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Let's say you are among the growing number of enterprise executives who want to outsource your contact center infrastructure and get out of the hardware management business. With a third party managing and maintaining your contact center infrastructure, you're free to focus on your core business.

Before you can enjoy this new freedom, however, you must select that third party. Here's where things can get confusing as not one, but three different types of solutions provider definitions -- hosted, managed and Software as a Service (SaaS)-based -- vie for your business.

Are there clear differences and similarities? Is there a consistent set of definitions to these terms? The answers are yes and no. To make things murkier still, everybody has a slightly different understanding of these three types.

To some, a managed service is a solution that runs on premise at the customer site but is managed by a third party. To others, a managed service is a solution that runs off premise, managed by a third party. Still others consider that last scenario a hosted or SaaS solution. And some but not all definitions require multi-tenancy to be part of the solution.

Your decision shouldn't have to be that confusing. You just want somebody else to provide the contact center service for you, whether it's called "outsourced contact center infrastructure," "hosted," "managed services," "SaaS," or the latest industry acronym.

The point is, someone else provides the solution, and you get the business benefits at a lower cost. You don't have to create it. You don't have to spend CapEx to buy it. You don't have to manage it or pay annual maintenance on it.

In the market, different types of contact center services are available to accommodate different types of customers. Enterprise customers are typically looking for large, complex contact center deployments across multiple locations, hosted offsite. They don't want to spend their time and money managing contact center infrastructure. They prefer devoting their resources doing what they do best, delivering products and services and interacting with their customers.

Enterprise customers want a contact center vendor to provide cradle-to-grave service -- including all the necessary integrations and professional services. They want the contact center service to go live fast and provide high reliability, and to be cost-effective.


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