The drive towards hosted software is catching up with call centre business as companies increasingly turn to the cloud to move forward.
According to a survey of company CEOs carried out by Interactive Intelligence, 64 of businesses are already deploying hosted software or are planning to deploy it in the next five years.
"There's a move towards communications as a service," said Dave Paulding regional sales director of Interactive Intelligence, "just as there is towards other forms of software as a service. We offer both on-premise and hosted software but customers are increasingly attracted to cloud deployment."
He said that while CaaS sounded a bit like the old-style Centrex deployment there was a crucial difference. "Centrex was about delivering dialtone to an organisation while CaaS is about delivering a host of other applications.
There are a variety of factors driving businesses to host comms systems in the cloud said Paulding. The survey showed that the main reason was flexibility and the speed with which organisations could deploy new functionality but there were also financial reasons too. "Companies like shifting everything to opex rather than capex," said Paulding, " and they also like the way that cloud deployment could free up IT staff resources."
There's still some way to go, however. The Interactive Intelligence survey revealed that 36 percent of companies with contact centres have no plans to deploy cloud technology. "In some cases, it's because they have made investments in traditional telecoms technology that won't be financially written off for a number of years, but there's also a lack of awareness about cloud technology itself."
The biggest inhibitor preventing businesses adopting cloud technology was security said the survey, with 44 percent of respondents claiming that this was the major factor, just ahead of the lack of control.
But said Paulding, he expected to see some change, particularly among smaller a businesses. " A lot of people haven't got into call centres yet and are using traditional telephony. The cloud will make it possible for them to create a contact centre and allow them to innovate in their business. Over the next five years, we'll see more people innovate around that," he said.
And this change will be reflected in the growth of Interactive Intelligence cloud business, he added. "At the moment about 33 percent of our business is in the cloud, I'd expect that to be approaching 50 percent this time next year," he said.