More executives are looking at hosted call center solutions. Hosting is a delivery model that allows you to secure needed contact center applications now – not “when the economy turns around,” or “when budgets free up.” Hosting goes by a lot of names. “Application service provider ASP is one. “Software as a Service (SaaS)” and “cloud computing” are currently in vogue. Another trendy term along is “on-demand” services.
The basic idea is that you secure applications you need by paying a subscription fee rather than investing in premised-based software and hardware. The most common models are similar to your electric service where you pay just for usage, or a fixed charge based on services contracted for – similar to TV cable service. The hosting model is ideal for today’s economic climate where capital funds are tight while the need to improve service and cut costs has gotten even stronger.
The idea is well established in the enterprise software space but still a little new to contact centers. Hosted solutions are most common in call distribution and customer relationship management with major players like Salesforce.com, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, RightNow Technologies, Interactive Intelligence and Five9 taking the lead.
According to Gartner Group, by 2012, 30 percent of investments in CRM will be via the hosted model. In their white paper, Workforce Management for the Masses, Pipkins discusses a hosted model for call center scheduling software.