First, I’d like to start by saying I hope your day is off to a great start, you’re living this life to its fullest potential, and you are acquiring and retaining customers with your great service!
Unlike our usual Industry Insights, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a personal experience with you. It’s a story about our failed attempt to launch Oracle Contact Center Anywhere (CCA) in our call center via a reseller. By “our”, I’m referring to my previous employer where I served as the Director of Information Services for their contact center prior to launching Fenero.
In January, 2010, one of our clients wanted to bring their agents back in-house but wanted to keep relying on us for the technology. At the time, we were running an on-premise Avaya platform that a) lacked hosting and multi-tentant capabilities and b) was incapable of working with remote agents without a costly investment. As head of the information technology department, it was my responsibility to find a solution so, naturally, I began exploring cloud-based solutions which were still in their infancy at the time. I evaluated Five9 but passed on them primarily due to their cloud-only approach. I felt that we needed to “control” more of our systems and data, and had some doubts regarding security – very common concerns for companies looking to go cloud. They were also receiving pretty bad reviews (there were countless of reports about their instability) and many forum posts with existing customers researching Five9 alternatives.
Enter Promero. I stumbled upon them during my systems research and saw their claim to be “the leading Call Center Software company in the USA”. Although they were misleading in this claim (they are not a call center software company at all, but a reseller) their wholesale per-seat pricing for their on-demand service was very attractive…and the strength of the Oracle brand further lured me in. After all, our clients were mostly Fortune 500 companies that were at ease once they knew we were running an Avaya platform. Oracle, I thought, could be a drop in replacement. We considered using Oracle CCA on premise as well until we received their quote for a 300-agent setup, as shown below:
After several discussions on deployment approaches, license negotiations, and overall system requirements, we selected Oracle CCA via Promero for a six-month pilot. Our client was looking for a 20-seat solution that could work in a hosted environment, so we chose a monthly arrangement at $1,978 a month for 20 concurrent licenses – although we never used more than 14. Of course, we also had to pay separately for our telecommunications service. It was the classical case of paying for what we did not need – an unfortunate but very common issue in our industry.
Fast forwarding to Deployment Day, a few hardware components (servers, gateways) were brought in and configured by Promero staff. Planning and logistics were a little disorganized, but they eventually got the job done. Once we were up and running, I was trained along with two of my staff on the management and administration of the Oracle CCA platform. Having written very complex software in the past, I picked up on the Oracle platform fairly quickly, thinking from a software developer’s perspective as I navigated the system. Our client, however, couldn’t quite figure it out – they eventually passed the baton to us for simple tasks such as creating campaigns or importing leads. The interface seemed simpler than the Avaya and Aspect interfaces I had grown accustomed to and the platform was built entirely in Java…making it not a cloud-based platform, but what we call a Rich Internet Application, or RIA, in the tech world.
After familiarizing ourselves with the platform, we finally launched roughly 60 days after signing the agreement with Promero. The launch was a disaster. It began with emails such as the one below caused by Oracle CCA’s built-in browser wrapper for Internet Explorer:
Followed by one email from the client:
And days later, another:
Which eventually led to the inevitable close only 3 months after going live.
In the end, we failed to deliver a hosted solution for a 20-seat client using Oracle CCA via their reseller, Promero. The Product. Simply. Didn’t. Work.
The moral of this story is selecting a hosted or cloud platform for your contact center is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Even well-known vendors, especially those with no inside knowledge of the contact center space, could place your business at risk. I am very proud to see the work we are doing here at Fenero help foster change in our industry. Despite having a great platform at no cost for the software, ever, our greatest strength is the fact that we are you – call and contact center professionals who were simply tired of dealing with the Avaya, Aspect, Five9, InContact, and Oracles of the world.
As a result, we have decided to create our own.