January 14, 2013
Hosted IVR Drives the EMEA Contact Center Market
By Erin Harrison
Executive Editor, Cloud Computing
Technology upgrades such as hosted interactive voice response (IVR) is one of several technology segments currently driving the contact center systems market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), according to a recent study.
The contact center systems market earned revenues of approximately $850.2 million in 2011 and is predicted to reach almost $1.1 billion in 2017, according to Frost & Sullivan’s (News - Alert) “EMEA Contact Center Systems Market” report. The study covers six segments: inbound contact routing (ICR), interactive voice response (IVR), analytics, outbound dialer, quality management, and workforce management (WFM) systems.
“The most important factor for purchases of new contact center systems or upgrades to existing systems continues to be either the acquisition of new functionality or the replacement of systems that are fully depreciated and no longer deliver sufficient value,” said Frost & Sullivan ICT Senior Industry Analyst Suvradeep Bhattacharjee.
The report also revealed that the latest generation of contact center tools incorporates the transition from voice to multichannel interactions. Frost & Sullivan said this is the most significant transition since the move from time division multiplexing (TDM) to IP and closed-systems to computer telephony integration (CTI (News - Alert)), the analyst firm said.
The transition from voice to multichannel interactions will affect the entire contact center systems market – particularly the ICR, IVR and contact center analytics segments.
However, the proliferation of cloud-based solutions has hurt the growth of on-premise tools for contact centers. Hosted contact center services increasingly compete with the sales of inbound, outbound, IVR, and QM tools. This is true for enterprises and contact centers of all sizes, Frost & Sullivan said.
“The uncertain economy over the last few years has encouraged many contact centers to experiment with limited or to pilot cloud-based programs,” Bhattacharjee added. “Many have come away convinced that hosting is as viable a deployment option as on-premises.”
As businesses continue to offer customers with additional channels for interaction, such as telephone, the Internet, email, social media and SMS, the need to coordinate service across these channels for consistency, accuracy and management of the customer experience has grown exponentially.
“This challenge will require IVR and voice portal solutions to be more tightly integrated with other customer contact and business applications in order to effectively manage the growing use of multi-channel customer contacts,” Bhattacharjee said.
In other hosted IVR news, a New Jersey-based company, Billtrust, has acquired Best Practice Systems, a billing company located in Colorado – in a strategic move in the promising billing sector, TMCnet reported.
Under the combination, the two companies will provide billing services to over 24 industries located in North America. Other acquisitions are possible in the future.
Billtrust focuses on online billing services for companies and individuals, according to The Times of Trenton, and is now employing an “aggressive growth strategy.”
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