As organizations undergo digital transformation, the purpose and the nature of call centers is also evolving. Traditionally, call centers were viewed as cost centers. Today they have transitioned to multi-technology, multi-channel contact centers that are focused at providing value and generating more business for the enterprise. (For example: We love how our customers use Dialpad’s call transcription service to turn their call center into a BIG data mining operation that can help understand the customer better and generate leads based on every conversation that happens within an organization). In short, contact centers based on the cloud have become an integral part of organizations’ business processes, and SD-WANs have played a major role in this transition.
A Software-defined Wide Area Network or SD-WAN is a virtual architecture that allows businesses to leverage different combinations of transport services like MPLS, fiber based internet (aka Dedicated Internet Access-DIA), Broadband Internet, fixed wireless, satellite, LTE, 5G, etc. in a secure manner to allow users to connect to software applications that reside in a physical data center or in the cloud. Features like centralized control, enhanced security and application responsiveness have made SD-WANs a ubiquitous part of the modern IT infrastructure.
Data centers, whether run out of a physical office or a virtual cloud, are data and voice intensive operations. They require extensive Internet access, and for this reason enterprises have always looked at using a combination of WAN technologies such as broadband and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). In addition to being an older technology, MPLS is also comparatively more expensive. This is where SD-WANs step in and help solve the primary network challenges faced by every growing contact center business:
Like other IT-based services, contact center users are willing to relocate to a cloud-based service delivery model. Popularly known as Contact Center as a Service or CCaaS, this service delivery model is cost-efficient and reliable, making it an attractive proposition especially for businesses that are not ready to establish a dedicated or in-house contact center for their customers.
Most organizations that choose to consolidate their contact center requirements over the cloud have a wide geographical presence with branch offices and customers spread over different parts of the globe. This is where SD-WANs come into play. While most major cities have reliable internet connectivity, this is not true for every location. Remote and rural areas struggle to provide stable connections, and this can be a nightmare for a contact center environment.
SD-WANs solve this problem effectively as they are carrier agnostic. SD-WANs allows network traffic to flow seamlessly, irrespective of the location the users and customers are connecting from. Organizations can thus get the best of both worlds: they can provide reliable services and they can do so at a reasonable cost.
There is no doubt that the traditional WAN is a secure and reliable means of communication between branches and the data center. However, with business applications transitioning to the cloud, conventional WANs can be highly expensive and inefficient. Cloud-based contact center services are reliable and cost-effective when they are provisioned over the SD-WANs: a combination of service providers can be used and traffic can be steered based on application and pre-set priority. Contact centers can thus reduce the cost of network resources and optimize their utilization.
Security is major concern for businesses considering migration to the cloud. With technologies like SD-WAN, enterprises can rest assured that their data will be secure even when it moves out of the physical office premises and into the cloud:
SD-WANs include robust security capabilities that ensure that network security is maintained in a cloud-based contact center environment.
As an overlay solution, SD-WANs work well with different network configurations connecting the contact center to the cloud. These configurations can include MPLS, broadband, etc. If a particular service becomes unavailable, the SD-WAN can direct network traffic to another service without affecting connectivity. This ensures network uptime and the availability of round-the-clock contact center services.
The following two capabilities of SD-WANs allow them to channelize the contact center traffic in the most optimal manner:
A contact center environment, be it physical or cloud-based, needs to be scalable to handle changing requirements. Solutions based on SD-WANs offer this feature along with added benefits of flexibility and security.
While it may not seem as critical but centralized management can make the configuration of an SD-WAN solution a breeze in comparison to constant touch-up of router settings or the increased dependency on multiple MPLS service providers. Smart SD-WAN solutions for cloud contact centers can lower operational expenditure while simultaneously improving network reliability by fixing any network-related problems in real-time.
SD-WANs work best when they are deployed as an overlay solution on the existing WAN infrastructure of the enterprise. With more and more enterprises moving their business-critical operations and applications on the cloud, this network technology has become the need of the hour. This is apparent in the case of the transformation of physical contact centers to cloud contact centers. Although cloud contact centers are a relatively new element in the digitization journey of global enterprises, they require technologies like SD-WAN to become viable and scalable. As SD-WANs continue to provide increased security and assure real-time network availability, more and more businesses will embrace the modern model of cloud-based contact center services.