BenchmarkPortal, a national research firm specialising in contact centre best practices, has published a report based on survey results showing lower total cost of ownership for “all-in-one” versus “multi-point” contact centre communications solutions.

The report, titled “A Cost Comparison of All-in-One versus Multi-Point Solutions in the Contact Centre Sector,” shows that the total annualised cost per agent for all-in-one solutions averages less than half that of multi-point solutions.
The BenchmarkPortal report also shows that the total cost of installation and integration for all-in-one solutions is 15 percent lower compared to multi-point solutions. In addition, the average annualised system administration cost per agent for all-in-one solutions is 60 percent lower compared to multi-point solutions.
“Our study shows that, when taking into account contact centre costs associated with selecting, installing, integrating, administering and upgrading communications technology, all-in-one solutions are measurably less expensive than multi-point solutions,” says Dr Jon Anton, one of the report authors and adjunct professor at Purdue University.
“Contributing to the all-in-one solution’s lower cost model was the need for fewer servers to install, integrate, administer and maintain, and the provision of a single platform for simplified management and upgrades.”
The BenchmarkPortal report also reflects serious implications for contact centre managers who don’t employ best practices when evaluating technology costs.
“An important point uncovered by our study is that many contact centre managers do not have visibility into their technology costs,” says Bruce Belfiore, senior research executive at the Centre for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue University, and co-author of the report.
“Perhaps not surprisingly those managers who had the greatest visibility into costs also showed a much lower total cost of ownership for all-in-one versus multi-point solutions. Clearly, employing multiple metrics beyond sticker price – including the cost of integrating, administering and upgrading systems – is an essential budgetary component of contact centre management best practices.”
While the BenchmarkPortal report suggests that cost is at least one important factor responsible for the growing popularity of all-in-one solutions, it also shows that the controversy over sacrificing “best-of-breed” features may no longer be relevant in the minds of managers surveyed.
“Our in-depth phone interviews with a sub-set of survey participants showed that those adopting all-in-one solutions were generally convinced that they were not missing out on best-of-breed functionality,” Belfiore says. “One participant explained that by the time an all-in-one solution goes through several releases, it typically includes all core best-of-breed functionality anyway.”
The BenchmarkPortal survey was sponsored by global business communications solutions provider, Interactive Intelligence.
The survey was conducted via the Web by polling BenchmarkPortal’s contact centre performance database – the world’s largest research repository with more than 25 000 global members representing 43 different industry sectors.
Of those polled, BenchmarkPortal qualified 178 contact centre management respondents based on a roughly equal sampling of companies that used all-in-one and multi-point solutions. Respondents were also qualified based on a broad cross-section of size, industry, and geographic location.
To provide a deeper analysis of its Web-based survey findings, BenchmarkPortal conducted follow-up phone interviews with a random subset of respondents.