Gokul Blog — A conversation on VoIP, IMS, Cisco and Just about Anything

Deeper analysis of VoIP

Most Companies Don’t Understand Call Center Business.

Posted by tggokul on August 23, 2007

It has become the norm these days that if you are a player in the IP communication space, you think it is just a natural progression to cater to the Call Center needs. And looks like Skype is no exception. Let me get this out on the onset. IP Telephony is NOT the same as IP Contact Center. If you have agents on IP phones (be it Skype/Cisco phones) it does NOT mean you have a contact center solution on IP.

I don’t blame companies that think “Hey, I have a softphone that can do voice/chat. I think I have a call center solution”. Why, because I used to think that too in my previous assignments. Now that I am with a predominantly focussed Call Center solutions provider I understand that there is a vast difference between me making a VoIP call and an agent doing the same.

This is how the progression should be. Companies that have vast expertise in Call Center technolgies ( be it the traditional TDM ACDs/IVRs) must lead the way and adopt IP as their underlying platform not the other way around, where IP companies start providing contact center solutions. The problem with the latter is that, they are just “emulating” the older solutions and as far as I can see there is no real innovation.

Yes, Presence based ACD ( i.e an agent transfers the call to the subject matter expert based on the expert’s availability) is something only an IP solution can offer and I am sure this was based on the presence model that IMs used to offer, but still these applications are the exceptions rather than the norms. For example lets take Cisco’s ICM ( Cisco’s ACD). What does it do that an Avaya AES or AIC does not do from a feature set point of view? Answer is nothing. So where is the innovation?

Now coming to what triggered me to write this post. In the news-item mentioned above, Skype is offering live-chat to customers. OK, so what is so great about that? Who does not give that? What is so “intelligent’ about that? The customer gets to speak to the subject matter expert. Again, so what? It also says that Skype will provide configurations to switch between Audio/Chat windows. That shows how primitive the thinking is. Have Skype’s people ever gone into a Call Center and had a chat with the floor managers? The first thing they want is an unified screen. Any novice will tell you that. What are the integration touch points that Skype provides? Do they have connectors to MS CRM, Siebel CRM? Or are they going to provide even more “configurations” to switch between three windows!!!!

Enterprise Telephony will soon merge into Contact Center Telephony. I envision that happening in the future. But not today and the people who would need to drive it are the experts and not the novices.

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2 Responses to “Most Companies Don’t Understand Call Center Business.”

  1. anonymous said

    Wonderful post Gokul! – aligns with my thought process as well.

  2. […] Comments (RSS) « Most Companies Don’t Understand Call Center Business. […]

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