Open Source Telephony and the Call Center

Frost and Sullivan has found that open source telephony and other open source-related IP solutions are experiencing a surge in demand throughout Europe, thanks mainly cost savings, which can run as high as 40 percent over their proprietary brethren.

Studies such as these speak volumes, especially when I still hear call centers being referred to as “cash cows” throughout the industry. And to be honest, that doesn’t surprise me, as I once read that a fully-functioning, multichannel call center with more than 100+ CSRs can have nearly 200 different software and hardware solutions supporting it…telephony and IP PBX being just one of them. The cost savings associated with making more of these applications open source would be monumental to the CRM industry.

Case in point: Digium is an open source telephony provider whose solution, Asterisk is integrated with SugarCRM. One of SugarCRM’s customers, Geeks on the Way, did exactly that, and has now integrated SugarCRM with Asterisk to allow callers to be recognized by phone number or other identifiers and automatically populate service logs and records…all at a fraction of the cost that a vendor like Cisco would have charged. You can read about it here.

Not enough attention has been paid to the way in which open source can transform the call center industry. How many SMBs would have access to the features and functionality usually reserved for the enterprise, and how many enterprises could save hundreds of thousands on IT overhead. The options would be limitless.