On-Premise Vs. Cloud-Based Call Centre Software: How to Make the Right Call?
As if call centres weren’t complex enough, there are now decisions that need to be made about cloud-based call centre software solutions or an ‘on-premise’ solution.
There are various phone systems in the market; it can be tough to understand each system.
Chances are though if you are new to contact centres you’ve probably never heard of either!
Given the call centre platform is literally the ‘heart’ of the contact centre, making the right selection is clearly a fairly important decision…
The good news though is that this article is written to help highlight the differences between an on-premise or a cloud-based call centre software solution.
Firstly, what is a Call Centre?
OK, that may seem like a pretty obvious thing but you’d be surprised how many offices with lots of people working on the phones don’t identify as a call centre.
A call centre is essentially an office (or remote work these days) where employees handle inbound and outbound calls to provide customer assistance, enquiries, promote company products, sales, complaints or any general communication with a consumer.
Whether you run a bank, an insurance company or a local carpet cleaning business, you can make use of a dedicated call centre to handle customer complaints, sales enquiries and a whole lot more!
How are On-Premise and Cloud-Based Call Centre Software Different?
By looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the two solutions for your business, you will be able to make an informed decision about what’s best for your call centre.
On-Premise Call Centre
An on-premise call centre is also known as an on-site call centre.
It is a configuration that requires the business to house the infrastructure, including the software and hardware.
As for the communication servers, they can take up different forms like IP or PBX.
Under the on-premise system, the IT team would deal with the installation, upkeep, and maintenance.
Therefore, everything would be handled internally.
You typically require an IT team to manage any on-premise call centre software or have a great partnership with a call centre technology supplier.
Cloud-Based Call Centre Solution
Unlike an on-premise call centre where the IT team would be responsible for everything, a cloud-based solution is hosted offsite; it is virtually hosted on network servers (the cloud) with the help of a third-party (i.e., phone service).
This would allow users to access the telephone services using an app from their smartphones and/or computers.
For a cloud call centre solution to work, an internet connection with adequate bandwidth is necessary.
It should be able to accommodate all the users and other internet activities.
This is particularly important if a call centre worker is working from home.
As the call centre or business data is in the cloud, it eliminates the need to rely on a physical server.
On-Premise Vs. Cloud-Based Call Centre Solution
The comparison between the two options will help break things down for you.
1. Installation Time
The first difference that you need to consider is the installation time.
It can take a few months to implement an on-premise call centre.
You will need to purchase the right hardware, establish an infrastructure, get the licensing, and find compatible software.
On the other hand, it is a lot easier to establish cloud call centre software.
All you will need to do is download an app to your phone or access the right browser on your desktop computer and it will start working.
It’s actually possible to be up and running with a cloud-based call centre solution in minutes!
Next, you need to know more about the cost involved.
An on-premise call centre tends to be very expensive to set up, especially if you have a small or midsize business.
Purchasing the hardware, getting the licensing, and making necessary arrangements to ensure that the office space can accommodate the infrastructure is not easy.
It is also important to take recurring operational costs into account such as the IT team, server maintenance, security of the server room and so on.
Remember how you normally replace your desktop computer every 3 years or so?
Well, keep in mind that on-premise installations also have to be replaced after 5 to 7 years and that can be an expensive exercise.
As for the cloud call centre software, there is no investment required for setting up the infrastructure.
The only thing you need is good internet.
Thus, your focus would be on ensuring the stable configuration of all the routers to ensure your internet connection remains strong.
If there is insufficient bandwidth, the call centre may experience an overload and this can result in a drop in call quality.
This can take the form of delays, echoes or making it difficult for either the agent or customer to be heard clearly.
Most cloud-based call centre software solutions work on a per agent, per month commercial model that enables you to easily scale up and down to suit your business requirements.
More recently, new players such as Amazon Connect work on a per-minute basis.
Once you have installed the on-site call centre, adjustments can be difficult to make.
Adding new agents to the team can require the purchase of additional hardware and input from other teams (e.g. your IT team) to be able to add new agents, make changes to the queue messaging etc.
And because with an on-premise solution the telephone handset is physically connected to the computer (typically via Cat5 cables) it makes home/remote work difficult.
A great advantage of a cloud call centre solution is that it is super easy to customize, manage, and scale.
The addition of users or removal of users would be similar to the management of a Netflix account – easy!
There would be no need for extra hardware, and the monthly billing would increase/decrease to reflect the changes made.
With cloud-based call centre software solutions it’s also easy to add on advanced call centre features such as call recording, call analytics, skilled-based routing etc without the need for any additional hardware.
It’s quite often as simple as just ticking a box on an order form and paying some additional costs each month per user.
Finally, you also need to consider reliability.
Most businesses believe that on-premise call centres can help them avoid poor quality calls or latency.
And that’s true albeit it’s nothing that a strong internet connection cannot fix.
A reliance on hardware can also prove to be a weakness.
Let’s face it, when there are lots of servers, handsets and so on involved it’s not uncommon for something to go wrong.
The truth is there is a risk to both models and it’s about deciding what risk there is to your business if the call centre was offline.
Having a robust Business Continuity Plan (BCP) will ensure that if something does go wrong, you’ll be prepared no matter what.
One final point though on reliability, with a cloud-based call centre solution maintaining version numbers is typically managed by your software company ensuring you stay up to date with the latest technology and features.
Often with on-premise call centre systems the updates are far less frequent due to the maintenance and licencing costs.
Takeaway – Choose the Best Call Centre Software and Make the Call
Now that you know everything about on-site and cloud-based call centre software, we trust you’re in a better position to make the best choice.
As you’ve probably identified, we’d recommend a cloud-based call centre software solution for small to medium call centres.
There a now hundreds of large call centres using cloud solutions as well (many with thousands of seats) with the decision on which was is better a lot harder to decide.
If you need some help finding the right vendors, the links below will be helpful:
- Search: An industry list of Cloud-based call centre software suppliers
- Search: An industry list of contact centre technology vendors
- Read: 7 Benefits of using cloud technology in your call centre
- Contact Us: We are happy to offer some free advice on selecting the right technology/vendor for your call centre.