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Outsourcing is a competitive business and providing services with aggressive pricing is always a critical factor in winning business. All companies look for methods to reduce their costs and outsourcers are no exception. To maintain their aggressive stance, outsourcers are following trends in the computer industry and using services in the cloud.
Cloud services are a by-product of the dot-com era. These services started as simple applications that could be shared over the Internet and have matured to challenge traditional client-server applications. An example is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. CRM is now offered in the cloud and referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS CRM has also spawned a number of companies that are adjuncts or directly interface with their solution.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is such as adjunct. IaaS offers in-cloud infrastructures such as ACDs (telephone switches), intelligently routing calls, outbound dialers, and voice and screen recordings. As a result, complete solutions for outsourcing inbound or outbound calls are available for a monthly fee.
Thus, it is essential to know if your potential outsourcer is outsourcing their technology. If they are, you will need to know to how to evaluate their capabilities. A vital question is, “If your outsourcer is using SaaS or IaaS, what value do they provide?”
The answer is dependent on how each outsourcing company integrates cloud computing into the services being offered to you. As in any approach, there are benefits and deficiencies of this technology. Your evaluation must determine if they meet your operational and technological goals and objectives. Here are some items to consider.
First, can the outsourcer demonstrate the effectiveness and reliability of the cloud computing solution being offered to you? The methods of the outsourcer may be presented as transparent to their operation and, indeed, your focus should be how your customers are treated and the effectiveness of the call center. Still, it is important to understand the technologies being used to fully evaluate the potential outsourcer.
Second, has the outsourcer added value to their cloud computing solution? Platform as a Service (PaaS) enables creation of value-added software to the solutions IaaS and SaaS offer. For example, using PaaS, the IaaS may log their transactions in the SaaS database. Another PaaS example is the integration of an IaaS user interfaces with a SaaS user interface. Hence, entering data to one user interface seamlessly enters the data into both solution databases.
SaaS and IaaS are typically offered over the Internet. Thus it is dependent on factors outside the control of the outsourcer. To overcome that issue, outsourcers with longstanding SaaS and IaaS vendor relationships may have implemented their own private network cloud. The private cloud ensures connectivity is being properly managed, especially when voice over internet protocols (VoIP) or session Internet protocols (SIP) has been integrated.
Third, if the potential outsourcer is using both SaaS and IaaS, what is the relationship between the companies? Many SaaS CRM vendors have developed a PaaS application-programming interface (API).
Fourth, is there a level of redundancy from the SaaS and IaaS vendors? Your potential outsourcer will be dependent on an infrastructure framework outside their control. Be sure your potential outsourcer can provide the details of the SaaS and IaaS vendor’s business continuity plan.
Finally, if your outsourcer is using SaaS CRM or an IaaS vendor with your data or access to your data, stipulate who is responsible for the integrity and security of the data.
While these issues may appear as negative aspects of using cloud computing, there are also advantages. Data and business processes are not the domains of any outsourcer. As a result, outsourcing functions can easily move from one vendor to another. This inherent ability to easily change vendors may provide a significant advantage to your outsourcer strategy.