Analysis of the Southern Cone Unified Communications and Collaboration Solutions Market: How has the Market Recently Performed?
- Language: English
- 107 Pages
- Published: May 2012
The Latin American contact center applications market reached $508.1 million in 2008, a growth of 11.1 percent when compared to 2007. The first semester of the year presented a healthy growth, but as economies slowed in the fourth quarter, purchase decisions were extended and contact center projects began to slow down.
Key Market Trends:
Migration to IP: The migration to support IP networking in contact centers is in full swing as enterprises continue to converge their voice and data networks. The majority of enterprises are operating on hybrid (part TDM and part IP) networks at this point as the full migration to IP is likely to take several more years. One of the benefits of operating on IP networks is that virtualization of contact centers can be made easier and less costly. A growing number of enterprises ar econsolidating their contact centers into a smaller number of centrally managed centers, which support the remote locations without the need to physically locate the contact center systems at these locations.
Down Economy and Tight Budgets as well as Tight Credit: Many companies, including those which had planned to replace legacy inbound contact routing systems and buy new IP contact center solutions, have placed these plans on hold as the capital budget have been slashed. In addition, the credit crisis is making it very difficult for many companies to borrow money to buy new or expand the existing systems. Additional and higher levels of management approvals are being required for purchase decisions, which are making the decisions more difficult and slowing decision cycles. End-user budget constraints are likely to continue being significant restraints for the sales of ICR systems. This is particularly true for companies, which view their customer service groups and contact centers primarily as cost centers.
Uncertainty Created by UC Movement: Definitions of unified communications (UC) vary greatly. For some enterprises, UC is the latest incarnation of unified messaging and conferencing. For others, UC covers all of their enterprise-wide communications strategies. In addition, business cases for UC, often based on enterprises’ worker productivity improvements, are unclear. To the extent contact center solutions are included in an enterprise's UC planning this uncertainty affects those solutions.
Products becoming Commoditized: The shift to more common architectures based on industry standards is making ICR systems more and more similar to each other. Vendors will be challenged to differentiate their systems as this trend continues and the market matures.
Analytics: Contact center agent activity reports are not going away, but there is a growing demand for more sophisticated and real-time analysis tools for contact centers. Operational efficiency is the primary driver for advanced reporting/analysis tools in most contact centers, but some are also interested in finding deeper and more predictive insights into their customers’ behaviors and values. Two issues are restraining the widespread adoption of analytics in contact centers. Firstly, many contact center managers do not have a clear understanding of what analytics can do for them or even a clear view of what they would like analytics to do. Secondly, due to the lack of clarity in demand, it is not surprising that business cases for the use of analytic tools in contact centers are also often unclear.
Widespread Negative User Perceptions of Self-service: Poor self-service application designs are the primary cause. In Regions where personal interactions are highly regarded, such as Latin America, extensive usage of IVR and voice portal systems may be perceived by customers as bad and insensitive treatment from companies who deploy these self-service applications.
Multi-modal Customer Experience Management: As enterprises have offered their customers more channels for interaction (telephone, Web, e-mail, and SMS), the need to coordinate services across these channels for consistency, accuracy of information provided, and management of customer experiences has grown. This challenge will require IVR and voice portal solutions to be more tightly integrated with other customer contact and business applications in order to effectively manage the growing use of multi-modal customer contacts.
Decline in Telemarketing. Governments and agencies in the region have or are considering enacting ‘Do Not Call’ and other legislation-related information privacy and security, which is likely to affect the use of outbound dialer systems for telemarketing. These laws, including the EU Data Protection Directive, are proliferating and being strengthened. The growing tangle of confusing and complicated legal restrictions and penalties and the public‘s dislike for unsolicited calls are making it more and more difficult for telemarketers to successfully run their campaigns.
Reversion to Cost Control: Contact centers remain tactical cost centers in the eyes of mostsenior executives. They are highly labor-intensive and at the same time, dependent on an expensive technology infrastructure. Both require significant ongoing investment. Over the last several years (and notably, in the period since the last major downturn), contact center managers have started to understand the imperative to cast their work as both profit-making and value-creating. Senior executives have long paid lip service to the idea that customer care is a positive value, rather than just a cost to be borne. That lip service has started to become reality, thanks to new tools and metrics that link the contact center with what's going on elsewhere in the enterprise. Executives have started to see the relationship between how customers are handled and how well the company performs. However, this linkage is tenuous at best. Historically, the contact center is one of the first and easiest places to make cost reduction when the economy sours. As we head into what may become a major, long-lasting decline, the progress that the industry has made is clearly at risk. Evidence suggests that there is already a reversion to the traditional stance of using the contact center to contain costs. This implies that even in a downturn, certain aspects of the contact center applications will remain as viable purchases. Contact center applications are not recession-proof, but in some respects it is recession-resistant.
Unclear Business Cases for UC: Business cases for unified communications are unclear. Contact center are also affected by this fact, delaying UC implementations in this industry. To increase adoption, It is important to present success stories related to the contact center, along with ROI and cost-cutting and revenue-generating activities.
Software-only Systems: In addition to migrating to support IP networks and multi-modal customer interactions, contact center architectures are migrating away from proprietary hardware. With the exception of vendors, which always offered software-only solutions such as Genesys, all of the leading vendors have or are shifting to software-only contact center applications. These applications are designed to operate on industry-standard hardware and operating systems.
Social Networking: Peer-to-peer customer support is an emerging trend, particularly in certain industries and among young consumers. Leading enterprises are supporting customer forums, where peer-to-peer interactions can take place in their efforts to at least beaware of these peer-to-peer activities and eventually to build links between them and their formal customer services.
Target Enterprise Customer Evolving: Key inbound contact routing systems’ purchase decision makers are evolving in most enterprises. Where contact center managers, telecommunications managers, and IT managers made these decisions, increasingly tech-saavyline-of-business managers and, in some cases, marketing managers are becoming the key decision makers. SHOW LESS READ MORE >