Kwazulu-Natal Business News

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OUTSOURCING: Functionality & Outcomes Trumps Technology Focus


Recent Kwazulu-Natal Business News

Many contact centre operations have traditionally been outsourced by enterprises, therefore different outsourcing options and models abound, says Paul Fick, Divisional CEO at Jasco ICT, Enterprise Communication. Depending on budget and business imperatives, organisations may or may not own the call centre, directly employ the agents, or control the enabling technology in an outsourcing scenario. The biggest recent shift, however, is that technology is no longer the focus of contact centre outsource deals; instead, it is functionality and, in particular, the ability to continually measure, monitor and optimise outputs.

Technology has been commoditised to the point that it doesn't matter where you get it - whether you own it, access it as part of a hosted solution, go into the cloud for it, or make use of a hybrid of these options. What does matter is that you have the use of a service with the right functionality to fully enable - even optimise - business tasks, cost-effectively and efficiently. It is what provides a competitive edge. To achieve this you need to find a service provider with the right expertise, experience and technology insight - a partner with a vested interest in seeing your business succeed.

The Importance of Good Outsourcing Techniques

Accurately translating business functionality into technology requirements lies at the heart of a successful outsourcing exercise, and this is perhaps what differentiates the really great outsourcer from the mediocre today.

The service provider may be niche, but must have breadth and depth - be able to supply and operate the technology and/or integrate into an organisation's backend systems, or leveraging the organisation's existing investments in a hybrid solution to meet budget and functional requirements, while also catering to the contact centre's need for flexibility and scalability.

The value of outsourcing the entire function is that the user does not have to worry about upgrades, licensing and keeping the right skills on hand to integrate, configure, support and maintain the solution. They just agree an SLA with the service provider who takes care of it all. In addition, if the strategy is to move this function from a capex to opex operation, a service provider is likely to be able to offer that option. However, if core business functionality will rely on this infrastructure, the smart thing would be to go with a service provider who is willing, and has the ability, to offer more than a 'vanilla' solution.

In the contact centre arena that comes down to the service provider understanding both the business and technology needs - whether the contact centre is running an operation focussed on sales, support, administration or ad hoc in- and outbound campaigns - and being able to offer a suitable in-budget solution. Despite all the hoo-ha about hosted solutions and cloud computing, the reality is that organisations often need to maximise existing investments. The service provider should be able to identify and implement such a solution, migrating to cloud and other solutions as it becomes 'safe' and viable to do so.

The same is true of human resources in the contact centre - to maximise operational performance and productivity, and achieve the right results for clients, agent focus and outputs need to be managed. The service provider should be able to offer the tools - such as IVR and ACD (automated call distribution), predictive dialling and least cost routing (including VoIP within the organisation) - to meet those needs. Again, since the user does not need to own or licence the technology, only paying for use, it doesn't break the bank. It's strategic partnering of the best kind - everybody wins.

Being Able to Adapt Can Benefit Your Outsourcing

And last but not least, the outsource service provider needs to understand strategies and trends, adapting it's outsource offering to maximise benefits for the user. This measured upgrade path for your outsourcing should involve new or additional functionality as well as technology models, perhaps moving from ownership and private technology clouds to a public technology cloud as security and scalability capabilities improve.


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