Software Suites Will Dominate Europe's Call Center Market

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1 Market Analysis Software Suites Will Dominate Europe's Call Center Market Abstract: By 2006, sales of IP-based call centers in Europe will exceed those of TDM systems, but adoption of independent server-based software solutions will dominate. To compete, vendors must make essential portfolio changes. By Terry Wright Strategic Market Statement Strategic Business Imperative: Users must make adequate use of networking within their call center acquisition strategy, or risk severely undermining their return on investment (ROI). Strategic Planning Assumptions Through 2006, switching solutions based on time division multiplexing (TDM) and enabled with Internet Protocol (IP) will compete with IP-based router platforms. From 2007, sales of adjunct software suite solutions will begin to dominate (0.8 probability). By 2008, traditional call center manufacturers, such as Avaya, Alcatel, Nortel and Siemens, will have announced their intention to discontinue development and support for their TDM-based call centers within five years (0.8 probability). Recommendations Through 2010, users will gradually exchange their TDM infrastructure for IP-based systems. Manufacturers must be able to offer a migration strategy from TDM to IP to retain customers. To reduce their cost base, manufacturers must cease support of TDM platforms by Users want closer interoperability between their communications infrastructure and business applications. Manufacturers must integrate leading CRM software and add software licensing to their infrastructure supply business. To free call queuing from a dependency on proprietary physical infrastructure in hybrid (TDM and IP) networking environments, manufacturers should offer softswitch capabilities within their call center software suites. Publication Date:11 June 2003

2 2 Software Suites Will Dominate Europe's Call Center Market Overview For the past 20 years, call centers have been supported on proprietary hardware and software platforms. These were sourced from either a call center specialist or PBX manufacturers that added call center routing and management capabilities to their core software. In both cases, call center solutions were provided as a bundled software and hardware offering with the core switching fabric being circuitswitched TDM. Alternatively, the call control software and associated management system could have been provided on an adjunct server. An application program interface (API) would have been used to achieve the required interconnectivity between the "telephony" switching platform and the computer server hosting the call routing and call management functions. By the mid 1990s with some key switching APIs becoming accepted as industry standards the market for adjunct server-based software solutions enabled by computer telephony integration (CTI) was established. Call control and related management reporting had the potential of becoming an "off-switch" function, although the underlying proprietary infrastructure remained reliant on telephony networking standards to achieve multi-site networking (see Figure 1). Figure 1 Call Center Architecture Migration, Interoperability Infrastructure independence Broadband switched Ethernet IP telephony Softswitch, UQM and HCM Adjunct servers CRM connectors Digital PBX CTI adjuncts Call centers Automatic call distribution TDM systems IPNS networking proprietary software IP networks LAN and WAN proprietary software CRM = customer relationship management CTI = computer telephony integration HCM = holistic contact management IP = Internet Protocol IPNS = ISDN PBX Networking Specification Forum ISDN = Integrated Services Digital Network PBX = private branch exchange TDM = time division multiplexing UQM = universal queue management Source: Gartner Dataquest (May 2003) The market for LAN infrastructure was also changing rapidly, in parallel with the software revolution in the PBX and call center environment. Switched Ethernet began to dominate as the standard technique for reaching the desktop where the

3 PC had finally become as ubiquitous as the telephone. Increases in the PC processing power and the throughput of LAN switches and routers, meant that, with associated cable form upgrades, it became feasible to have a single, converged network supporting both voice and data media transmission in the office. A focus on the application development of distributed networks and open systems has led to traditional PBX and call center infrastructure manufacturers bringing their proprietary software in line with industry-standard operating systems. This has accelerated the movement toward communications software and associated management systems becoming independent from hardware. Before 1999, all underlying physical architectures were on circuit-switched TDM platforms, with call queuing held by the TDM switch. This was regardless of whether they were for specialist call centers, PBX core software upgrades or CTIbased solutions. By 1999, standardized IP was the dominant protocol for end-to-end communications over LAN and WAN. Many traditional, "data only" infrastructure vendors began to offer voice transmission using IP and telephony call routing features as part of their portfolios. The arrival of convergent voice and data systems based on IP, highlights the need for: Management of communications in all media. The introduction of a universal queue management system. Communications software and management systems to be independent from the underlying TDM, IP or hybrid network infrastructure. The final piece in the architecture migration puzzle will be removal of the dependency on infrastructure for call queuing. This may lead to the expansion of established call center management software into more holistic contact management (HCM) solutions. These would be targeted at managing all of an enterprise's communications not just those of specialist call center workgroups. Enterprise communication software suites are likely to become more closely integrated within specific areas of operational workgroup activity, following the acquisition of customer relationship management (CRM) best-of-breed solutions. The openness and interoperability between communication software suites could become a legacy system migration issue. The possibility of moving to a software suite and a communications management market based on a software licensing model, rather than system purchase promises a different and more openly competitive landscape for the next decade. 3 IP Infrastructure Transition Eclipsed by Adjunct Software Suites With IP and CTI as key technology enablers, the market looks set to fulfill the promise of integrated, open multimedia solutions. Manufacturers are anticipating the development of a hybrid networking environment with a mix of IP and TDM, but increasingly dominated by IP. To free call queuing from a dependency on proprietary physical infrastructure in hybrid networking environments, manufacturers are beginning to offer softswitch capabilities within their call center software suites.

4 4 Software Suites Will Dominate Europe's Call Center Market While a general migration from TDM to IP gathers pace, the market through 2010 will be characterized by the growing independence of communications software from the physical infrastructure. Figure 2 plots the trends from traditional circuit-switched TDM-based call centers and adjunct server or software suite solutions (associated with TDM infrastructure) to those based on, or associated with, an IP infrastructure. Figure 2 Call Center Shipments Western Europe, ,000 8,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 System Shipments "Pureplay" IP Traditional TDM Adjunct Software Suite Source: Gartner Dataquest (May 2003) Figure 2 highlights three lines of forecast analysis: Traditional TDM call center solution comprising software bundled with TDM hardware. 'Pureplay IP' call center solution comprising software bundled with IP hardware. Adjunct software suite call center solution enabled through the addition of servers and software to TDM or IP infrastructures. From 2002, sales of traditional TDM and adjunct solutions associated with TDM infrastructure were joined by initial sales of IP solutions notably those from Cisco Systems. To 2007, sales of TDM-based products (although IP-enabled) will co-exist with an increasingly large volume of IP-based systems. By 2006, there will be more pure play, IP-based call center shipments than traditional TDM (0.8 probability). Manufacturers will also target sales of adjunct servers and software. Manufacturers like Genesys that were originally active in the adjunct server and software sector have been joined by others such as Altitude Software, Apropos, Aspect, Concerto, Cosmocom, Interactive Intelligence and Rockwell. The list continues to grow as traditional call center switch manufacturers such as Alcatel, Avaya, Nortel and Siemens also begin to offer adjunct solutions.

5 5 Recommendations By the end of 2007, the major PBX and call center switch manufacturers such as Avaya, Alcatel, Nortel, and Siemens will have ceased development on, and will announce their intention to discontinue support for, their TDM-based call centers within five years (0.8 probability). A significant second-hand market may evolve. However, spare parts and ongoing support for residual TDM legacy systems will become increasingly expensive as will any additional custom integration activity. A residual, but declining, TDM systems niche will remain beyond Through 2007, the key system architecture trends will be: An increase in IP infrastructure-based systems, permitting desktop-to-desktop operational management of a common, converged voice or data transmission infrastructure. A growing trend toward distributed systems and remote agent working. The creation of HCM solutions for the entire enterprise, not just the call center resources. Initial product offerings, notably from Avaya and Siemens, have been derived from the experience of developing multi-site, virtual call center solutions. An increasing independence of communications management software from underlying infrastructure. Call center communication software suite sales are already becoming independent from circuit-switched TDM or IP routing infrastructure. TheextendeduseofCTIsandAPIsformorerapiddeployment,atreducedcosts, of CRM contact-management solutions through pre-integration with the CRM application. The gradual integration of resource analytics, quality monitoring and workforce management tools with call center analytics within an overall corporate performance management system. A more dynamic call center resource allocation will leverage available staff and technology resources according to business rules. The independence of call-control software from physical infrastructure and its transition to IP will transform today's call center solutions into the HCM solutions of the next decade. This will have ramifications for the whole enterprise in the management of communication resources, where all desktops, not just specialist call center workgroups, will be part of a more integrated communications management platform. To address the market that will evolve for such solutions, vendors must adopt a strategy that: Examines the overall migration from circuit-switched to IP infrastructure. Engages in the development of multi-channel, call center software suite solutions. Enables partners to offer their "comms" suite capabilities as an integrated commodity within CRM point solutions. During 2003, manufacturers will be faced with immediate challenges: Preserving the installed base during the system replacement and upgrade cycle will become critical to survival in the transition from circuit-switched TDM to IP infrastructures. Creation of a brand associated with the provision of resilient, scalable solutions with quality service support will be vital for success. Existing brand image, may be reinforced though linked branding with software and service competencies

6 6 Software Suites Will Dominate Europe's Call Center Market in key verticals, geographies and customer-facing operations such as help desk, customer service, sales and marketing, credit control and Web self-service. The most successful vendors will be those that learn to operate indirectly through strategic, yet non-exclusive, partnerships with major software integrators and managed-service providers. Indirect channel development and retention of channels for infrastructure supply. Manufacturers must accept that some elements of higher-margin business, such as services, will be passed to their channel partners. In the longer term, but certainly by 2006, vendors of call center-enabled CRM solutions must have entered the market for more holistic, enterprisewide, contactmanagement solutions. Users adopting this approach to communications and contact management will be treating all desktops throughout the enterprise as configurable, "task handling" resources. Having such an organizational capability may even become part of a next-generation quality control (ISO 9000) requirement. All manufacturers, while maintaining their business interests in the supply of call center infrastructure, will be attracted to the added value of associated services provisioning and custom systems integration. By 2010, some will have become contact management solution specialists and will have call center and desktop resourcing analytics as part of their CRM enabling solutions. They would initially extend established call centers, but ultimately they would add-value by extending the desktop resource management throughout the enterprise. Most manufacturers will remain focused on infrastructure supply and will not become key vendors of contact management software within the domain of CRM solutions. With too many vendors chasing high-volume but low-margin business, most will also fail to become major IP infrastructure providers. Those that do succeed will still be faced with the continuance of near zero margin business from IP equipment supply. They must diversify into the higher-margin business associated with solutions design, implementation and audit services. Bottom Line The movement from TDM to IP is as great an industry shift as analog to digital switching was in the 1970s. But it is the growing independence and reliance on software sales that represents an even greater change and challenge to incumbent system manufacturers and their channels. Key Issues: How do enterprises select and implement communications solutions and how must vendors position themselves to be successful? How are communications applications evolving in the enterprise?

7 7

8 8 Software Suites Will Dominate Europe's Call Center Market This document has been published to the following Marketplace codes: TELC-WW-DP-0264 For More Information... In North America and Latin America: In Europe, the Middle East and Africa: In Asia/Pacific: In Japan: Worldwide via gartner.com: Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended results. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice

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