Frost & Sullivan Finds Asian Contact Centers Moving to Omnichannel Applications

While voice interaction remains the primary communication channel in contact centers, the omnichannel concept is gaining popularity in the Asia Pacific region, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan.

With smart phone penetration and social media use on the rise, an increasing number of organizations are working closely with system integrators and independent software vendors to implement omnichannel platforms that combine voice, email, SMS, Web chat, social media, and real-time video interactions, the research firm found. In response, contact centers are transforming into customer engagement centers with multichannel strategies that are tightly integrated with mobile applications and self-service capabilities, it found.

Frost & Sullivan, in its Analysis of the Asia-Pacific Contact Centre Applications Market report, uncovered market revenue of $699.5 million in 2014 and projected that amount to reach $952.9 million in 2021 with a compound annual growth rate of 4.5 percent. The study covers automatic call distributors, outbound systems, computer telephony integration, interactive voice response, workforce management, call monitoring, speech technology, and multimedia systems. Workforce optimization and analytics are expected to lead revenue growth across these segments, driven by the continuous focus on contact center operation performance management.

"System replacement and software upgrades, along with the adoption of advanced contact center applications will be the key drivers for mature markets in the region," said Frost & Sullivan information and communication technologies industry analyst Shuishan Lu, in a statement. "In the Southeast Asian markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, contact center application providers will find mixed opportunities with a handful of greenfield and system upgrade projects."

However, some companies' long decision-making process and tight capital budgets could dampen market development, he noted.

"Although the support of multichannel interaction has been a must for contact centers in APAC, many companies are eschewing investment in agent-facing applications. Cost centers continue to be the top-line concept for these companies, whose key consideration is the profitability of their contact centers rather than the enhancement of customer interaction," Lu said.

The research suggests that in response to this trend, several companies, especially in the small and midsized segments, are evaluating hosted/cloud contact center services to lower their out-of-pocket costs. Rather than completely moving their contact center infrastructures to the cloud, companies are adopting the hybrid model. This involves deploying on-premises inbound contact routing applications and using other value-added applications through the software-as-a-service model.

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Revenue for the North American contact center solutions market indicates a growing preference for hosted services, but while companies are investing in the cloud, they are still relying on on-premises tools, which suggests there is ample room for growth among vendors, Frost & Sullivan finds.

Posted December 16, 2015