IFF Research (UK) – Cloud-based Deployment for Work-at-Home Interviewing

Industry: Market Research
IFF Research were primarily looking for a cost-effective way to scale up, adding interviewers quickly for specific projects, and scale back again as projects were completed. They wanted to continue supporting interviewers working from home.

About IFF Research

Established in 1965 and based in London, IFF Research provides bespoke research solutions, adapting their approach to the issues and audiences being targeted. IFF is a trusted partner of numerous public and private sector organizations.

As their preferred work model, interviewers predominantly work from home, dialing respondent phone numbers manually.

Iff Research logo

The requirements

IFF Research were primarily looking for a cost-effective way to scale up, adding interviewers quickly for specific projects, and scale back again as projects were completed. They wanted to continue supporting interviewers working from home.

They had been using the Unicom Intelligence CATI system (formerly IBM SPSS Dimensions), but needed the capability to run the Confirmit CATI system alongside, to support a specific project. Sytel worked together with Confirmit to fulfil the brief, ensuring all requirements were achievable.

As well as outbound dialing, IFF also needed to support a large inbound public sector project on the same system but entirely separate from any outreach.

The Sytel solution

Sytel’s Softdial Contact Center™ (SCC) platform was deployed centrally at the IFF facility, supporting remote work-at-home interviewers.

Each interviewer uses a Windows Virtual Desktop, hosted in Microsoft Azure. Each session is automatically prepared for them with all the tools they need, including:

  1. a Single Sign-On facility
  2. a browser hosting SCC’s Agent Desktop
  3. a browser hosting the Unicom CATI client
  4. a Confirmit CATI client.

SCC’s Agent Desktop provides a web phone via WebRTC directly in the browser which uses the interviewer’s local headset, even though the desktop is virtual. The agent desktop provides call control, connecting via HTTPS to the Sytel environment

This Virtual Desktop approach makes it very easy for new users to get started by replicating the template. The process of training new recruits is easy, as the desktop delivers a consistent experience across all interviewers. As the desktop is hosted in the cloud, IFF can add and remove users very quickly, only paying for the capacity they use, with no server infrastructure costs.

The Virtual Desktop does not require software to be installed on any home laptop/ PC, and it eliminates any data protection concerns over data being held insecurely on devices outside IFF control.

SCC is driving projects simultaneously with different CATI systems side by side, and performance data can be analysed and compared within SCC’s single reporting system.

To support the additional inbound requirement, a partitioned ‘tenant’ was set up on the SCC platform to operate entirely independently of any outbound work.

With SCC, IFF have full flexibility to scale up/ down quickly and easily, with no need for down time. IFF currently run with varying capacity, from 50 interviewers to 250, depending on the projects.

Sytel’s licensing model allows IFF great flexibility. A base number of interviewers is specified, charged at a particular rate. IFF can add users as they wish beyond that number in a ‘burst’, paying only for what they use. Continuous review of actual usage informs the ongoing commitment, which can then alter the base number and the per user cost.

This model allows IFF the flexibility to scale up and down with no restriction, while benefitting from economies of scale, keeping costs to a minimum.

At Sytel’s recommendation, IFF signed up with an additional telephony provider. This gave them extra resilience in fallback options, and also flexibility to make use of least cost routing depending on the call destination and time of day.

The result

Rob Irving, Operations Director at IFF Research, commented

“We are very pleased with how Sytel made the transition quick and easy for us. The move to predictive dialing has allowed us to achieve our targets faster, while reducing the number of extra interviewers we hire per project. This has been a very successful move for us, securing efficiency into the future.”

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 Software

Softdial Contact Center™ – rich functionality, all-in-one, 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


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

Optimise agent usage and balance workloads in real-time without human intervention, 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


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


Performance and efficiency for a wide range of business applications

By Business Type


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

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Options for SMBs 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

Debt Collection

Automated inbound/ outbound blending integrated with any debt management app

Sales & Telemarketing

Maximise agent productivity with best-of-breed predictive dialing


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