BenchmarkPortal, a national research firm specialising in contact center best practices, published its survey results last month showing contact centre preferences for all-in-one (or unified) versus multi-point communications systems.

Among the key survey findings, the report showed that all-in-one systems were preferred over multi-point systems based on their ability to support additional applications with virtually no modification or integration issues, and for their ability to lower administrative costs by reducing support staff by a full 25%.

“Our findings show that, in general, all-in-one communications systems contain the same core ‘best-of-breed’ applications required by contact centers as their multi-point counterparts, and that they come with the advantages of fewer interfaces, lower support requirements, simplified management, and easier access to performance data across applications,” says BenchmarkPortal research analyst, Bruce Belfiore.

Additional survey results showed that the majority of CTO and IT departments are inclined toward, or favor, all-in-one systems over multi-point systems, and that the former have become more attractive over time.

Also uncovered by the survey were key contact center technology trends, which showed post call surveys, Web chat, and multimedia queuing as the most likely applications to be deployed over the next 12 months.

The BenchmarkPortal survey, sponsored by global business communications software developer, Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ), was conducted via the Web by polling the research firm’s contact center performance database — the world’s largest with more than 25 000 global members representing 43 different industry sectors. Of these, BenchmarkPortal identified 249 that fit the profile by number of agents and having deployed either, an all-in-one system, or a multi-point system, with the total sample size representing both types of systems about equally.

BenchmarkPortal’s Web-based survey, which received a 26% response rate, was also supplemented by several in-depth phone interviews and onsite visits.

Systems composed of products or applications acquired from third-party vendors, despite being marketed as single all-in-one, unified, or suite solutions, were qualified as multi-point systems due to their multi-box architectures.