While many cloud telephony companies might argue that hosted IVR or Cloud Telephony is the future and everyone should embrace it, but are we actually ready for it ?
I have been thinking about this for many days now. Finally, I thought, I would share my views why it is not an easy decision go for hosted IVR or cloud Telephony. Here are my top three reasons for it:-
1. Data security
With existing Indian Cyber Laws and its implementation ( or lack of it), how can one ensure data security while using a hosted IVR Service or Cloud Telephony Service?
Here is an example to ponder about, if hotel A hosts its incoming IVR with a hosted IVR Service provider XYZ Communications Pvt Ltd. Suppose Hotel A’s incoming IVR has an option to press 1 for reservation, 2 for speaking to a guest and etc.. Now, if the cloud telephony company, XYZ Communications Pvt Ltd, finds out (its easy, just write a small query and run it) all incoming calls to that number whichever had pressed 1 for speaking to reservation and prepare an excel sheet, then give it to Hotel B for say, Rs. 100 per phone number. Now, Hotel B being a competitor to Hotel A, would call up those phone numbers and pitch in for their hotel rooms! May be again using outbound IVR call services by XYZ Communications Pvt Ltd!
The same an be true for your simple outbound campaigns!
So, is cloud Telephony worth the risk f losing your prospective customer to your competitors ?
2. Cost of CTI Hardware and IVR Software
While many hosted IVR or Cloud Telephony provider may argue that cloud telephony is easiest and low cost way of having smart IVR system for a company. But in reality, it may be far from truth!
A typical 30channel Digital CTI card from reputed brand like Sangoma cost Rs. 23000/- ( you do not get a entry level Nikon DSLR at that price! ), and last time when I checked prices of Chinese Made Digital E1 CTI card, it was costing me Rs. 10000/-!
And Asterisk ( the Telephony Software on Linux) is free on Linux! One may argue, Asterisk is not mature technology, can not be scaled up, all I can say is, as far as I know, many of India’s cloud telephony companies use Asterisk or other Linux based Free Scripts for their hosted IVR platform!
If Linux is too intimidating for you, you can buy Donjin boards and use IVR Development tools like Osidial, VBVoice etc. and develop your own voice applications in Windows, just like you develop a Database Application.
So, your total investment for a 30 channel IVR for your company would be less than Rs. 30000 including PC! And a typical IVR hosted at cloud telephony provider for similar 30 channel setup would be Rs. 6000 a month! And you would end up spending Rs. 72000/- a year which you could have achieved by investing just Rs. 30000/-
Do you still want to go for Cloud IVR Service ?
3. Existing Phone Number
Can cloud Telephony provider give you IVR Service on your existing business phone number which you have been promoting in your yearly calender, business cards for years ? No, they can not. They would give you a new number which normally, they would own and rent it out to you. Which means, if the cloud telephony provider go out of business, then your number will also be gone!
Also, none of the cloud telephony service providers in India are large enough to give local phone number all over India. This may change when some telecom operators decides to provide hosted IVR service though.
While I like Cloud Telephony in India, but I still think on premise IVR is useful for many companies. Also, it may be too early to give all rosy pictures about Cloud Telephony in India.
Please share your views!