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 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
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:
- a Single Sign-On facility
- a browser hosting SCC’s Agent Desktop
- a browser hosting the Unicom CATI client
- 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.
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.”