The worldwide call centre software market is set to reach $3.1reach #1.8 billion by 2003 billion (#1.8 billion) in 2003, up from $580 million (#341 million) this year, according to a report from Ovum.
The report, Ovum Evaluates: Call Centre Software, goes on to say that the market remains dominated by the US which has a 64% share, although that is expected to fall to 45% by the end of the forecast period as other markets take up call centre applications. The value of the European market, $316 million (#185 million) in 1998, will reach $2 billion (#1.17 billion) in 2003.
Call centres are where today's commercial battles are being won and lost, the report continues. It says there are three key areas of end-user benefit: improved customer service, greater staff effectiveness and cost savings over comparable customer contact media.
But Ovum points out that the performance of a call centre depends critically on the software it uses. Its report, which includes detailed comparative evaluations of software from FirstWave, Graham Technology, IBM/Early Cloud, IMA, Point, Quintus, Vantive and Versatility, finds that call centre software is rapidly coming of age. "The market is beginning to take call centre software seriously," said David Bradshaw, a senior analyst at Ovum. "Using a dedicated product can quickly provide a wide range of capabilities that would otherwise take months to build."
Ovum defines two main types of call centre software. First is system and application development environments that are geared towards the needs of the call centre, such as GT-X from Graham Technologies and Edge from IMA. The second is ready-made but highly customisable call centre applications, such as TeamPoint from Point and VTT from Versatility. "The two types of products are converging", continued Bradshaw. "Development environments are beginning to offer application templates that have much of the required ready-made functionality. At the same time, ready-made applications are offering increasingly sophisticated customisation facilities and are edging towards entire development environments that will rival those offered by development tool vendors."
But the products still have some way to go. Ovum identifies management tools and enterprise integration as being obvious areas for improvement.
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