IP Is Driving the ACD Systems Market
The rising deployment of IP in contact centers throughout North America is driving revenue into the automated call distribution (ACD) systems market, according to Frost and Sullivan. Frost and Sullivan also found IP ACD systems are particularly popular in distributed contact centers, or virtual contact centers, following the recent trend of remote management and agent monitoring. Revenue in this market totaled $950 million in 2004, and is expected to reach $1.25 billion in 2011.
The research firm also found that due to saturation in the high-end contact center segments, the relatively untapped SMB contact center market, combined with increased sales of IP ACD systems, is creating new revenue opportunities for ACD system vendors.
Seema Lall, industry analyst at Frost and Sullivan, feels the differences between traditional and IP-based ACD systems are playing a large part in determining growth in this market. Traditional ACD systems are better suited for the larger, enterprise contact centers, whereas IP-based ACD systems are better suited for the smaller contact centers typically associated with the SMB market. For large contact centers Lall says that outsourcing, certain vertical industries, and ACD vendors "stepping up" on customer functionality to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty could be important issues for vendors looking to sell in an already crowed marketplace. "Increased adoption of ACD systems from verticals such as finance and telecom will also propel demand," Lall says. "The successful offshoring of contact centers will continue to make outsourcing a key vertical for the sale of ACD systems."
As for SMBs, Lall says vendors must ensure a smooth transition to IP-based ACD platforms while maintaining minimum requirements from a customer's IT resources. "In the midmarket it's easier [to implement an IP-based system]," she says, because "[an enterprise migration] project is much larger--it moves at a slower pace."
There are a few keys that ACD vendors need to consider to continue to see growth in this market, Lall says. "Vendors need to work in tandem with their customers to assist them with their migration strategies," she says. "They need to adopt a consultative approach and make sure they maintain quality of service and reliability. As always, maintaining an attractive price is an important selling point, especially with the midmarket."
Lall also sees a revenue growth opportunity for ACD providers around distributed, or virtual, contact centers when using the IP-based ACD model. Because the value proposition of IP models are so clear, they are preferred by companies looking to install a system to support their work-at-home representatives. "The other big factor is ROI," she says. "As long as the deployment costs are kept down, the ROI is usually very clear."
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