The global economic downturn has impelled companies to consolidate and virtualise contact centre resources. This has driven the demand for Internet protocol (IP)-based contact centre technology solutions.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that South African contact centre technology market earned revenues of over $101,9-million in 2008 and estimates this to reach $134,3-million in 2015. The customer verticals covered in this analysis are business and financial services, government, retail and telecommunications.
"The global economic crisis has led to the adoption of cost-optimisation strategies," says Frost & Sullivan ICT analyst Mpho Moyo. "Therefore, increased momentum towards IP migration is expected, as companies seek to consolidate and virtualise numerous contact centre resources."
As part of cost-optimisation strategies, companies are seeking to consolidate and virtualise numerous contact centre resources to allow for centralised reporting and management. This has resulted in an increased demand for IP-based contact centre solutions, which provide for the integration of a number of applications on one server, such as voice, data and video.
However, the general economic decline has left end users with limited funds to invest in innovative technologies. Therefore, companies are seeking to extend the life of existing investments, restraining market growth.
"A lack of adequate financing due to the economic slowdown is the main threat to the growth of the contact centre technology market," explains Moyo. "Pricing is often out of the range of local operators as the industry is primarily characterised by small operators."
Vendors should explore the provision of hosted IP contact centre services that allow companies to access advanced technologies as they need them. The flexibility of this option makes it popular amongst small and medium enterprise clients, as end users pay for services on a monthly basis.
"In line with the adoption of an OPEX-based model, an increase in the demand for 'on demand' services such as software-as-a-service and communications-as-a-service is likely," says Moyo. "Similar to the hosted model, end users will lease these services and pay on a monthly basis."