Managed services (MS) has garnered plenty of energy and enthusiasm in the contact center technology marketplace, both from buyers and sellers. It is perceived as solving problems companies face today, notably IT cost, responsiveness, resource bandwidth, and expertise. The contact center wants more control for strategic and day-to-day changes, and has an increasing need for agility and speed.
On the technology front, most contact centers face complex and specialized needs for their infrastructure and applications. Their requirements include security and compliance, redundancy, reliability, resiliency, business continuity, and disaster recovery – all increasingly high and steep mountains to climb. Add in the preference for operational costs and MS starts to look very attractive. [Note: Some vendors will sell service with a capital expense structure.]
There are many different types of MS providers, with a variety of segments they address:
- Broad IT versus CC specifically
- Applications focus (with infrastructure behind it) versus a broader offering including network, infrastructure/platforms, data centers, security and compliance
- Frontend (planning, design, implementation) and/or backend (support, management, optimization) of technology lifecycle
- Consultative services for in-house operations versus outsourcing/BPO
- Maintenance enhancements (e.g., proactive updates and upgrades) versus value-added optimization on the backend of the lifecycle
Three categories of vendors can come into play when considering MS for the contact center:
|Contact center technology||Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, Mitel|| Tend to be more about maintenance enhancements
Some have targeted MS offerings but many rely on partners (see next row)
|Value-Added Resellers (VARs) for contact center technology||Altivon, Avtex, EDCi, NACR|| Many offer consultative, value-added professional services
– On frontend of project lifecycle targeted for sales and delivery
– On backend of project lifecycle tied to enhanced maintenance offerings; may include monitoring, application optimization, health checks, configuration support (including MACs), etc.
AT&T, Verizon, Windstream
| Broader offerings for core IT technology and services (not specific to CC) but can include CC
Buyers often cede specific solution decisions to vendor in goal of getting a more comprehensive managed service
Can include outsourcing of IT (where a “rebadge” scenario has value in retaining some knowledge of the current environment)
Can be driven by other opportunities (e.g., network, BPO) – but the vendors have built out services groups and partnerships to deliver MS across infrastructure and applications
MS providers may have a bevy of partners behind them that help create their comprehensive, and hopefully cohesive, offerings. The growing need for specialization and expertise to address regulation and compliance demands (PCI, HIPAA, PHI, etc.) can also play a role in their offerings. Knowing these pain points exist, providers can tout their abilities and show buyers how they relieve these burdens while delivering best-in-class expertise. Similarly, contact center technology with its unique functionality and operational needs can be viewed as a specialty that should be highly scrutinized by any MS buyer, because that is not necessarily the DNA or focus of every MS supplier.
If you are thinking about pursuing this technology sourcing option, I suggest you download the full article: Managed Services: Easy to Want, Hard to Buy. I’d also suggest review of Technology Selection at Today’s Speed.
If you need help to address your circumstances, contact us.