Generally, hosted (or outsourced) solutions have made major inroads into a number of business operational areas in recent years, backed by proof points in rapid cost efficiency and process improvements. MTN Business believes it’s time that the contact centre industry embraced this technology to reap similar benefits.

“If we consider a recent research report undertaken by Frost & Sullivan, on the hosted contact centre market in EMEA, it states that both large and small-to-midsize businesses are increasingly believing and buying into this technology and its benefits,” says Justin Colyn, GM of fixed mobile convergence at MTN Business.
"In fact, the hosted contact centre market earned revenues of 277,9-million euros in 2007 and by 2013 is estimated to reach 1,45-billion euros."
MTN Business believes that the local market should take heed of these figures to understand the real business opportunity facing the call centre sector in the next 12 months.
“To our mind, this opportunity resides in understanding the impact of cloud services in this segment, to deliver a hosted contact centre that truly supersedes traditional boundaries and provides business with an operational and efficiency edge.”
While the notion of a hosted contact centre is still relatively new for South Africa, MTN Business believes it should not be viewed as a complex environment. In fact, any business looking to establish a contact centre can now do so without the burden of extensive capital expenditure and annual operating costs – through cloud services – while still maintaining complete control over its service agents and operational efficiencies.
“It is this speed of innovation that will allow many new businesses to compete effectively in a growing and demanding market,” says Colyn.
Conversely, more and more organisations are exploring how they can use their existing contact centre infrastructure to service multiple business areas and how, by utilising a single piece of technology (such as hosted services offers) across the full business structure, to deliver stronger and more immediate cost and efficiency benefits.
The hosted model can work basically anywhere, allowing for the ability to scale up or down quickly and easily, yet even with this flexibility, given the fact that contact centres have been traditionally seen as hardware intensive and really an "open plan office with call agents", local businesses are a little hesitant to "relinquish" control of the day-to-day operation of the contact centre and fully embrace hosted services.
“The perception is that only a traditional contact centre, with a centralised office, allows for immediate ‘hands on’ control and overall visibility of the operations of the centre, and this needs to change.
"Having a centralised contact centre is often not feasible, especially as businesses expand and additional branches are required both locally and internationally and a part of a customer’s strategy is to deliver 'local' services.
"Hosted technologies therefore allow for a distributed contact centre model with the same amount of control and overarching visibility regardless of where the agents are sitting. Additionally, it also permits for the integration of solutions and often the consolidation of service providers which not only saves costs, but in essence, reigns control in even further,” explains Colyn.
“One of the strongest business reasons for contact centres to examine a hosted environment is that it provides 24/7 monitoring of network and server availability, while still delivering sophisticated security processes and safeguards – all of which, reduces internal IT efforts and operating expenses as this monitoring is undertaken automatically so it provides a viable cost effective, yet professional contact centre model.
“Hosted contact centres is an ideal solution for businesses looking to refresh or expand their contact centre.
“The notion that hosted technology hands the control over the contact centre to the service provider is a myth and should no longer be the inhibiting factor for such technology uptake, rather it should be seen as the key to peace of mind and the enabler of the contact centre model of the future,” concludes Colyn.