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Hosted or Cloud Call Center - Are They Different?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - 10:00
Hosted or Cloud Call Centers

There is often confusion surrounding the terms "hosted" and "cloud" when it comes to call center and contact center systems. You’ll often see the words used interchangeably without any clear distinction between them. Often, in fact, when vendors claim to offer “cloud” services, they’re often actually hosted versions of a legacy on-premises solution. Hosted and true cloud services are two very different things.

What is the Difference between Cloud and Hosted Call Centers?

A true cloud solution has two key attributes:

  1. Opex cost model
  2. Multitenant

Hosted call center providers typically host the physical servers running the software in either their datacenter or in a third-party datacenter. These solutions are usually created by legacy vendors, but only address the first of the two cloud attributes - the charging model. While it alleviates a lot of the internal IT resource drain for customers when compared to maintaining their own legacy on-premises systems, it doesn’t give you the full benefits of a true cloud solution.

This is because the vendor cobbled together a modified version of the application to deliver it over the web, and it was not originally designed to be delivered in that manner. A hosted solution will have been altered to try and fit the software as a service delivery model, rather than having the inherent interconnectivity offered by the cloud. And it will require likely require separate servers and installations for each customer.

Contact center environments evolve rapidly, with customer demands and behaviors constantly spawning innovation. A hosted version of a legacy call center system is only ever going to be a reflection of whatever functionality comprises the on-premises system. Software and feature enhancements will need to be scheduled and paid for and it will still need ongoing maintenance, albeit not at your actual premises. Hosted call centers are far less flexible and ultimately more expensive and access to key new features will take longer to deploy.


Why is Cloud a Better Choice for Contact Centers?

Cloud-based models, on the other hand, have a multitenant architecture that's uniquely designed for secure, efficient delivery of web-based applications with interconnectivity built in from the beginning.

The cloud call center focuses on quick deployment and low operating costs through shared services. There is high performance and savings through instant scaling of resources, meaning that a customer should be able to increase capacity when needed, but also scale back down to be in line with seasonal peaks and troughs.

One of the great benefits of cloud solutions in general is the ability to rollout new features and updates quickly and easily without any downtime, cost, or extra IT resources. This is a crucial factor and a key driver in cloud call center adoption as legacy platforms simply cannot respond as quickly.

Just a few years ago, it was often smaller call centers that were early adopters of cloud-based contact center solutions. But today it’s not uncommon to see large enterprise contact centers with hundreds or thousands of agents move to the cloud.

We conducted some research to survey contact center decision-makers and see where they were in terms of cloud adoption. When we looked at the top drivers for moving to the cloud, 41% of those surveyed stated “the need to better service the multichannel customer” and for 33% the ability to rollout new features quickly was a top driver.

It's clear that for modern contact centers to be successful, there must be the ability to react swiftly to customer demands and paramount to this is the move towards supporting customers via any channel and from any device. This is incredibly challenging with a “hosted” call center and a key reason why so many are now choosing a true cloud solution for their contact center.

To read more about contact center trends, download the cloud contact center research report.

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