The debate is on in the industry if contact center applications are ready for the hosted model. Is the technology mature enough? Are the price points favourable? Which applications will make the most sense, and what are the key drivers for this shift? Frost & Sullivan’s latest research helps address some of these topical issues.
We are very bullish on the fact that the future is clearly hosted for this industry. The Asia Pacific market for hosted contact center services which was worth about US$300 million is expected to see a CAGR of 14 percent over the next five years to reach US$700 million by 2020. The biggest growth and earliest adoption is from the overflow segment¹. As contact centres expand, hosted is the best way forward.
The key drivers for this growth include:
- increased availability of a robust network and communications infrastructure. This is clearly explained by the fact that Australia and New Zealand accounts for almost half the total revenues in the Asia Pacific region.
- pricing and packaging has improved dramatically and this has helped companies see the benefit in using a scalable, opex model for their business. Scalability in particular is a key consideration for companies with aggressive growth plans but wanting a hedge over economic uncertainty.
- flexibility to add new applications especially social media, multi-channel capabilities and stay at the cutting edge of technology adoption;
In terms of applications the basic functions such as routing and CTI are the most common hosting applications since are they central to a basic hosted contact center deployment. ACD and CTI will remain the largest contributors to revenue by application over the forecast period.
The banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI), outsourcing and government sectors continue to lead in the adoption of hosted contact center solutions as large deals arise from these verticals. Nevertheless, as more small and medium seat centres are being targeted by service providers, newer verticals are emerging like hospitality, retail/e-commerce, logistics, and manufacturing.
There are also some challenges that continue to slow down the market. Network infrastructure is not as developed in the emerging economies like ASEAN.
Perceived lack of network security and customer data privacy issues continue to be concerns for end-users especially in verticals such in the financial services and healthcare verticals. These concerns will abate over time. With less than 10 percent penetration for hosted now, we have a great opportunity for growth.
1. Overflow segment refers to scenarios when call volumes peak beyond a level that can be serviced in a particular centre, calls can be redirected to other centres with which they have overflow agreements. Calls can be routed based on various criteria such as a predetermined percentage allocation to each office.