Does Sytel’s Cloud Architecture Support Containers?

June, 2020

We all know the customer is always right and the expected answer is ‘Heck Yes!’ but frankly, we try to avoid containers like the plague.

As part of our presales engagements to deliver cloud-based contact center services (CCaaS), we are often asked ‘Does your architecture support containers?‘ or ‘Do you work with Docker?

Now, we all know the customer is always right and the expected answer is ‘Heck Yes!‘ but frankly, we try to avoid containers like the plague. Here’s why:

Containers provide a lightweight OS framework to host a service and provide an indirection layer to map communications and other IO. This makes them really useful for rapid development of microservices. They do, however, have some significant disadvantages for real-life deployment of a heavyweight ACD with all its applications and media processing infrastructure.

These disadvantages aren’t obvious but are particularly relevant to cloud contact centers:

1. Encouraging sloppy programming

When our development team at Sytel writes new services we are forced to consider how something should multiplex, whether and where to keep state information and how the APIs to it are presented.

Containers ‘free’ you from this discipline which encourages sloppy behaviour, leading to unmaintainable code.

2. Vendor lock-In

If you work with containers you will also likely have to work with the orchestration infrastructure that a specific cloud provider gives you, and you will have to integrate with it in order to make sure real-time components multiplex in the right way.

This ties your fortunes to those of a specific cloud infrastructure provider. Now you might say that AWS or Azure is a safe bet now. What happens when pricing models change, or when a new disruptive provider emerges? The only thing that is certain in our industry is change.

Therefore, our approach has been to produce our own orchestration model and enforce API and service design patterns that allow services to be multiplexed on one host or on many. We can deploy our model to any of the major public cloud providers and can scale up and down, but without being tied to the provider’s toolset.

3. Performance

Containers and a general microservice design allow developers to abdicate responsibility for performant code.

As well as this, the total compute cost of all the indirection delivered by the container when hosting a service is significantly higher than the cost of properly designed services hosted on a standard VM.

These costs will be hidden in the per-user subscription fees for a cloud contact center service or in calling rate costs, but they will be there.

So, we write our own tight, efficient code to meet the challenges inherent in a cloud architecture. It is best for our solution, and best for our partners and customers. If you disagree, we’d love to hear from you.

Postscript

We recognise that the situation, like everything in IT, is constantly evolving. So don’t rule out the possibility that, at some point in the future, we will write a blog saying “We embrace containers!”

What We Offer

Sytel Limited develops and supplies Softdial Contact Center® (SCC) - multimedia, multichannel, fully blended cloud contact center solutions.

Available by subscription as CCaaS, fully managed and supported by Sytel, or for quick and easy deployment by partners and 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

  • Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

    CCaaS for subscribers - global service​, with no upfront costs

  • Contact Center Platform – CCaaS Partners

    Build your own CCaaS business using the power and flexibility of Sytel software

  • Contact Center Platform – Enterprise

    High performance platform to drive contact center productivity – cloud, on-premise or hybrid

Blended Media Desktop

Fully customisable, multi-channel, multi-session workspace

Work Anywhere

Browser-based tools, no software installation required

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 Channels

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

Agent Multi-Tasking

Work with multiple live contact sessions of any media channel

Dynamic Workforce Management

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

Predictive Dialing

Best-of-breed performance under compliance

Optimised Inbound 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

Drive operational efficiency, increase customer satisfaction & improve agent performance

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™

Maximum predictive dialing performance, 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™

Automation to optimise any outreach strategy

Softdial Repository™

Central storage and configuration of common resources

Sytel Global Compliance™

Flexible ‘no contact’ rules to protect contact center and consumer

Solutions

Performance and efficiency for a wide range of business applications

By Business Type

Enterprise

A full featured contact center software solution, designed for optimum performance at scale

Small/ Medium Business

Options for SMEs to subscribe to our full-featured cloud service managed and hosted by either one of our partners or by Sytel themselves

By Industry

Customer Service

Connect quickly to well equipped agents

Market Research

Best-of-breed predictive dialing with CATI integration

Collections

Automated inbound/ outbound blending integrated with any debt management app

Sales & Telemarketing

Maximise agent productivity with best-of-breed predictive dialing

Healthcare

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