If there is one buzzword going around the IT world today it is Virtualization.
Okay, there are others but this is one that even the junior IT folks are talking about. There is good reason to talk about it for a lot of different reasons. First, there is the cost savings of having a bunch of “servers” inside a server. Second there is the disaster recovery elements that virtualization brings and third, there is the ability to quickly deploy new “servers” thanks to images of server deployments can easily be made into a new virtual server or physical server.
For Contact Centers, virtualization is no different. It is a buzzword that has the potential to radically change how Contact Centers are deployed. The challenge in the market however is just how much virtualization is supported. Some of our competitors do not support virtualization at all while others only do partially. Why?
Simply put, every Contact Center has a lot of moving parts. You have queues and agents, dialers, chat and email integration and scheduling just to name a few things. They are complex by nature and in some ways virtualization adds to that complexity.
This is where the design principles of ShoreTel Contact Center comes to the fore and makes our solution one of the most robust and easiest to virtualize.
When we developed our solution, we designed it keeping “Brilliantly Simple” in mind.
That means we put everything a contact center needs to be viable in the box. Remember the old Ragu spaghetti sauce commercials? Yeah, it’s in there. By having this approach to design, years before virtualization was in vogue, we set ourselves up to be extremely successful with it.
Every ShoreTel Contact Center solution has the ability to inbound calls, outbound calls (scheduled, abandoned or campaign), IVR, Web Chat, email queuing, real-time reporting and historical reporting straight out of the box.
In other words, we do not have a “server farm” grow up around our solution. All of this functionality is in one server and the majority of it is included in the base licensing.
Let’s specifically talk about virtualization and ShoreTel Contact Center and how the two technologies fit well together in the real world. With our single server approach we eliminate the requirement for multiple server images in your virtualized environment.
In fact, because the ShoreTel Unified Communication solutions can also be virtualized, in some deployment models you can have the ShoreTel Headquarters server and Contact Center server in the same virtualized image. This makes deployment faster, but also brings you the benefits that come with using VMWare such as the ability to create a backup image of that deployment so you can quickly and easily recover in a disaster situation.
Keep in mind that every part of our contact center solution supports virtualization. That means the IVR, our real-time and historical reporting and even our outbound dialer can all function in a virtualized deployment. This is a significant advantage for our customers, as they can truly harness the cost savings and IT advantages of virtualization. It also brings peace of mind as a virtualized environment can recover far quicker than a physical one in a disaster recovery situation or server failure.
I’m personally proud of this designation. It means that we as a team spent a lot of time and effort to assure that every aspect of our solution would work with VMWare but it also means that we had to pass a rigorous testing process from VMWare themselves. That is no small feat. What it means for our customers that as they prepare a new ShoreTel Contact Center deployment or move their existing one to VMWare, they will have no worries about if it is support or if it will work.