Decision Matrix: selecting a hosted contact center service in the US

A 2010 report from Ovum examines the growth of the hosted call center market and ranks the leading vendors within that market.

The study explores the competitive dynamics within the hosted contact center service market in the US, and is designed to help businesses select a vendor based on technology strength, reputation among customers, and impact on the market.

Ovum reviews each vendor’s capabilities and then advises on those that businesses should explore, consider and shortlist.

Driving forces behind the growth of hosted solutions

Over the past two years, under extreme pressure to retain customers, increase customer loyalty and reduce overhead costs, enterprises have been forced to rethink their customer care strategies to find the right balance between effectiveness and efficiency.  A growing number of enterprises are looking towards hosted contact center services to reduce capital outlay and to provide access to a wide range of technology options, allowing them to better focus on developing new business processes and create more flexible staffing plans.

Access to new features/functions and expertise, more economically palatable usage-based opex models, and improved scalability and flexibility, make hosted contact centers an attractive option for enterprises today, says Ovum. Moreover, quick deployment timeframes and cloud-based service have made it relatively easy for enterprises to implement.

Ovum says its forecasts have consistently shown the hosted call center service market growth rates far outstripping the premises-based market; this trend was exacerbated by the recession. And they project that the hosted contact center deployment model will continue to gain traction among enterprises as they outgrow legacy infrastructure constraints and look to more flexible cloud-based deployment options.

Adoption of the hosted model will also be driven, Ovum says, by changes in the traditional on-premises switch market. Many existing contact center deployments are built on top of technology nearing end-of-life. At the same time, market consolidation means that many companies are re-evaluating their technology infrastructure.  The on-premises market has likely not seen the end of this consolidation, and that creates opportunities for hosted contact center service providers. Those providers can offer a low-risk, no-capex-required investment that makes it easier for customers to migrate off their premises equipment to more up-to-date contact center technology.

“Consider,” “Explore” and “Shortlist"
Ovum says that a decision to purchase one solution over another should be based on a broad array of factors: the degree of alignment between the solution’s features and functionality, and the specific objectives of the enterprise’s customer interaction and contact center strategy. Therefore, Ovum says, its recommendations should be taken only within the context of an enterprise’s specific solution requirements.

Leaders in a fragmented market
The market for hosted contact center services remains fragmented, says Ovum. Some vendors are targeting the same very large contact centers that have been the bread and butter of on-premises contact center vendors, while others aim their services at smaller companies with smaller contact centers.

Why choose a hosted services solution?
Because, Ovum says, businesses can start with a clean slate, think outside the box and not replicate business processes dictated by legacy technology.  Switching to a hosted services model gives businesses access to a wide range of technologies and continued upgrades underpinned by pre-defined service level agreements provided by the vendor.

Deployment of a hosted solution also reduces pressure on internal IT staff because the vendors are managing administration and technical issues.

And with large upfront costs for on-premises routing equipment taken out of the equation, enterprises can invest in new channels such as SMW, chat, and social media, and better analytics tools to understand agent performance and customer behavior.

Enterprises, advises Ovum, should look to those capabilities that will give them a competitive edge. The hosted option provides them with more capital to support these efforts.

For more information on this topic, you can listen the the CRMXchange webcast  Decision Matrix: selecting a hosted contact center service in the US   available May 25th.


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