It wasn't long after Y2K that other business technology journalists and I were writing story after story on the "failure of CRM."Customer relationship management infrastructure of the time generally was a big investment that often didn't meet expectations of enterprises. But then, and much more today, we found that products generally performed as advertised; it was on the strategy, planning and execution side of things where things tended to malfunction.

Now it looks like technology investment as well as good business processes may again be differentiators. An exhaustive survey on contact centers conducted by Ventana Research finds that, in terms of managing contact centers, emerging economies are doing a better job of managing contact centers than counterparts in North America and the U.K. The main reason for this turned out to be fairly simple, according to Richard Snow, VP and research director, contact centers, at Ventana. "The new-world call centers don't have legacy process or technology. They've been able to start from scratch and ask how a call center should be run and what technologies they need to support that." By "new world," Snow isn't only referring to India but also to parts of Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. One technology common to these settings is the use of voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP. "There is no doubt VoIP is the technology of the future for contact centers," says Snow. "In North America and Europe there is legacy technology people can't replace. Yes, they are adopting VoIP in North America, but it's for incremental new seats. They have this technology constraint and also the problem of operating contact centers like this for 10 years."

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