Designing for the Cloud – Challenge #4 – Footprint Cost

August, 2020

A cloud-based contact center running the full range of services has many other components that generate large compute and storage demands. So how does one manage these to minimise footprint cost?

In an earlier blog in our ongoing Designing for the Cloud series, we touched on how having your own orchestration model enables you to manage footprint cost by only running as many costly VMs for media processing as you absolutely need.

A cloud-based contact center running the full range of services has many other components that generate large compute and storage demands.

So how does one manage these to minimise footprint cost?

The answer, as ever with Sytel, is software design. Here are our thoughts on the three big costs other than media processing:

  • Audit logging

    All services need to generate logging for problem tracing and resolution. The overwhelming majority of cases handled by Sytel’s support team involve diagnosing operational problems caused by external factors, e.g.

    • network and carrier issues
    • ‘unintended consequences’ of ACD configuration
    • outbound inventory management

    Without logging across all services, we would not be able to make quick diagnosis of such problems.

    The easy thing to do is to dump all this information to a file local to the service. This then creates local storage demand; far better to use a standards-based protocol for logging and have just one VM on the server stack require lots of local storage. This saves some cloud cost.

    Having the logging service able to abstract away storage and perform buffering and write optimisation then enables bulk storage solutions such as Amazon S3 storage to be used in a cost-effective manner. This saves a lot more than just concentrating file i/o on one host.

  • Database

    Database services are a big part of the cost equation when deploying a functionally rich contact center. Frankly it doesn’t make a great deal of difference whether you use relational databases or NoSQL storage engines – the database engine is going to use lots of memory, disk, and CPU and this will have to be paid for one way or another.

    What you can do is minimise the load and number of services within your architecture that communicate directly with database services. A mature cloud platform implements database proxying so that only a handful of services communicate with the database directly, implementing caching so that multiple services do not end up reading the same data, and pipelining writes to minimise contention and maximise throughput.

  • Elastic compute vs pinned resources

    Call centers operate in real-time with media servers handling streaming, the ACD making many decisions every second and applications managing the customer, agent and robot dialog. The easiest thing to do is to run everything in a cloud contact center using dedicated resources, so that everything just works. Well, this comes at a cost. A far better approach is to have your core APIs work asynchronously and deal with timeouts by design. This enables most of the contact center application to operate in near-real-time rather than real-time.

    Consider an outbound dialer call. This may need to be screened at the point of launch against national and local do-not-call lists, conform to footprint compliance rules and possibly business-specific checks. By having an asynchronous routing API this allows all these services to run using elastic compute resources.

    This is just one example; by extending this philosophy to the entirety of the core platform API it is possible to run all line-of-business services using on-demand compute resources rather than ‘always on’ resources.

For more information about how our products are designed for the cloud, just talk to us.

What We Offer

Sytel Limited develops and supplies Softdial Contact Center® (SCC), offering multimedia, multichannel, fully blended cloud contact center solutions, for quick and easy deployment by partners offering CCaaS or enterprise users. All Sytel cloud components are secure, resilient and scale seamlessly from 10 agents to 10,000+, whether local, mobile or remote.

Flexible Contact Center Platform

Flexible Contact Center Platform

Softdial Contact Center™ - tightly integrated modules, designed to deliver at scale

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Partners can run a functionally rich and flexible contact center stack in the cloud

Blended Media Desktop

Blended Media Desktop

Fully customisable, multi-channel, multi-session workspace

Work Anywhere

Work Anywhere

Browser-based tools, no software installation required

Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

Scalable, resilient, secure, proven

Customise, Localise, White Label

Customise, Localise, White Label

Design all user interfaces to individual requirements

Integration Via APIs

Integration Via APIs

'Swap out' components and integrate with 3rd party apps

World Class Development

World Class Development

Continuous evolution pushing technical boundaries

Capabilities

Softdial Contact Center™ (SCC) is designed to be flexible, extensible and scalable, integrating with any legacy equipment, and meeting the most complex of requirements.

All Media Types

All Media Types

Voice, chat, email, social, etc - fully integrated and blended

Agent Multi-Tasking

Agent Multi-Tasking

Work with multiple live contact sessions of any media type

Dynamic Workforce Management

Dynamic Workforce Management

Automated, ‘best available’ decisions to manage agents and balance work load, across all media types

Predictive Dialing

Predictive Dialing

Best-of-breed performance under compliance

Optimised Inbound Routing

Optimised Inbound Routing

Smart rules and 'best-available' decisions to drive great customer service

Agent Scripts

Agent Scripts

Help agents achieve and maintain excellence

Voice and Screen Recording

Voice and Screen Recording

See and hear exactly how agents are interacting

Analytics and Data Feeds

Analytics and Data Feeds

Measure and evaluate performance at every level

IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

Design effective automated flows or integrate with 3rd party providers

Customer Journey Tracking

Customer Journey Tracking

Stored customer contact history, to aid routing and add context to conversations

Modules

A complete suite of tools, with unique flexibility to extend and swap out modules to deliver a tailored contact center solution for any environment.

Softdial One™

Softdial One™

Highly flexible unified web UI for agents, supervisors and administrators

Softdial Scripter™

Softdial Scripter™

Create complex process flow scripts for agents, IVR, chatbots and other applications

Sytel AI Dialer™

Sytel AI Dialer™

Best-of-breed predictive dialing under any compliance rules

Softdial Pathfinder™

Softdial Pathfinder™

Precise routing rules for 'best available' connection

Softdial Media Server™

Softdial Media Server™

Core telephony functions to manage all inbound/ outbound SIP calls

Softdial Reporter™ 5

Softdial Reporter™ 5

Fully customisable performance stats, charts and reports, across all channels

Softdial Publisher™

Softdial Publisher™

Comprehensive data output to build your own reports

Softdial Recording Monitor™

Softdial Recording Monitor™

Audio and screen recording of agent activity to ensure the highest standards

Softdial Campaign Manager™

Softdial Campaign Manager™

Comprehensive configuration and control for outbound campaigns

Softdial Repository™

Softdial Repository™

Central storage and configuration of common resources

Sytel Global Compliance™

Sytel Global Compliance™

Flexible 'no contact' rules to protect contact center and consumer

Markets

Performance and efficiency for a wide range of business applications

Customer Service

Customer Service

Connect quickly to well equipped agents

Sales & Telemarketing

Sales & Telemarketing

Maximise agent productivity with best-of-breed predictive dialing

Healthcare

Healthcare

Secure, highly-configurable multichannel communications for excellence in patient care

Market Research

Market Research

Best-of-breed predictive dialing with CATI integration

Collections

Collections

Automated inbound/ outbound blending integrated with any debt management app