1 FOR: Application Development & Delivery professionals Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? by Art schoeller, June 1, 2012 Key TaKeaWays Cloud Contact Centers are Viable; adoption Will increase While the general barriers to SaaS adoption have fallen, cloud contact center adoption has moved slowly due to technology maturity concerns and the longer life cycles of existing call center infrastructures. Look More For agility and Less For Cost savings In general, the overall SaaS market has evolved to provide a more nuanced understanding of key benefits. The belief that cost savings are the rationale for SaaS has diminished, while the importance of business agility has risen. inspect What you expect From your Cloud Contact Center provider Mid-size to large contact centers can benefit from dedicated solution architects inspecting the architecture and road map of their provider. While cloud contact center providers have largely addressed security concerns, it is still key that risk and compliance teams review the provider s technology and procedures and engage in a regular audit. Forrester Research, Inc., 60 Acorn park Drive, cambridge, ma UsA Tel: Fax:
2 June 1, 2012 Why Read This Report Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? The Growing Maturity Of Cloud Computing Influences More Contact Center Applications Decisions by Art Schoeller with Kyle McNabb Contact center applications that manage real-time interactions have been available as a hosted or cloud service for more than 20 years. Initially, the term used was Centrex ACD, and the technology and terminology have gone through numerous iterations in the ensuing period. Yet this deployment option has experienced limited uptake by application development and delivery professionals who manage this technology for their enterprise. This report compares and contrasts the general uptake of cloud computing versus cloud-based contact center applications that manage real-time interactions. This research identifies what elements cause leaders to now consider cloud an option, lists factors critical to success, and helps application development and delivery professionals assess their options and choices. Table Of Contents 2 Contact Centers Lag Cloud Adoption Trends 5 9 It s Time To Let Go And Consider Your Cloud Contact Center Options Can Contact Center Vendors Make The Leap To The Cloud? Notes & Resources Forrester interviewed 11 vendors for this report, including 8x8, Aspect Software, AT&T, CenturyLink, Cisco Systems, incontact, Interactive Intelligence, LiveOps, Telus Communications, Verizon, and Volt Delta Resources recommendations Consider Your Cloud Contact Center Options Supplemental Material Related Research Documents Contact Center Purchase Plans 2011 October 27, 2011 TechRadar For Infrastructure And Operations Professionals: Contact Center Solutions, Q August 29, , Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. To purchase reprints of this document, please For additional information, go to
3 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 2 contact centers lag cloud adoption trends Today, the benefits of cloud computing have become mainstream. While the typical concerns about security, portability, and reliability persist, they have diminished in importance and no longer pose as large a barrier to adoption as they once did. At the same time, each application has its own pace and market dynamic that limits or accelerates its move to the cloud. Enterprise Applications Move To The Cloud Keeps Accelerating In the past two years, the pace of software-as-a-service (SaaS) adoption has accelerated, and the signs indicate that this trend will continue (see Figure 1). Our data also indicates that the percentage of large enterprises adopting SaaS is much greater than that of small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) 37% versus 27%. This puts to rest the notion that SaaS is more appropriate for SMBs that lack IT infrastructure and applications management resources. The traditional SaaS adoption barriers continue to shrink. Security concerns persist, but cloud providers have the answers. Today s SaaS vendors could not survive if they did not meet the stringent requirements of enterprise risk and compliance professionals. SaaS vendors are now better prepared to engage risk and compliance teams to explain their people, process, and technology management practices to secure enterprise data. Today, even healthcare providers, which have stringent personal data security needs, increasingly move CRM systems to the cloud. Reliability issues have been solved. outages that span consumers and enterprises get a lot of press, along with the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) outages that have taken down a significant number of ecommerce sites for businesses. But generally SaaS providers know they must have failover architectures either within a data center or between centers to compete in the enterprise market. As application development and delivery professionals compare and contrast their own infrastructure with that of a SaaS vendor, they often find that a vendor s security and reliability capabilities may even exceed their own. The portability of data and exit processes are largely untested. Application development and delivery professionals have largely only just started engaging SaaS services, so experience with taking data back off a service or moving to another is largely untested. The technology and methods are not that difficult, presenting a low barrier to adoption.
4 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 3 Figure 1 Cloud Adoption Accelerates In 2012 What are your firm s plans to adopt the following software technologies? (Respondents who selected implementing, not expanding, expanding/upgrading implementation, planning to implement in the next 12 months, or planning to implement in a year or more ) SaaS 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% By the end of 2012, 45% of all companies will be using SaaS, rising to 60% in the years to come. IaaS PaaS 0% IaaS PaaS SaaS 2009 (Actual) 9% 5% 21% 2010 (Actual)* 14% 8% 2011 (Actual) 17% 11% 2012 (Planning to implement in the next 12 months) 25% 30% 45% (Planning to implement in a year or more) 29% 41% 19% 32% 60% Base: 1,900 to 2,438 software decision-makers Source: Enterprise And SMB Software Survey, North America And Europe, Q *Source: Forrsights Software Survey, Q Source: Forrsights Software Survey, Q Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Why Have Contact Center Applications Moved More Slowly To The Cloud? Enterprises running contact centers have been slower to adopt cloud computing. In fact, many decision-makers have shown greater future interest in options such as managed services rather than pure SaaS (see Figure 2). A number of key differences exist between real-time contact center queuing and routing applications and the more typical SaaS offerings of customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and . Contact center applications have longer life cycles. The start of the automatic call distributor (ACD) software market was tied to proprietary hardware and matched the product life cycles of traditional PBX systems. The life cycles for these products have spanned 10 to 15 years between
5 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 4 major architectural changes, resulting in both the supplier side and buyer side of these markets remaining comfortably locked into these longer timeframes. In a recent inquiry with a client managing a very large, multisite contact center with 10,000 agent positions, they told us that they were still running on Rockwell Galaxy systems that date back to the 1980s. While this is an extreme example, it shows that many contact center decision-makers still struggle with deciding to make the move to VoIP. Conservative contact center managers resist change. Contact center managers depend on the performance of their contact center applications to meet their service levels. For this reason, they need a strong justification to disrupt their operation with new technology. Many contact center managers who operate at a single site see limited value in the migration to voice over IP (VoIP) and will only do so when a vendor declares the existing application s end of life. The larger benefits for single site deployments are the consolidation of a number of best-of-breed components into a more integrated suite and the alignment of technology costs with a usagebased model. The cost savings from the move to VoIP are clearer for multisite contact centers that can offload carrier services onto their internal MPLS network. Voice transport requires real-time reliability. While decision-makers want good response times from a SaaS service, their requirements for voice quality and reliability exceed those of a CRM or ERP application. Carrier networks and contact center SaaS providers have been capable of supporting real-time reliable voice for a long time, but the on-premises equipment bias in the market has been very strong and is only now beginning to erode. Integrating disparate components with a SaaS environment presents challenges. Large contact centers today have a number of disparate applications (e.g., automatic call distributor, CTI software, interactive voice response [IVR], workforce management, and quality monitoring) that were designed with a best-of-breed approach. For these enterprises, the move to a SaaS application would require them to either integrate with on-premises applications or strand a number of them before they are fully depreciated.
6 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 5 Figure 2 Future Contact Center Deployment Models In the future, which types of deployment models do you think your firm will be interested in using for contact center(s), whether you use it today or not? (Select all that apply) Self-managed (we manage it ourselves) 66% 60% Managed services (on-premises) 19% 35% Hosted (third party, dedicated) As-a-service (third party, shared) Outsourced 15% 12% 16% 21% 23% 18% 2010* 2011 Don t know 4% 1% Base: 293 (2010) and 304 (2011) North American and European network and telecommunication decision-makers (multiple responses accepted) *Source: Enterprise And SMB Networks And Telecommunications Survey, North America And Europe, Q Source: Forrsights Networks And Telecommunications Survey, Q Source: Forrester Research, Inc. It s time to let go and consider your cloud contact center Options Today, a large percentage of Forrester s inquiries with application development and delivery professionals defining their contact center road map start out with the question of what SaaS options exist. CIOs and CFOs often weigh in on driving the IT service catalog to SaaS because of its perceived or real benefits, and the contact center is not immune to that pressure. While our data still shows SaaS as a less preferred option, the current emphasis of mainstream vendors such as Cisco Systems, Genesys, and Interactive Intelligence highlights the growing importance of cloud in the call center. The Imminent End Of Life Of Circuit-Switched ACDs Triggers Change Time division multiplexing (TDM)-based ACDs began replacing analog systems back in the 1980s. Scalability, reliability, and functionality were the hallmarks of this architecture, but after a run of more than 25 years, this technology is nearing its end (see Figure 3). ACD software forms the core
7 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 6 of a contact center, and its replacement has a ripple effect on the rest of the call center s applications. Enterprises must consider a number of factors in their move from TDM to VoIP and why this can be a good point at which to move to a cloud configuration. Multisite contact centers can cut costs when moving to VoIP. Enterprises have utilized a combination of carrier services along with TDM-based ACD software systems to queue and route calls across multiple geographic locations. Large enterprises use Cisco s ICM package to monitor a network of ACDs so that each location can be viewed as part of a virtual contact center. While this architecture had a positive return on investment (ROI) for large enterprises, its complexity makes it a difficult environment to manage call routing rules. A number of these large enterprises are now looking to collapse and consolidate these architectures into private cloud configurations, largely justified by a simpler architecture and the offloading of carrier services onto their MPLS WAN. Some enterprises will choose to manage this private cloud on their own, while others will choose hosted service from carriers like AT&T and Verizon or outsourcers like Convergys, TeleTech, and West. The end is near for TDM hardware. The actual TDM hardware that supports network connections is the key element along with the agent desktop phones that enterprises have to deal with. Avaya/Nortel preserved its ACD software in moving to VoIP, thus providing some level of investment protection. But at this juncture, it could make sense for the enterprise to consider a cloud-based offering as the next step in moving its contact center forward. Some vendors cloud offerings, such as those from Interactive Intelligence, can provide a more graceful migration path that leverages existing TDM hardware and phones until they can be gradually replaced. Figure 3 The Long Life Cycle Of TDM Systems Is Finally Coming To An End Global PBX systems shipments 600, , , ,000 Total IP* Source: vendor shipment data, January 2012 *Note: IP = IP-based PBX systems; TDM = TDM-based PBX systems , ,000 0 TDM* Source: Forrester Research, Inc.
8 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 7 Cloud Contact Centers Help Drive Suite Configurations Instead Of Best-Of-Breed The individual applications that make up a typical contact center have matured, and the move is to more integrated suites instead of best-of-breed components. 1 The supply side of the market has aligned with this trend through numerous mergers, acquisitions, and consolidation. The move of these suites to the cloud is the next logical step in market evolution; it will help enterprises achieve a higher level of agility instead of the much touted benefit of converting from capex to opex financial models (see Figure 4). Additional benefits of the suite approach include: Reducing the integration points of pain in contact centers. Maintaining the entire set of contact center applications requires ongoing regression and interoperability testing. Many enterprises today look to reduce these costs by moving to suites and, potentially, to the cloud. Modifying business rules in a more timely fashion and at a lower cost. With fewer custom integrations to worry about, delivery teams can more easily design and implement contact queuing and routing changes in response to business needs. In the past, contact center managers have avoided making some business rule changes due to complexity and cost, choosing to simply manage within the status quo. Incremental refinements to better optimize the customer experience are now possible because they are less time-consuming and costly to make. Simplifying operational reporting. Historically, each contact center application has had its own set of reports to track contact center performance and customer experience metrics. This results in many different sources of the truth, and a lot of analysis time is devoted to resolving reporting differences. Today s contact center suites have a more integrated set of reports and eliminate the confusion and reporting overlap. Transferring suite ownership and burden to the cloud provider. The advantage of engaging a cloud contact center provider is that even if its suite is still some combination of individual components, the provider takes on the expense of upgrading, testing, and maintaining all the piece parts. Freeing scarce solution resources to focus on business needs. Instead of spending substantial amounts of time managing, maintaining, and upgrading a diverse set of applications, application development and delivery leaders and teams using cloud options can shift their time to more deeply engage business leads and contact center managers. Moving to a cloud contact center can free up solution architect and business analyst time to go deeper into tuning the contact center application for improved customer experience and cost reductions.
9 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 8 Figure 4 Enterprises Rate Agility Higher Than Cost Savings As A Benefit Of Cloud Computing How important were the following benefits in your firm s decision to use SaaS? (4 or 5 on a scale of 1 [not an important factor at all] to 5 [very important factor]) Lower overall cost Improve business agility 71% 61% 60% 58% 72% 32% 2009 (N = 287) 2010* (N = 534) 2011 (N = 920) 2009 (N = 287) 2010* (N = 534) 2011 (N = 920) Base: North American and European software decision-makers who are using or planning to use SaaS Source: Enterprise And SMB Software Survey, North America And Europe, Q *Source: Forrsights Software Survey, Q Source: Forrsights Software Survey, Q Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Make Proper Choices For Cloud Contact Center Support Instead Of Following The Hype The time to consider cloud contact centers is now, but it should be done via careful analysis of requirements, not hype. In some cases, as we have seen through our research, a rush based on hype can lead to disastrous results. In one case, the CRM team, heavily influenced by the CIO, made the cloud contact center decision with no consideration for the real-time voice reliability that the contact center needed. The team assumed that its choice of a CRM SaaS solution meant that the contact center applications would move to the cloud as well and align with its CRM system. It believed that the top attribute was out-of-the-box integration between the CRM and contact center applications. The team failed to do due diligence for its real-time reliability and failover needs and approaches, ultimately contributing to numerous extended outages that were very costly for a 300- agent contact center. When considering the move to cloud contact centers, application development and delivery leaders need to consider the following: Dedicate solution architecture support. Without domain-specific architecture expertise in place for your call center efforts, you risk making decisions that don t reflect the full context of your call center environment. Solution architects focused on your call center environment can help you navigate not only the detailed complexities of your call center infrastructure but also options for how best to support its various business processes. Enterprises that lack this expertise should engage outside professional services to conduct a comprehensive road map review and design.
10 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 9 Assess your current investments. Leverage your solution architects to evaluate the current state of your contact center applications. The aforementioned transition to VoIP can be one trigger, but it may simply be a case of it being too expensive to maintain the current set of best-of-breed applications. In and of itself, this analysis will not necessarily lead to a cloud-based solution, but it is a key step to understanding whether or not it is time to migrate. Align contact center traffic profiles with a consumption model. Work with the contact center operations team to get a solid profile of historical and future traffic trends, including new channels such as , web, and chat. The more this traffic profile varies, the more a cloud consumption model can align application costs with utilization, allowing you to take advantage of variable usage charges based on volume flow and avoid fixed hardware and software costs. Assess the rent versus buy economics. Today, the market has largely moved on from the initial hype that cloud computing is cheaper. Each enterprise is different, so evaluate the run state costs of an on-premises-based contact center compared with cloud-based options. Many ROI models today look only three years into the future, despite the fact that contact centers tend to have much longer architecture life cycles (as stated earlier). Keep in mind that while a cloud option may be more expensive, the tradeoff for greater agility may be worth it. Consult risk and compliance teams. Contact center applications like IVR process customer data, including credit card transactions. Quality monitoring systems record customer conversations so that they include their information in audio format. In the past, risk and compliance teams generally resisted cloud computing, but today they are more adept at evaluating whether or not they meet enterprise requirements. Consider transformation versus migration. Any contact center technology migration brings disruption to day-to-day operations, and a move to the cloud is no different. For many enterprises, the move to a cloud-based suite will help them better manage multichannel interactions, enable them to respond more rapidly to changing business conditions, and will allow for easier root-cause analysis that will lead to customer support process improvements. These benefits could come from an on-premises suite, but the cloud option frees up IT and contact center operations staff to help drive these transformational opportunities. can contact center vendors make the leap to the cloud? We know SaaS can disrupt existing software markets. Google has been able to penetrate the corporate market, stealing share from Microsoft and IBM. For CRM applications, salesforce. com has attacked the stronghold established many years ago by Siebel/Oracle. While it s still too early to project what impact Microsoft s acquisition of Skype will have on the enterprise unified communications market, the implications are sufficiently strong that Cisco has lodged a complaint with the European Union over video standards against Skype. These general trends toward SaaS lay the groundwork for the contact center market to move to the cloud.
11 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 10 Choose Carefully Among A Diverse Set Of Cloud Contact Center Players On-premises-based contact center software vendors have dominated this market since its early inception, but new pure-play SaaS vendors can disrupt this market. Application development and delivery professionals must understand the different types of vendors and their market position and not just choose based on price and functionality. Established vendors must deal with product and business model complexities... Aspect Software, Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, and Interactive Intelligence dominate the mid-size to large contact center market. The shift to SaaS requires significant changes to their products, channels, and business model, and they ve been slow to embrace it. They have to re-engineer their software to support multitenancy and/or virtualization to drive larger scale. In addition, they need to add streamlined management and provisioning capabilities. But they alone don t have to shift their products. These vendors rely heavily on well-established, traditional reseller channels that today depend on reselling hardware and software. SaaS introduces disruption to this business model.... resulting in varied approaches to SaaS. Genesys has supported SaaS for a long time but has had limited market penetration. Cisco is driving a formal SaaS program with its Hosted Collaboration Solution and is developing channel relationships with carriers that incent their sales force to introduce the carrier SaaS solution. Interactive Intelligence has taken advantage of the transition to SaaS to position itself as the most flexible provider, offering the same software as premise-based, SaaS, or hybrid configurations that can protect legacy infrastructure. Aspect and Avaya generally offer private hosted configurations on more of an exception basis. Pure-play SaaS vendors feel their time has arrived. Echopass, 8x8, Five9 incontact, LiveOps, and Volt Delta Resources solely focus on SaaS contact centers; in many cases, they have survived by selling to smaller contact centers (100 agents or fewer) over the past eight years. In most cases, they have developed their own fully multitenant software suites and today have added multichannel, outbound, and workforce optimization options. We increasingly see these vendors actively pursuing larger-scale opportunities as enterprises become more comfortable with the scalability and reliability of their offerings. LiveOps is unique in that it also operates as a contact center outsourcer, placing a lot of emphasis though on its SaaS solution. Carriers mix white-label and premise-based vendor branding. AT&T and Verizon work with Cisco but will also offer dedicated hosted Avaya and Genesys solutions. In addition, they work with companies like BroadSoft for a more white label offering that carries only their own brand. CenturyLink works closely with Genesys and has been targeting the mid-market. Contact center outsourcers now look for new markets. The leading contact center outsourcers, such as TeleTech and West, see the hosted and SaaS contact center market as an additional growth market. TeleTech started eight years ago partnering with Avaya and shifted to Cisco two years ago. West partners with Genesys and recently acquired Smoothstone to build out its
12 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 11 SaaS unified communications and contact center offerings. Convergys will also manage a hosted contact center solution, but on more of an exception basis. A challenge for these vendors is to develop a sales force with sufficient focus on SaaS opportunities, as their existing sales forces have largely focused on large outsourcing deals. Recommendations Consider Your Cloud contact center OPtions Cloud contact center options can fit the needs of large-scale enterprises and shouldn t solely be looked at as a solution relegated to smaller firms of 100 agents or fewer. These options can be dedicated, hosted systems, or pure SaaS. Cloud contact centers can offload enterprise resources so that they can devote their energies to better analyzing and optimizing the business rules that drive the customer experience. We predict that this trend will grow and these deployment options will take more market share going forward. Inspect your cloud contact center service provider s technology road map. There may be a temptation to rely on the cloud contact service provider to make the right choices of technology and manage the integrations. From a due diligence perspective, it s important for application development and delivery professionals and your solution architects to understand what components of the service the SaaS provider develops itself and what elements come from a partner. Remember that network connections remain critical. You need solid connections between the provider s data center and your enterprise for any SaaS solution to operate effectively. Voice quality and reliability needs put even greater emphasis on this for your cloud contact center options. Look for support for diverse physical routing and failover and for some larger deployments that require even higher reliability, network failover should span carriers as well. Recognize that integrations won t go away. Cloud contact centers provide the advantage of a more seamlessly integrated suite, but that does not mean that all integrations with the rest of the contact center applications go away. Real-time data captured from customers can populate a CRM application on the agent desktop to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of that interaction. Watch your channel relationship. In the past, the enterprise may have used a value-added reseller (VAR) or systems integrator (SI) for plan, build, and run support of their contact center application. As cloud contact centers disrupt the business model of premise-based hardware and software resellers and support service providers, you must evaluate their own ability to support your move to the cloud. In some cases, the move to a cloud contact center may eliminate the needs for a VAR or SI relationship altogether. Assess disaster recovery and failover capabilities. Contact center managers historical expectations of highly reliable voice systems (five 9s uptime) will not go away. Cloud contact centers need to deploy active-active configurations that can failover not only in the same data
13 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 12 center but to a different center as well. Some cloud contact center vendors offer duplicate data center failover as an option while for others it is bundled into their standard pricing. Include sourcing experience with SaaS contracts. Cloud contact center pricing models are new for almost all enterprises, but experience with other SaaS applications will help speed the effectiveness of contract negotiation. The key difference from applications like CRM or ERP is the shift from a fixed price per month per named user to a consumption-based model based on a peak per month of agent logins. It is important to understand how the cloud contact center contract will frame the pricing based on expected capacities and what happens when those volumes are either exceeded or not met. Ensure risk and compliance teams assess the cloud contact center service. IVR applications capture customer information, and quality monitoring systems record their conversations. The rest of the real-time contact center applications are operational data that do not involve actual customer information. Risk and compliance teams need to audit and approve the cloud contact center service providers security procedures and technology to best manage the enterprise s exposure. Understand the back end exit plan for a cloud contact center contract. In the case that the cloud contact center contract terminates, what contractual obligations and procedures exist for migrating data off the service? In the case of cloud contact centers, this typically would involve historical operational data needed for forecasting and scheduling as well as any archived customer interaction data that resides on the quality monitoring system. Supplemental MATERIAL Methodology Forrester s Forrsights Networks And Telecommunications Survey, Q was fielded to 2,314 North American and European network and telecommunication decision-makers from SMB and enterprise companies with two or more employees. This survey is part of Forrester s Forrsights for Business Technology and was fielded during February 2011 and March LinkedIn Research Network fielded this survey online on behalf of Forrester. Survey respondent incentives included a choice of gift certificates and charitable donations. We have provided exact sample sizes in this report on a question-by-question basis. Forrester s Forrsights for Business Technology fields 10 business-to-business technology studies in 12 countries each calendar year. For quality control, we carefully screen respondents according to job title and function. Forrester s Forrsights for Business Technology ensures that the final survey population contains only those with significant involvement in the planning, funding, and purchasing of IT products and services. Additionally, we set quotas for company size (number of employees) and industry as a means of controlling the data distribution and establishing alignment with IT spend calculated by Forrester analysts.
14 Is It Time To Move Your Contact Center To The Cloud? 13 We have illustrated only a portion of survey results in this document. For access to the full data results, please contact Companies Interviewed For This Report 8x8 Aspect Software AT&T CenturyLink Cisco Systems Interactive Intelligence LiveOps Telus Communications Verizon Volt Delta Resources incontact Endnotes 1 Navigating the complex contact center solution landscape continues to be challenging, particularly in light of the rapid rise of social computing, mobility, and voice of the customer initiatives once the purview of marketing and PR departments now moving into the contact center. But all is not lost. By selecting the right technologies to invest in, customer service professionals can take the right steps to balance customer satisfaction at a cost that makes sense, without taking unnecessary risk. See the August 29, 2011, TechRadar For Business Process Professionals: Contact Center Solutions, Q report.
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