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March 1, 2005
Hot Seat: Will VoIP Reinvent the Contact Center? Why or Why Not?
Daniel Hong, CRM analyst, Datamonitor "Voice over the data network will not reinvent the contact center, but a converged network will. But still, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of what VoIP can do for contact centers today."
Roxann Swanson, vice president and general manager of enterprise multimedia applications, Nortel Networks "Yes. Leveraging IP in the contact center makes it more cost-effective to locate agents in branch offices and home offices, and makes it easy to deploy and reconfigure service to meet fluctuations in demand, such as for seasonal business needs."
Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst, McGee-Smith Analytics "Yes and no. Yes in that full implementation of IP technology will remove the location barriers [that] applications and agents face today. No in that the contact center applications themselves need not really change."
Jeff Fried, CTO, Empirix "It will, [but] not because there are new applications. In fact, all of these applications--virtual call centers, at-home agents, hosted flexibility, even presence--are not new. It's just that VoIP makes these things more affordable and more pragmatic. For people to get benefit out of it, they really have to pay attention to the quality aspects."
Fred Landis, research director, Contact Center/CRM Growth Opportunities Service, Frost & Sullivan "It isn't a yes or no answer by any means. Certainly IP is coming and will be here, but the adoption has not picked up at the rate of the hype."
Joe Outlaw, principal analyst, Contact Center Solutions, Current Analysis "The converging of voice and data networks and the move to IP over the next several years has the potential to dramatically change how contact centers operate and their roles within their organizations. The extent of the changes contact centers will actually experience will run the gamut; some will see little change, others will be completely transformed."
Al Baker, vice president, product management, Global eCRM Solutions, Siemens "It already has reinvented the contact center. I think the overarching theme is that it is moving the contact center in some cases from being a barely significant island in the enterprise to a highly strategic engine in the enterprise."
Blair Pleasant, president, COMMfusion "Definitely. It will really expand the contact center beyond the walls of the formal contact center, and really make it an enterprisewide contact center where anyone in the enterprise can work with customers and really become part of this enterprisewide contact center."
Lawrence Byrd, director of communications applications, Avaya "Absolutely. What it changes is not so much the application you see on the screen or what the customer hears, but...your ability to deploy people and resources."
Maggie Klenke, cofounder, The Call Center School "I would say no. To my mind Voice over IP is an enabling technology. It's an underlining way of communicating, but the communication is still person-to-person and that's the primary issue."
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