A Unified Shift

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

The call center solutions market is getting significantly

impacted by the current economic situation. The effect can be termed as both

positive and negative, but nevertheless the overall picture is still promising.

Across the industry there has been a renewed focus on solutions providing

greater efficiency and effectiveness while giving a faster return on



Enterprises are slowly moving away from PBX centric

communication solutions to solutions which provide a unified communications

platform. On an enterprise level, solutions focusing on improving customer

experience and a unified agent desktop approach where the right information is

presented whenever and wherever you need it are also gaining popularity.

Technology In Demand

One of the most interesting technological advancement that took place this

year was a complete contact center in the cloud. With the cloud based solution,

companies are empowered to deliver the expertise of the community to customers,

agents and partners, regardless of location or device. Thus, this ensures that

the quality of customer service can be consistent across every channel.

Expert Panel

Johnson Varkey, business development manager, India

and SAARC,

Rajiv Soni, GM, India, Mid East, Aspect

Rajendra Deshpande, CTO, Intelenet Global Services

Gerard Maret, GM, Trans-Atlantic field operations, Cincom Systems


The new technologies in this segment basically revolve

around simplifying and streamlining the desktop to optimize agents and the

contact center operations. Also, new technologies are built around a modular

service oriented architecture (SOA) which provides organizations with a greater

flexibility to extend the functionalities and reduce the integration challenges.

Also while looking at any new technology, focus will be

more on components which can help in delivering the expected customer experience

with a faster RoI. More focus will be on improving the customer experience

across multiple channels rather than working in an isolation mode. In order to

increase the contact center performance while ensuring a cost-effective customer

support, efforts should also be made towards seamlessly integrating


Budget constraints in the SMB market space are driving

organizations towards adopting SaaS model which offers quicker RoI while

reducing the capital expenditure. Especially, SMBs are looking towards products

that provide complete call center functionalities out of a box; solution that is

easy to install, maintain and integrate; and contains pre-packaged CRM

application, business intelligence reports, IP PBX, etc.

Enterprise Concerns
  • Maintain a converged network to contain and manage costs
  • Introduce multiple channels into the contact center
  • Support for multiple interactions over the same infrastructure
  • Rapid deployment of new applications
  • Preserve legacy equipment investments
  • Focused on implementing a complete unified desktop solution

Another technology which is fast catching up in the call

center solutions is the unified communications. Unified communications is also

playing a fundamental role in shaping up the contact center landscape in India.

Software powered unified communications applications are the next generation

technology required to meet the operational goals of contact centers. UC for

contact centers will eliminate IT complexity by reducing the number of

integrations across applications, removing system fragility caused by

proprietary equipments, and consolidating redundant servers and software while

reducing the additional connections these system require. Also, hosted models

would be the future as enterprise find it difficult to manage the solutions


Players in this space like Cisco, Cincom and Aspect are

ready to introduce a wide range of innovative technologies. Cisco has launched

products like unified intelligent contact management hosted, unified intelligent

contact management enterprise, and unified intelligence suite.


Some of the solutions in the Aspect's kitty are seamless

customer service, blended interaction, streamlined collections, productive

workforce and optimized collections. For the SMB market, Cincom has introduced

Synchrony express; and for the enterprise market segment, the company has

introduced Synchrony 7.4 , Synchrony OpenCIM.

Demands from CIOs

CIOs are constantly demanding the need to improve the existing business
processes, and inculcate the importance of providing the perfect customer

experience. Aligning customer service and support departments as per the

expectations of customers is one of the major challenges. The focus is on

improving efficiency while also investing into business intelligence

capabilities which can provide more insight into customer requirement and help

align their strategies.

  •  Unified agent desktop
  • Unified communications platform
  • Service oriented architecture
  • Business intelligence and analytical capabilities
  • Capabilities to support remote agents or work from home
  • VoIP enabled solutions
  • Call center solution in a box with all PBX, voice logger, universal

    queuing, CRM capabilities
  • Self service applications

CIOs pay a lot of attention to quality control issues.

Many current outsourcers to India are learning the hard way that the reduced

labor costs are not the only consideration to take into account when formulating

their off-shoring strategies. CIOs also work towards increasing the

sophistication of call centers, and that means agents are required to accomplish

a broader range of functions over more than one channel.

Trends to Watch

In 2010, the industry will see the convergence of various channels on

a single platform,and unified communications will gain maturity. Collaborative

applications will be more important, and technology components that will

facilitate green IT will dominate the market this year.

There is a strong trend towards moving to IP as a platform

for the deployment of contact center solutions for various business benefits


  • Lower cost of transport with IP as a medium of

  • Enterprise wide contact centers vis-a-vis disparate

    contact centers
  • Virtualization of contact center resources
  • Adoption of software as a service architecture (SOA) as

    the way forward
  • Adoption of VXML self service to dynamically implement

    a self service solution by using the power of the IP network

The other trends in this industry will be aimed towards improving the

customers' experience strategy, using analytics and scorecards to optimize

performances, transition towards IP enabled contact centers, focus more on

workforce management improvements and reducing the costs.

Key Issues

One of the primary issue facing every organization is how to improve

the quality of customers' experience. Apart from delivering a high performance

and managing costs, contact centers are also expected to improve the quality of

the service interactions that customers have with businesses on an ongoing

basis. Most contact centers are caught up in the efforts to reduce cost, and

thus lose the battle for customer loyalty in the process.

Tips For CIOs
  • CIOs should look at vendors providing customer experience management

    solution and faster RoI
  • Make the contact center part of the enterprise
  • Look for a single window. Application integration is a key component

    in this equation
  • Aggregate disparate technologies
  • Make the contact center IT ready
  • Recognize the value of data
  • Select technology vendor with a robust partner ecosystem
  • Consider an architectural approach that should be flexible to take

    care of the aspects

The other primary concern is how to maximize efficiency at

the lowest possible cost. Every organization more than ever before, now needs to

look at subscription based offerings or SaaS model as a viable choice. Companies

need to realize that they can achieve faster RoI while avoiding both upfront

capital investments and the ongoing technology ownership costs.

Thriving Verticals

The dominant verticals have always been banking and financial

services, but retail and transportation are now the emerging areas. Some of the

other emerging verticals are healthcare and hospitality, telecommunications,

manufacturing, and energy and utility sectors. As they are getting more

organized, demand from these sectors are also rising.

Going forward, contact centers are going to have more

importance where customer acquisition is concerned. Vendors are further going to

drive the market with the introduction of new and evolving technologies. The

solution providers should focus on the business needs of enterprises to come out

with innovative products to meet business objectives.

Arpita Prem