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Industry Research : Contact Centres Switch to Hosted Solutions
Over the next five years, there will be 17% compound growth in the adoption of hosted solutions by contact centres.
This is according to Gartner, which adds that, by the end of this year, 75% of global call centres will leverage hosted call centre solutions.
Gartner reports that the enterprise software market is flattening at about 5% and will remain so for the next few years – another strong indicator that the contact centre as a service (CCaaS) model is becoming the industry standard.
Hosted call centres operate as a network-based service, whereby a service provider operates the underlying tech platform and then leases its services and features to end-users for a usage-based or monthly fee, thus lending its economy of scale and expertise to the call centre.
Gartner attributes the sudden uptake to the increased financial pressure placed on companies as a result of the global recession, but as the functional gap with premise-based solutions began to narrow, call centres began to view hosting as the most logical way to run their operations.
However, Jed Hewson, director of 1Stream, cautions that companies should be discerning about which hosted solution they choose, as not all are created equal.
"Although the recession might have had a part to play in the rapid adoption of the hosted model, cost is not the only factor to consider before choosing a provider," he explains.
"There are several companies that entered the market by simply adding hosting to their existing services, such as PBX or telecoms, without the necessary expertise or experience required to truly make it work. Hosting is not just about cutting costs – it starts with enabling a call centre to run as efficiently as possible. Cost savings is one aspect of that."
Frost & Sullivan estimates that switching to a hosted model can cut costs by 45% or more.
"It is meant to be cheaper, but not cheap," Hewson adds. "We’ve seen situations where call centres download free software and pay a nominal fee to an IT professional, only to find that cutting corners cost them dearly in the long run when they have to update the system or add a new functionality. The capex investment is significantly lower when switching to a cloud-based hosted provider, but you do have to invest in a provider with the necessary expertise and support if you want to optimise productivity."
Hewson advises call centres choose a partner with a proven track record and a consultative approach.
"You are going to need someone who is able to reduce your operating costs – but still provide you with the support you need should something go wrong or if you need changes. Simply buying a solution-in-a-box is not going to be sustainable long-term."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013