The Achilles Heel of all Cloud Based Call Centers!
The Cloud Call Center Problem Statement!
A very common call center requirement is the ability to route a call based on the DNIS number dialed. This is simple enough when you have only a few DNIS numbers to manage, but consider this application: Consider a central call center that provides centralized appointment scheduling for some 600+ medical offices. The call center agents are required to answer an inbound call with a custom answer greeting that is based on the medical office that cares for that patient. The solution in place today requires the cloud platform to have a unique DNIS for each of 600 medical offices. When a medical office wants to take advantage of services offered by the call center, they call forward their phone to the unique DNIS number on the call center platform assigned to their medical office. On an incoming ring, the call center grabs the DNIS and uses that number to index a connected database to retrieve the name of the medical office and then display it to the agents on call presentation so they can provide the custom answer prompt.
As you might imagine, maintaining and updating both the relative campaign and a database of DNIS numbers is not only a nuisance with many opportunities for an error, it is also not very scalable. The simplest solution is the ability to normalize or change SIP Headers or obtain the RDNIS in a PRI connection. Neither of these is an option in any of the many cloud based solutions we have worked with.
The CPE solution!
In a CPE based solution we can touch the boarder controller of the incoming SIP trunk and see the various headers. In a PRI trunk you could also see not only the CID/ANI but the DNIS and the RDNIS. RDNIS is commonly used in a voice mail system for example, to know the correct mailbox to open so the caller does not hear a main greeting but a custom greeting for the mailbox owner. In either the SIP or PRI environment, we would NOT need 600 DNIS numbers to solve this application. We could see the RDNIS or the FROM SIP header and use that field to look up the correct answer prompt or medical office name in the database. We did a complete tutorial on this SIP header manipulation to achieve this same solution though the application was a bit different.
One for all and all for one?
Another major shortfall with cloud based call centers is that you will find it very hard to make modifications that are unique to your call center. Keep in mind that all the cloud based call centers, with the possible exception of AWS Connect, are solutions that encompass many different clients. The cloud provider can not make a modification for your call center unless it is applicable to all their other clients. Likewise, when they upgrade or add a new feature, you are getting the new feature and the upgrade regardless of your desire to participate!
The Cloud is an amazing resource but it is not a one size fits all. You will need to understand your requirements and how they match to what is generally available from your provider. You should also understand that you will be increasing your WAN connectivity requirements to include advanced options like Software Defined Networks and MPLS, BGP along with bandwidth increases and new firewall challenges that you would not have on a CPE deployment. You will still have phone and video end points, power over ethernet switches, network access credentials, intrusion protection and all of the IT resources you would still have with the Call Center located on site. There are many advantages to the cloud, but make sure you know what you are hitching enterprise with!