Historically, the approach of big telecoms vendors has been to offer customer premises equipment, central office switching, etc, at a substantial discount in order to lock customers into their proprietary world. Then the vendor is free to charge exorbitant amounts for maintenance & upgrades in perpetuity. This has been palatable for most call centers until quite recently, when such hooked centers looked over the fence and saw their neighbours free to romp through the lush green meadows of IP, free to integrate with any service that came their way, able to pick and choose the functionality that was right for them, and they thought “Hang on! Why can’t we do this?”
Contact centers faced with this in countries where investment capital is easier to come by, on the whole have bitten the bullet and gone for ‘rip and replace’. Expensive, but it’s the cost of staying in business. But what about the other guys for whom previous investment is substantial and capex is a big challenge?
Sytel believe that the solution lies in adopting a switching and media platform that interfaces to both legacy telephony systems and ISDN using SIP protocols.
We encourage folk to embrace SIP soft-switching by build a switching core around IP, and migrate away from legacy systems. Follow the Sytel 5 step plan:
- Stop upgrading and maintaining your legacy system. You are paying for your past, not investing in the future.
- Assess the IP network available to you. Is it robust enough for your projected voice and data needs? Select the right service provider, who is solid and experienced in both TDM and IP and can help you through the migration process.
- Investigate how to mediate TDM to SIP locally. Legacy equipment will require TDM-SIP gateways, but the good news is that VoIP gateways will be standard, and therefore cheap and locally available.
- Any 3rd party application integration will have had to talk TAPI or TSAPI. This will either need re-coding OR framing in a hosting tool (like Sytel’s Softdial Scripter).
- Legacy handsets will be redundant. Softphones will replace them, but migrating to SIP also requires a PC to power a softphone which, if you have been running agent terminals and handsets, will require a little more investment.