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Sunday, February 05, 2012

UCaaS and Outsourced Agents For Really Virtual "UC Contact Center?"

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By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

I recently attended a local presentation and roundtable discussion of a Frost & Sullivan study of “Total Cost of Ownership” and best practices for premise-based contact center solutions compared to those in the cloud. The roundtable was hosted by InContact, a global provider of hosted contact center technology, who also sponsored the TCO study. (

The conclusions of the study, not surprisingly, showed significantly lower TCO for the hosted, contact centers than comparable premise-based systems. Furthermore, TCO analysis showed that the cost savings from a hosted model increases with both the size of a contact center organization, as well as the number of contact center applications delivered as a hosted service.

A few days after the conference, I met with one of the attendees, who talked about his business, which he described as (outsourced) “telephone answering” services. He offers highly educated and well trained staff, speaking several languages, to answer real-time phone calls, for professional clients such as doctors, lawyers, consultants, SMBs, etc. Because his service personnel are located in Armenia, the costs are very low and highly competitive world-wide. He attended the conference because was very interested in basing his services on hosted contact center technology, rather than owning it on his premises. However, he said that leading contact center technology vendors seem to be still very focused on dedicated business operations and ownership.

Having gotten started in the early days of call centers and voice messaging with Delphi Communications that offered “telephone answering” services to small and large businesses, I was very familiar and sympathetic to his interests. There is indeed great potential for UCaaS to merge with staff outsourcing in the “cloud” to maximize operational benefits and minimize costs for any type of business operation. In addition to considering InContact offerings, Interactive Intelligence was another candidate he was talking to.

As more business technology moves into the “cloud,” IT responsibilities (and costs) will be shifting to on-demand service providers. This is already being reflected in recent announcements by leading carriers who are also supporting Mobile UC and access to “mobile apps” So, it seems obvious that the next step for cloud-based UCaaS will be to inter-operate with outsourced contact center agents for call answering assistance on demand. That combination will still be able to exploit interactions with other enterprise resources, e.g., subject matter experts, field service personnel, business partners, etc., while also providing real-time management visibility and control over business process activities.

So, I look forward to seeing “cloud” services enabling “UC Contact Centers” to evolve more quickly, piece by piece, for both small and large organizations.