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The Many Benefits of Cloud-Based IVRs


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May 19, 2011

The Many Benefits of Cloud-Based IVRs

By Tammy Wolf, TMCnet Web Editor

Over the past few years, enterprises, as well as their IT departments, have discovered the many benefits offered by the cloud. By running applications on a providers’ computing platform out in the network cloud, companies can offer their customers more cost-effective, intelligent and responsive services.

Incredible amounts of available bandwidth, as well as the simple distribution of telecommunications through VoIP, and vast amounts of storage have given way to many companies moving entire applications to the hosted cloud space. With the cloud, the concept of servers has faded into the background as companies move to run applications on massively interconnected networks.

A system used to partially or fully automate a business’ incoming calls, an IVR uses speech recognition to detect voice and dual-tone multi-frequency signaling keypad inputs to interact with callers, gather data and route customers to the appropriate line or contact. IVR providers have also created cloud-based models in order to achieve a more agile, flexible and cost-effective solution that will ultimately improve the customer experience and general call center productivity.

So why consider the cloud space for an IVR? Back in 2008, when the cloud-based model for applications was beginning to emerge, many experts pointed to scalability, deployment speed, ease of experimentation, business continuity, and decreased costs. While enhancements have been made over the years, these benefits still exist.

Considered to be a software-as-a-service model, IVRs provide services to many end-users, meaning that demand for a service often exceeds expectations or shifts due to seasonal changes. In the cloud, companies are able to scale capacity based on the service’s demand while only paying for the actual needed capacity. On contrary, an on-premise or traditional IVR produces limitations in terms of the number of servers and lines that can be used in a facility. In the case of a cloud-based IVR, these issues, as well as the associated costs, become the responsibility of the hosting provider.

Since most IVR applications are used for special event announcements, new product offerings, seasonal surveys or service outage coverage, IT departments often seek speedy deployment. With a cloud-based model , the deployment of IVR applications no longer necessitate provisioning servers or adding lines to a telephony service. Instead, companies can simply upload applications to a hosting provider, and connect the application to inbound or outbound phone numbers.

In the event of a natural disaster, IVRs in the cloud will remain unaffected as cloud-based IVRs are typically protected by massively distributed and redundant networks. No matter the situation, cloud-based IVR applications will be available to respond to customer inquiries.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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