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

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

  • Blended Media Desktop

    Fully customisable, multi-channel, multi-session workspace

  • Work Anywhere

    Browser-based tools, no software installation required

  • Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

    Scalable, resilient, secure, proven

  • Customise, Localise, White Label

    Design all user interfaces to individual requirements

  • Integration Via APIs

    ‘Swap out’ components and integrate with 3rd party apps

  • 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

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

  • Agent Multi-Tasking

    Work with multiple live contact sessions of any media type

  • Dynamic Media Blending

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

  • Predictive Dialing

    Best-of-breed performance under compliance

  • Intelligent Routing

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

  • Agent Scripts

    Help agents achieve and maintain excellence

  • Voice and Screen Recording

    See and hear exactly how agents are interacting

  • Analytics and Data Feeds

    Measure and evaluate performance at every level

  • IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

    Design effective automated flows or integrate with 3rd party providers

  • 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™

    Highly flexible unified web UI for agents, supervisors and administrators

  • Softdial Scripter™

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

  • Sytel AI Dialer™

    Best-of-breed predictive dialing under any compliance rules

  • Softdial Pathfinder™

    Precise routing rules for ‘best available’ connection

  • Softdial Media Server™

    Core telephony functions to manage all inbound/ outbound SIP calls

  • Softdial Reporter™ 5

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

  • Softdial Publisher™

    Comprehensive data output to build your own reports

  • Softdial Recording Monitor™

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

  • Softdial Campaign Manager™

    Comprehensive configuration and control for outbound campaigns

  • Softdial Repository™

    Central storage and configuration of common resources

  • 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

    Connect quickly to well equipped agents

  • Sales & Telemarketing

    Maximise agent productivity with best-of-breed predictive dialing

  • Healthcare

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

  • Market Research

    Best-of-breed predictive dialing with CATI integration

  • Collections

    Automated inbound/ outbound blending integrated with any debt management app