This is a huge advantage for seasonal merchants and other businesses that experience annual spikes and lulls in call volume. With the on-premises model, a company has to invest in enough equipment and licenses to cover periods of peak volume, but during the lulls this equipment and software is essentially under-utilized. In this regard, hosted call center software is more cost-effective.
A fourth advantage making hosted call center software superior to on-premises systems is the fact that it gives companies instant access to the most advanced and up-to-date call center technologies. This is a key consideration for organizations seeking to shorten their technology refresh cycles in order to stay ahead of competitors and deliver the best customer service possible. Upgrading on-premises systems requires investment in new equipment, software, and sometimes network infrastructure, which can result increased costs and potential disruptions to service. Whereas with hosted call center software, upgrades, new releases and patches are delivered automatically, without any involvement of the internal IT staff. This becomes all the more important when you consider that certain call center technologies are advancing at rapid pace.
Flexible deployment options would have to be the fifth huge advantage. When weighing the hosted vs. on-premises decision, it’s important to consider whether the organization is building a new call center from scratch or simply upgrading an existing center by adding new technologies. When starting from scratch, an organization could go either way, depending on its needs, but when doing an upgrade, hosted presents numerous distinct advantages. Because today’s Web-based call center software is many times simpler to integrate with existing systems, an organization can just as easily take a “hybrid” approach, deploying the new solutions it needs via the hosted model while at the same time keeping the legacy systems it has already invested in (and which the team is already familiar with).
Many organizations today are using a blend of hosted and on-premises call center software. The beauty of the hosted model is that, as legacy applications become obsolete or too expensive to maintain, they can easily be replaced with hosted solutions and integrated with other legacy systems. Thus an organization can start out by deploying one type of hosted call center application and then add new applications over time, until the entire center is migrated over to a single, tightly integrated, hosted platform.
Conversely, a company can easily make the transition all at once, by deploying an “all-in-one” call center system. The advantage of today’s “all-in-one” systems is that the core applications are already integrated, which means fewer points of failure and higher reliability. Organizations that plan to upgrade their call center technology every two to three years will more than likely see significant savings over time by deploying hosted call center software.
inContact’s on-demand call center solution is a full-featured, enterprise-grade “all-in-one” system offering all of the above capabilities. It is a tightly-bundled 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; CTI (News - Alert) to facilitate integration with CRM systems and databases; call monitoring/recording for quality assurance; analytics; performance management; workforce management; surveys; reporting; and more. For more information, click here.
Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard
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