Focus Shifts from Tech to Customer Engagement in APAC Contact Center Apps Market

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan about the Asia-Pacific contact center applications market finds that the market earned revenues of $676 million in 2013, and is estimated to reach $1.1 billion in 2020. To meet the rising customer demand from both domestic and offshore markets, growth in contact center agent seats has been a positive influence on investments in contact center applications in the Asia-Pacific market. However, global economic concerns and soft investment sentiment in some key markets impacted the pace of growth as many enterprises in the region have held back on the replacement and upgrade of contact center applications.

Instead of expansion, enterprises have focused on consolidating their existing resources to achieve operational efficiency. Revenues from core contact center applications have declined mostly in mature markets. However, as demand for customer service continues to grow rapidly across markets in Asia-Pacific, investments on contact center technology is likely to rise sharply in the near term before stabilizing later. The adoption of advanced applications will help drive the market forward as well.

With growing concern over the "cost to serve,” enterprises across Asia-Pacific focused on optimization and quality of customer care in the recent years. Such sentiments stimulated the adoption of spectrum of workforce optimization and analytics tools, especially in larger contact centers. Investment on these applications is likely to see further growth during the forecast period.

"With [the] rapid increase in number of autonomous customers, self-service applications have become more significant than before. As enterprises in the region add new customers, their need to manage contact center costs while maintaining the customer experience has become even more important," said Frost & Sullivan Information & Communication Technologies research manager Krishna Baidya in a statement. "Consumer preferences today are making a multichannel approach mandatory for contact centers and solution vendors alike. Self-service with speech applications is likely to witness good adoption in near future.”

As far as geographical trends go, investment per seat is usually higher mature markets, where pricing as well as the sophistication of applications demanded are higher compared to high growth and emerging markets. Whereas developed regions across Asia-Pacific have witnessed flat growth, emerging regions like Indonesia and Philippines have recorded double-digit growth.

By 2020, a mix of developed and developing regions – Australia, China, India and Japan – is expected to account for over 65 percent of revenues from contact center applications.

"In markets like Australia, India and Japan, cloud service providers as well as contact center service outsourcers have been actively promoting contact center applications delivered on a hosted/cloud platforms," Baidya said. "As cloud-based contact center solutions are cost-efficient, market participants have begun to consider hosting to be as viable a deployment option as on-premise. This is true for enterprises and contact centers of all sizes."