Large Call Centers Migrating to Asterisk Telephony
The Flexible and Scalable Call Center Solution For Migrating to IP Telephony
The Need to Migrate
We are witnessing a critical change in the history of telecommunications, with a move away from one mature and reliable protocol (TDM) to a new one (VoIP), primarily due to the unification of data, voice and all other media over an IP (Internet Protocol) infrastructure. Most of us understand the importance of acquiring a new generation contact center technology platform for improving productivity. Indeed, successfully migrating to a superior contact center platform is a competitive advantage and is of critical importance for large call centers.
However, when looking at migration options, companies should look beyond the immediate objective of achieving increased employee productivity. They should carefully examine the contact center technology solution's underlying architecture, as well as other considerations, which have long-term impacts on their business. Along with comparing feature sets of competing contact center solutions, it is critically important to pay close attention to the call center ACD software and its underlying telephony. The ACD and its underlying telephone switch together form the backbone of your contact center technology platform. Limitations can seriously impact the ability of your contact center functionality and introduce additional costs.
This white paper will focus on key considerations to be made when selecting and migrating to a new contact center technology platform, including .How to reduce substantial initial capital investment., .How to avoid proprietary equipment lock-in., .How to manage risk when migrating., and .How to achieve rich ACD functionality.. It will also introduce the benefits inherent to Asterisk, the leading hybrid switch for IP telephony, as well as introduce Q-Suite, a proven call center software suite for Asterisk.
Why Asterisk is Important
Why is Asterisk as a telephone switch important? For starters, the underlying telephony switch is usually a large portion of the initial cost when buying a packaged proprietary contact center technology solution. If you are able to find a proven, next generation switch then all that remains is searching for a feature-rich ACD to go with it. In Asterisk, you have the most powerful open source hybrid telephone switch tested by millions of users worldwide. Therefore, by selecting Asterisk, you have an immediate cost saving.
Most proprietary contact center switch providers quite often have their internal teams playing .catch up. to keep their legacy CTI up to date, whether it be adding features for the switch or enabling cutting edge VoIP migration. Asterisk, on the other hand, provides all the PBX functionality independent of the underlying telecommunications connectivity, be it TDM (PRI E1/T1) or VoIP (SIP/IAX). It also provides seamless integration of the underlying VoIP and TDM connectivity. This important feature provides two distinct benefits. First, Asterisk allows working with existing TDM, and second, companies significantly reduce risk as they gradually migrate to VoIP based on company timetables rather than having to .flip a switch. when go-time is at hand.
There are other benefits inherent to Asterisk. In the past, achieving voice recording capabilities has required additional expenditure and time consuming CTI developments. However, voice recording is intrinsic to Asterisk, meaning there are no additional costs.
It is also important to note that Asterisk is designed to work in commodity hardware, including Dell and HP. Again; there are multiple benefits to this feature. The most direct benefit is that you can easily avoid proprietary equipment lock-in by utilizing a proven Asterisk based contact center technology platform. Another benefit is ease of scale. When an Asterisk server reaches its processing limit, additional Asterisk servers can be added to scale with the growth of the call center. With this in mind, the platform can be designed to be redundant.
With so many clear benefits to be had by utilizing Asterisk, you will rightly ask "why hasn't everyone switched?" The answer is simple: the call center industry is mature, and it requires a suite of sophisticated features in order to cope with the demands of customer interaction today. As such, there is a need for a feature rich ACD that is capable of functioning with Asterisk's advanced switching capabilities.
Call Center Migration to Asterisk
With the benefits of Asterisk as the underlying telephony platform clear, the question remains:
"Can industry standard contact center software features be achieved on the Asterisk platform?"
The following matrix outlines features to achieve next generation operational efficiency, as well as indicates if these features can be made available on an Asterisk based contact center platform.
New Generation Contact Center Feature Matrix
|Feature||Industry Standard||Q-Suite Feature Availability for Asterisk Call Centers|
|ACD with Skills Based Routing||YES||YES|
|Sophisticated Graphical IVR and Dialplan Builder||YES||YES|
|CTI Integration with APIs||YES||YES|
|Incredibly Versatile Script Builder for call scripting||?||YES|
|Voice Recording and Quality Monitoring||YES||YES|
|Real-time & Historical Reporting||YES||YES|
|Ready to use CRM Integration||?||YES|
|Redundancy, High Availability, Call recovery||?||YES|
|Easy Data Import-Export and Open Database||YES||YES|
|Seamless handling of VoIP and TDM from Asterisk||Only in Asterisk||YES|