Article : BPO’s Reap Benefits from Hosted WFM Solutions
The contact center outsourcing industry was created to cut operating costs. However, Business Process Outsourcers (BPO’s) have evolved into big business that provides contact centers to companies that result in not only cost savings but also improved performance. While BPO’s strive to save money for their clients, it is important that they have resources to maximize their own operating costs. Hosted solutions provide such resources.
Hosted solutions, known as Software as a Service (SaaS), enables software to be delivered over the internet and has gained wide acceptance in the marketplace for over ten years. Businesses are now turning to hosted solutions in lieu of in-house installations because of implementation costs and convenience of having vendors responsible for maintenance and upgrades. However, before purchasing a hosted solution, there are several factors to consider.
Workforce management hosted software should include these features:
- Accurate forecasting software - You cannot achieve desired service levels without accurate forecasting.
- Pricing matches seasonal trends - pricing should be based on the number of agents scheduled.
- Each user has a separate database - multiple customers are not using a shared database (known as multi-tenanted). In a multi-tenanted environment, if one customer experiences problems, others will be affected.
- Equipment with redundancy at every level (power, network, servers), avoiding a single point of failure.
- Test environments can be configured.
- Advanced security features - the hosted facility is physically hardened and the firewall encompasses IPS inspection. If your clients are in financial services, pharmaceutical, healthcare industry, accept credit cards over the internet, or deal with Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, PCI or other governmental compliance requirements, you need to provide SOC 2 Type II level of security. SOC 2 Type II security restricts access to the data center; ensures mechanical and electrical failures will not result in an outage; smoke detection, cooling, and power are continuously monitored, inspected, and serviced to ensure effective operation.
- Advanced routing technology - network has multiple tier 1 providers. If your primary carrier fails, service is automatically transferred to another provider so your business is not affected.
- Performance is monitored and hardware is added when necessary.
Expanded Business Opportunities
Because the IT infrastructure is handled by the vendor, SaaS allows BPO’s to focus on their business and convert new ideas into applications. There is no waiting on the IT department to deploy critical projects. If a specialized application is needed for a customer, most SaaS applications can handle requirements faster than traditional software applications. The flexibility of SaaS enables expansion into new markets and better service to existing customers, resulting in cost savings, increased opportunities, and overall improved customer service.
SaaS provides an attractive alternative to in-house installations in both costs and features. Hosted solutions alleviate the burden on BPO’s to install and maintain costly hardware and software. Monies can be allocated to operating expenses as opposed to a large capital expenditure.
If you need the powerful features of an enterprise solution with scalability to meet growing needs, and predictable operational expenses, SaaS is the answer. In the current economy, it is important to understand all costs of an in-house installation. After initial purchase, there are associated fees with an in-house installation involving licensing, customization, development, deployment, maintenance, monitoring, support, and upgrades. These fees can add costs beyond budget limitations of small to mid-size BPO’s.
The demand for call center outsourcers is driven in part by spikes in call volume. Companies who depend on seasonal business rely on BPO’s to handle spikes in call volume during these busy times. Hosted solutions enable BPO’s to receive enterprise software capabilities at a much lower cost by billing on a monthly basis based on the number of agents used with no long term contracts required. Access is available anytime, anywhere with no virtual private network (VPN) requirement. The result is peace of mind knowing someone else is managing the solution for you.
The implementation of hosted solutions provides valuable savings benefits while enabling BPO’s to focus on delivering superior customer service to their clients. Hosted solutions provide a win-win solution.
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About Bob Webb:
Bob Webb has spent over twenty years in various aspects of the telecommunications and data processing industries. He was introduced to the world of call centers and the workforce management industry and became Vice President of Sales for Pipkins in October 1996.
About Pipkins Inc.:
Pipkins Inc., founded in 1982, is a supplier of workforce management software and services to the call center industry. Its Vantage Point product enables managers to solve the complicated operational issues in today’s multi-faceted call center environment. Pipkins’ systems forecast and schedule more than 100,000 agents in over 300 locations across all industries worldwide. The company is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.
Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014