Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Contact Centers Increasingly Turning to IP Infrastructure

November 15, 2007

To try and take advantage of new technology offerings, many contact centers are becoming IP-enabled. Such a move provides benefits including the use of common protocol; the ability to set up virtual contact centers and employ home-based agents; promoting the successful take-up and management of multimedia customer interactions; and so much more.


Contact Babel conducted a survey that measured the use of IP within the contact center. The results of this survey point to this usage as happening now, instead of just a possibility for the future. Although IP implementation had a relatively slow start, survey results point towards IP being an integral and strategic part of the contact center now and in the future.

While the investment scenario for an IP contact center suggests that the initial capital outlay can be significant and often far outweighs the immediate savings made from reduced telecom costs, over time the business benefits of IP are greater openness and flexibility which promote improved responsiveness.

Many telephony providers have pushed the idea of “evolution, not revolution” for years, encouraging contact centers to consider the option of moving at their own pace towards IP. While many have been slow to respond, there is a significant proportion of respondents (14 percent) using pure IP within their contact centers.

Although the move towards IP has been strong, TDM is still the most important transport mechanism for respondents in every vertical market. The study did find that those centers in the healthcare, outsourcing and TMT markets are more likely to use pure IP infrastructure.

While pure IP infrastructure is being used by 14 percent of survey respondents, 23 percent are using a hybrid IP and TDM infrastructure. Nearly half, or 48 percent offer no VoIP and 15 percent of respondents did not know what their centers did or did not have.

Of those 48 percent of contact center respondents not currently using any form of IP, 35 percent reported that they expect to be using IP in some form within 2 years. These figures indicate that IP is making its way further into the mainstream and is figuring in the thinking of many businesses’ contact center strategies.

Overall, the survey revealed that the majority of contact centers either use a pure IP now or have plans for implementation within the near future. Aside from the 14 percent who currently have a pure IP infrastructure, 16 percent plan to implement within 1 year, 14 percent within 2 years, 5 percent within 5 years, 16 percent report no plans and another 35 percent do not know. These results prove that IP has arrived in the contact center and has plans to stay for quite some time.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.
 

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