- VoIP and SIP trunking adoption are driving the need for SBCs in the modern contact center
- Assessing the value of an SBC and selecting the appropriate SBC for your center is crucial
The transition from time division multiplexing (TDM) to end-to-end IP networks, coupled with the growing requirement for enhanced security and regulatory compliance in the customer service environment are major causes of the added intricacy involved in running a contact center today. As the use of SIP trunking becomes more common and the number of carriers offering these services grows, the session border controller (SBC), long an important element of service provider networks, brings to the enterprise the potential to address the many new and developing issues of the contact center. SBCs can simplify networks, add more intelligence to operations and introduce economic and operational balance to the new networking equation. As customer care continues to become an important competitive differentiator, enterprises must take action to ensure their contact centers are reliable and secure, that networks interoperate with wide-area IP/SIP networks and users experience efficient and economical operations.
To achieve these goals, contact center managers should consider enterprise-based SBCs in their planning and implementation process. This is especially true for large, geographically dispersed, multichannel contact centers wanting to optimize their customer service offerings. The goals are to enhance security measures by safeguarding enterprise customer confidentiality and privacy, improve interoperability by mitigating multi-vendor/multi-protocol issues, and ensure better reliability by enforcing service quality and enabling high levels of service availability. To meet these goals contact center operators should seek enterprise SBC solutions from a growing number of providers, including Acme Packet, Audiocodes, Cisco, Edgewater, Siemens Enterprise, Sipera and others. These SBC developers are attempting to solve the growing problems of contact center complexity and security, as they recognize the contact center as a new product growth opportunity for the SBC vendor.
There are several potential benefits of adding an SBC to the multi-channel, multi-location enterprise contact center including bandwidth usage reduction, protection from hackers on hosted/cloud solutions, enhanced security levels for home agents, more economical call recording options at the SIP trunk edge and the simplification of emergency 911 regulatory compliance. However, careful consideration is required in the selection of the appropriate SBC for each center, including matching an SBC’s scalability with the growth potential of the center, the SBC’s survivability characteristics and its ability to satisfy the security and regulatory compliance requirements of the center. In addition, an assessment of the potential operational efficiencies to be gained must be conducted to develop a business case to support the business decision.
Enterprises currently in the process of installing, improving or expanding a multi-location contact center solution and selecting a contact center provider/solution should negotiate for the inclusion of required SBC functionality with the purchase and inquire about SBC partners the contact center provider may have. SBCs can be so integral to the successful operational and economic viability of the center, the functionality provided by SBCs should be planned upfront and be part of the sales negotiation process.