MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In today's economy, organizations are under intense pressure to find methods that decrease costs and improve productivity within customer contact processes. Two of the most innovative solutions that have reached critical mass are cloud delivery of technology applications and the work-at-home agent model. Contact center managers must understand both of these popular topics to reach the organization's business objectives in a competitive landscape.
Frost & Sullivan recently published two white papers entitled "Navigating through the Contact Center Cloud: How Best to Move Customer Contact Processes to the Cloud" and "Bringing Customer Interactions Home," both of which examine the benefits of home agent programs and cloud integration to drive the enterprises' vision.
Deployment via "the cloud" (hosted by a vendor, and delivered using internet bandwidth) is the future of contact center applications, as demonstrated by growing demand. Recent Frost & Sullivan research reports that annual contact center cloud/hosted revenues will surpass that for premises-based solutions sometime this decade.
There are several benefits of moving customer contact applications to the cloud, including flexibility, speed and decreased total cost of ownership. This result is achieved by avoiding the purchase of hardware as a capital expense, instead paying for the desired functionality as a monthly fee (covering hardware, software, networks, facilities and IT staffing costs). The cloud also promises to optimize customer IT resources and budgets by relieving customers of widely variable solution maintenance tasks and, in many cases simplifying their contractual obligations to outside providers.
Driving this trend is the increasing obsolescence of installed technology solutions in many contact centers, while contact center managers at the same time seek creative ways to efficiently support new channels and processes. As the slow economic recovery is forcing many organizations to defer capital expenses, cloud deployment presents an attractive solution, since it is usually budgeted as an operating expense.
Firms must understand what the cloud is from a bottom-line perspective, in addition to the benefits and risks in cloud deployment. Many firms are concerned about how the cloud aligns with their business environment, including reliability, bandwidth, security, compliance, customization and control. Options include shared and dedicated clouds.
"IT expenditures are on the corporate financial radar screens because they incur overhead costs. While they support profit-making operations, they do not contribute to profits," said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Brendan Read. "System managers must closely examine the business cases for replacing technologies, the right choices to make, as well as how best and when to implement those changes. This includes both the core applications and how they are delivered, premises, and in the cloud, and the cloud delivery choices."
Because they are delivered over the internet, cloud solutions also provide a great fit for home agents. This demand is pushing more North American companies to source programs using at-home agents.
The work-at-home agent model has emerged as a means to manage live agent interactions affordably and flexibly. The model attracts and retains quality personnel, regardless of their location or their ability to commute. It also shrinks costs by reducing or eliminating facilities expenses. Organizations are figuring out how to utilize home agents to meet or exceed performance, productivity, and security objectives. However, home-agent programs do involve their own challenges, such as ensuring a quiet, secure work environment, training and coaching, agent communication, and technology.
"Ensuring home agents are connected with contact center operations, using technologies such as the cloud, is of paramount importance," said Read. "Desktop reporting displays, social media Intranets, discussion groups, and instant messaging are excellent tools to keep agents engaged with the broader teams."
System integrator Strategic Products and Services (SPS) has substantial expertise with assisting companies to implement cloud programs, specifically private dedicated clouds. It has the knowledge and solutions to help firms successfully set up and support home-based agents.
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Strategic Products and Services (SPS) is a global, multi-vendor systems integrator of business communication solutions, including contact center, unified communications and private cloud. SPS has helped companies worldwide to boost revenues, overcome business obstacles and gain an edge on the competition.
Named Avaya Partner of the Year 2012, SPS has earned numerous awards and recognition from its strategic partners. For the past six consecutive years, SPS has risen annually in the top 300 of CRN's annual Solution Provider 500 (formerly VAR500), a listing of the largest information technology solution providers, integrators, and service companies in North America – most recently placing at 131 on the 2011 list. SPS was also recognized by Everything Channel on the CRN Fast Growth 100 list for 2012 and 2011. Visit www.spscom.com to learn more.
SOURCE Frost & Sullivan