It is often said that a company stands or falls on the quality of its communications. This can range from its ability to communicate effectively internally, across multiple locations, with employees working at remote locations (e.g. at home), with customers, and with partners, to the actual content of those interactions. My research into customer experience management shows that companies need to communicate through an ever increasing number of channels; everything from the telephone, e-mail, the Internet, fax, postal mail, instant messaging, and text messaging, Creating an in-house network infrastructure to manage all of this is a complex and expensive task. If you add-on the additional needs of a call center then the task becomes even more difficult and expensive.
CallTower have been offering their clients communication services since they were formed in 2002. In-line with overall market trends it has recently upgraded its offerings to be available “in the cloud” and it has bundled together a number of products to create a full Unified Communication (UC) offering (see “Unified Communications: Simpler and Eventually Cheaper Customer Interactions”). In practise what this means is that it is offering network control systems on a hosted basis in its data centers and customers can now access these systems via various forms of network. To support the necessary bandwidth and quality standards required for “plain old telephony”, customer can connect with a high speed T1 network, or through a public telephone network or indeed through the Internet, typically using broadband connections. This gives companies access to the Cisco Call Manger products to manage telephony traffic and various Microsoft products to handle other forms of communication and value-add functions. This includes Microsoft OCS, which allows companies to take advantage of presence capabilities, giving them the ability to identify everyone available to handle interactions no matter where they are logged into the network or what device they are using. CallTower also offers support for a growing range of mobile handsets such as RIM Blackberry.
All these applications are hosted in CallTower’s data centers which have full back-up and recovery capabilities. The applications are accessed just as for any other applications in the cloud and are provided on a monthly fee-based agreement. This means users have access to a full range of unified communications capabilities that can be accessed by any employee in the exactly the same way; whether they are in a front or back office environment, in a contact center or centers, based at home or mobile. It goes without saying that this model brings with it all the other advantages of cloud based solutions and puts unified communications within reach of small and medium size companies, at prices they can afford and without the hassle that is normally associated with putting together an in-house solution.
Let me know your thoughts or come and collaborate with me on Facebook, LinkedInand Twitter.
Richard Snow – VP & Research Director