February 25, 2009, 2:12 PM — Cutting costs and improving customer service are everlasting business goals, regardless of the economic climate. With capital expense budgets shrinking, however, more organizations are adding a third goal to the list: extending the use and the useful life of their existing infrastructure. In other words, enterprises want to deliver better service at lower costs using the software and hardware equipment they already own.
“Rip and replace” is no longer a viable option for the 95 percent of Fortune 1000 companies that have made significant investments in their enterprise technologies. Today, those companies must “leave and leverage” their existing resources, building on the significant infrastructure investments previously made. Extending the existing infrastructure with hosted contact center technology that integrates to that infrastructure is a smart way to accomplish the goals outlined above, enabling companies to effectively “do more with less.”
The concept is to give enterprise users a seamless, transparent solution that offers the feature rich functionality and benefits of on-demand contact center service delivery, while leveraging the existing enterprise infrastructure. The newly integrated and enhanced contact center will provide:
-Investment protection. The hosted contact center service can be integrated with existing enterprise-wide systems, so customers’ investment is protected and leveraged as part of the hosted solution. Additional customer investments in future networking and unified communications technologies can also be leveraged by integration.
-A unified enterprise telephony and desktop solution. Enterprises can use their exiting IP phones for both contact center agents and other enterprise users. All workers have just one phone and utilize the same phone system. One phone on every desk makes training and use far simpler and saves money.
-Rapid ROI and lower TCO. On their own, hosted contact center solutions are faster and less expensive to implement than customer premises-based contact centers and require no ongoing capital equipment or maintenance fee investment. The integration of hosted contact center solutions to the existing corporate infrastructure can further enhance the rapid ROI and advantages of the hosted contact center deployment itself through the increased efficiency benefits of IP communications processing. Total cost of ownership is lowered through reduced IT infrastructure costs, improved operational effectiveness, and extended hardware functionality.
Integrating a hosted contact center service with an existing corporate infrastructure may be the first exposure to a hosted solution for some organizations. These companies will find that a hosted contact center solution lets their IT organizations focus on high priority, company-specific initiatives instead of the activities associated with managing and operating a premises-based contact center.
Done properly by a provider with experience and expertise, the hosted contact center solution should become the center of a customized, flexible, completely managed service that integrates not just with existing infrastructure, but also with best-of-breed services and technologies — both today’s and tomorrow’s. In addition, the hosted contact center can also integrate with and manage carrier and network services, CRM software, and other industry or customer-specific applications that customers may require to run their business in a cost effective and customer service focused manner.
Organizations that extend their existing technology infrastructure through integration with hosted contact center services can take immediate advantage of a new hosted contact center solution that is:
-On demand. Customers can quickly and easily scale their agent pool up or down in response to seasonal demands and other fluctuations in call volume. Features can be added whenever needed.
-Always on. Service and support are available around the clock.
-Guaranteed. Service level agreements guarantee the entire platform’s service, availability, customer support, performance, and reliability.
-End-to-End. A completely managed technology service and contact center solution incorporating traditional landline or VoIP calling, computer telephony integration, automatic call distribution, work force integration, interactive voice response, and other customer-specific integrations.
-Carrier grade. Multi-tenant architecture, stringent data and physical security, continual back-up procedures, systems redundancy, and more help hosted solutions providers achieve carrier-grade performance and reliability.
The hosted contact center integrated with existing infrastructure strategy lets established companies with significant investments in technology extend the useful life of their existing infrastructure and improve their customer service; a win-win for many mature companies, and a potential first step on the adoption curve of the hosted model for those late to the software as a service party. As long as the economy continues to limp along, extending an investment through hosted contact center services that are integrated with existing infrastructure offers an immediate route to better customer service at lower costs — a destination that will be just as popular when the economy rebounds.