Companies looking at upgrading an existing contact centre or opening a new contact centre should consider the convergence capabilities of voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) and the implementation of an IP PBX, to effectively manage voice communications and handle VoIP calls and provide greater benefit, while reducing costs. This is the word from Henry McCracken regional sales director: Africa for Aspect Software. 

While the survivability of open source projects has been of concern to some, the phenomenal success of certain high profile endeavors should put those fears to rest and deliver proof that OSS is here to stay.
A recent study conducted by industry analyst firm, International Data Corporation (IDC), surveyed 5,000 software developers.
The study revealed that 71% of respondents were using OSS and 54 percent of those surveyed said that OSS is in production at their organisations.
In addition, half of those questioned for this IDC survey claimed that the use of OSS was increasing at their companies.
It is clear that OSS is continuing to gain traction, and is now taking hold of the contact centre industry. Consider Asterisk, an open source IP PBX. It has been downloaded 750 000 to 1-million times, with 250 000 reported installations since its release in 1999.
Open Source telephony creates a new way for businesses to purchase and deploy software. It frees contact centres to realise their full value by interoperating unified or multichannel contact centre applications with any underlying transport, rather than focusing on the PBX infrastructure.
By following these five steps, an organisation can understand and implement open source telephony. Achieving flexibility and realising significant cost savings will make the contact centre manager a hero.
Overcome fear – When selecting and deploying technology, too often managers select vendors and products that are safe and typical, such as proprietary telephony systems rather than those that might best contribute to the overall success of the company on a broader scale, like an open source IP PBX.
New and proven standards, such as session initiation protocol (SIP), enable open source telephony to deliver a cost-effective solution that allows companies to aggressively implement IP today or migrate over time.
Find the matches – Open Source telephony is architected to be as reliable and scalable as any mainstream IP PBX. It presents a fresh, new option for demanding enterprises, while delivering cost effectiveness, vendor neutrality, customisation, rapid development through a large community of programmers, and stability via constant peer review.
Start the brushfires – The barriers to entry are miniscule with Open Source telephony, enabling companies to simply and inexpensively implement it on a small scale to start. Because the software is free, there is no hard cost associated with a test drive. Companies can easily install, configure and experiment with Open Source IP PBX using spare resources and spare time and can learn about the software and capabilities on non-critical systems.
Crank up the heat – The next step is to identify the areas of the business that require a more flexible solution and offer a high potential return from Open Source telephony. It may be wise for companies to initially focus on less ambitious projects, such as a small help desk or a new branch office contact centre implementation, to gain an even stronger understanding of capabilities and potential pitfalls before tackling larger implementations.
Revel in the warmth – Now is the time to deploy Open Source telephony and realise the significant cost savings that are possible without sacrificing the quality of the underlying infrastructure. Decreased spending on underlying infrastructure ensures that more budget is available for strategic initiatives that positively and directly impact customers.
A healthy combination of vision, research and planning can help a company use Open Source telephony to effectively balance consumer demands with the realities of the bottom line.
In today’s competitive marketplace, why would an organisation focus its limited financial and human resources on infrastructure that has no bearing on agent performance or customer experience? Instead, it could concentrate on efforts that maximise agent productivity, enhance customer satisfaction and ultimately increase the bottom line.