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), 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