The global forecast of the Unified Communications market as a service is astounding. Predominant delivery of this service will be through Cloud based installations offering managed multi-tenant PBX and contact center ACD functionality. Asterisk PBX, the world’s leading telephony engine, is a complete platform for communications that can fulfill the role of a soft-switch, a protocol gateway, a media server, and a VoIP gateway. With a world-wide following, it exercises considerable influence over the trends in the multi-tenant Cloud offering of PBX and call center services.
From its humble beginning as a hybrid PBX, it has risen to a position of consequence with serious implications for the legacy technology platforms. By virtue of being one of the most powerful telephony platforms with an extensive ecosystem, Asterisk offers functionality unmatched by most of its PBX peers.
Cloud based multi-tenant platforms for Asterisk can scale to multiple Asterisk servers with an external ACD, taking effective control of the switching through the Asterisk Manager Interface (AMI) available for individual servers. Powerful multi-tenant contact center ACD software for Asterisk work in a similar way.
The work-flow requirements for Unified Communications is a blend of inbound, outbound and PBX functionality. The PBX functionality includes everything from auto-attendant, find-me-follow-me, to advanced call routing on an individual basis. Organization require conferencing capabilities, email to voice-mail functions and a host of features like virtual cloud extensions, call accounting, ring groups, and ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) from the PBX.
Inbound call center ACD features include queues driven by skills based routing, powerful IVR, call routing, and call distribution. Queues have skills association and calls are routed to the appropriate staff available at the time. The ACD provides powerful real-time stats. Outbound workflow has changed dramatically in the last decade. From mass dialing, it has become selective dialing driven by effective CRM. The integration to CRM packages like Salesforce, Netsuite and Microsoft Dynamics provide visibility into the life cycle of leads.
Most Cloud multi-tenant PBX installation achieve greater marketability by offering call center functionality along with the PBX. A multi-tenant contact center software will be incomplete without offering full function PBX. The user-interface of a good Unified Communications system should blend inbound, outbound and PBX functions.