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Contact centre investors can dramatically reduce their start-up risk by using a combination of hosted technology and fully equipped and managed premises, says Bruce von Maltitz of 1Stream.

“The days of making large capital investments in equipment that needs a lot of skill, effort and money to maintain are over,” says Von Maltitz. “The hosting model means you simply buy the services you need, when you need them. Applying that model to buildings as well as technology means you can walk into a new office and start operating within a few days – without taking huge financial risks.”

1Stream has partnered with Globility, a division of leading business continuity provider ContinuitySA, to launch a “walk in and talk” contact centre solution. The offering combines fully managed premises providing everything from reception services to furniture and PCs, with a world-class telephony platform based on Interactive Intelligence technology.

“Many of our clients are wondering why they ever managed their premises themselves,” says Globility MD Anthony Askew. “We take away all the pain of landlord and IT issues, whether it’s trying to sort out leaking toilets, slow lifts, bandwidth issues or a broken headset. Trying to manage that yourself can waste hours of productive time. Now our clients just log a call with our 24 hr service desk and we sort it out.”

Globility and 1Stream currently operate in Johannesburg and Cape Town and are investigating a move into Durban as well, says Von Maltitz. “It’s an ideal option for first-time investors into South Africa who are looking for a low-risk way to enter the country,” he says. “We can offer world-class premises and technology without any of the set-up hassle – which leaves contact centre managers free to concentrate on getting the most out of their employees.”

Staffing accounts for around 70% of the typical contact centre’s costs, notes Von Maltitz. “That should translate in to 70% of management time and effort, but too often people get sidetracked by technology issues. If the technology is taken care of, people can maintain a tighter focus on their actual operations.”

The service is not just for foreign investors, adds Askew. “Everyone has to manage their costs more carefully and increase their productivity,” he says. “Some of our clients have come to us because running their contact centres from their own main head office buildings had become stupidly expensive and they needed a hassle-free alternative.”

Others, he says, need to be able to ramp their operations up and down quickly to cope with peak traffic. “You may need 100 extra seats over the holiday period, but renting and fitting out a new set of offices and buying new software licences would make the whole exercise too expensive,” he says. “By using hosted premises and a hosted technology platform you get the extra capacity your business needs in the short term, without creating a financial burden for the future.”


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