Discuss, debate and exchange ideas on latest trends and opportunities in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) landscape. Deliberate on adding “business value” to clients, vendors, employees and various other stakeholders to enhance customer satisfaction and sustain long term partnerships.

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March 19, 2015

Adoption of SIP in Contact Centers

Today, customers can interact with customer care representatives through voice calls as well as using video, web chat, email, SMS and social media. There is now a need of a common technology protocol for managing multiple interactions / sessions. 


In an enterprise, Contact Center is a functional unit from which all client requirements are managed and serviced. Customers can interact with customer care representatives through voice calls as well as using video, web chat, email, SMS and social media. In other words -customers can reach the contact center via multiple interaction channels i.e. either voice or multimedia.

In order to fulfill this requirement, there is a need of a common technology protocol for managing multiple interactions / sessions in a contact center. 

Contact centers are increasingly adopting SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) for following reasons:

  • SIP trunks are rapidly replacing legacy TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) trunks like T1 or E1 circuits.
  • In the enterprise segment, SIP technology implementation is gaining momentum.
  • Global service provider market is expected to grow substantially till 2016.
  • By adopting SIP trunks, enterprise can increase flexibility and scalability.
  • SIP trunks make telecommunication more resilient.

What is SIP ?

  • Designed in 1996, SIP is an open standard protocol and has been standardized by IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) in RFC 3261.
  • Session Initiation Protocol (or SIP) is Voice over IP signaling protocol for enabling Voice and multimedia sessions such as voice, video calls over IP networks.
  • SIP is used for integration of multiple devices both in - carrier and enterprise networks.

Why adopt SIP technology?

  • Reliability: Since SIP connectivity links are terminated on Data Network devices, which have more Life Time compared to their TDM counterparts. Hence SIP technology is considered more reliable than TDM.
  • Easy implementation: Less complexity in implementation and commissioning of SIP Devices and SIP enabled end- points. 
  • Simplified Hardware Requirement: SIP technology implementation requires less hardware as compared to the TDM devices, as TDM functionality is distributed amongst multiple hardware components.
  • Flexibility: SIP technology is more flexible In terms of capacity management, ease of expansion & network configuration. 
  • Economical: SIP enabled devices are capable of handling voice, video, chat, file transfer and instant messaging over a single media stream. Hence they are more economical as compared to TDM devices and end-points.

Considerations before adopting SIP technology

  • Assessment: Thorough evaluation and analysis of existing contact center setup to identify key areas for improvement and optimization of the entire process.
  • Key areas of optimization: Assess multiple SIP technology service provider over the globe (as per requirement) for cost optimization, efficiency as well as redundancy.
  • Scalability:  Assess multiple SIP technology service provider who have the ability to handle sudden spike of inbound/outbound call volume when needed. 
  • Security:  AAA (Authorization, Authentication and Accounting) security for SIP devices and end- points need to be assessed as per defined standards.
  • Service provider compatibility: Although SIP is an open standard protocol, its implementation by different service providers varies in some aspects, and therefore customization is needed before it is handed over to production.
  • Tools to monitor SIP infrastructure: Need to identify and implement efficient monitoring tools for SIP infrastructure monitoring, reporting and troubleshooting.

SIP architecture

Abhijit Kulkarni 1.png 

Value derived after adopting SIP

  • Reduced telecom hardware foot print at onsite POP with substantial savings on TCO.
  • Outbound call charges on SIP are lowered.
  • Enables contact centers to handle spikes in call traffic.
  • Reduced lead time for provisioning new SIP channels.
  • Seamless auto failover for inbound voice traffic, in case of POP failure.


March 11, 2015

Re-defining process through automations

Automation has become the back bone of innovation, operational efficiency, core competitive strength & ultimate transformation in the way BPO industry works.


For many years, Business Process Outsourcing has been considered as a simple cost play but now through process excellence BPO industries are able to provide more efficient and refined services to industries. Process excellence can be achieved through rearranging or redefining process or reducing unnecessary steps or simply through automations.

Re-defining process is about systematically improving the way work gets done in our organizations. Re-defining also results in Re-Think, Re-Examine and Re-Vamp. It forces people to come out of their shells and change the way they look at how a job has to be completed. It encourages people to look at different business areas and modify and adapt certain practices which are key in a specific type of business in their unfamiliar domains.

Automation can be developed in any processes from simple data entry to complex calculations. Re-defining is necessary to reduce cost and increase efficiency of process.

There are different methods followed for re-defining process. It can be under different banners in different industries like - Business Process Management, Enterprise Architecture, Lean, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, Statistical Process Control, Program Progress Modules, Cloud, Automation or Robotics but the ultimate aim is to increase process efficiency. One can make use of value stream mapping as one of the tools to remove unnecessary steps or can build up simple macros to do automations of repetitive process. 

Many Business process outsourcing companies have adopted automation in a big way. Automations have moved beyond simple tools or macros to facets that run the entire business. This helps in reducing the risk of failure, but it cannot be completely eliminated.

Re-defining is not only necessary for operations or transaction work but is equally important for highly specialized process like audit and risk controls. Gone are the days where auditors did manual audits, now one can build up automations in audit process and sampling tools. This will help in taking correct statistical samplings and will result in better controls. Here I would like to share an example of a Black belt lean six sigma project on e-governance client for enhancement of quality control system, which has helped us to reduced considerable errors and better control system.

Brief description of the project: Government departments in the recent past have submitted to e-governance, all the communications have been automated which require strict quality checks. Any miss will have far reaching legal and statutory consequences.  The engagement on an average sends out more than one lakh communications per day. Each of these communications has to go through a stringent quality check. Automation of this enormous task was the key to improving the end to end process of quality check which was manually done.

Problem: It was observed that 16% of batches were getting discarded and reworked again. This project focused on the reduction in percentage of rejected batches to 5% and also on the reduction of audit time (AHT) to significant levels to cover more samples from the batches being audited.

Solution: Deployed 'On the fly platform.' This enabled the QC team to verify the communications before actual PDF communication was generated, this in turn reduced rework for rejected batches and postal barcode wastage. This also helped in sample selection with different criteria which ensured that sampling is done correctly and covers all scenarios. This ensured that wrong communications to end users were not sent.

To increase and enhance the speed and sample size an automated solution using VBA was implemented this made a large part of the process of quality and audit check automated and the speed of audit increased drastically.  The above automations not only helped to make process more stable and accurate but also helped in reduction of QC time per transaction from 109sec to less than 10 sec  which in turn helped in increase of sample size with the same head count and % of rejected batches reduced below 5%.

Bela_Shah.png 

Information technology has a pivotal role in automating those identified tasks which are repetitive & routine. Designing a methodology in automating such identified processes & enabling the ultimate transformation of the process has resulted in dependable accuracy levels & optimal usage of human resources, where in these very human resources are allowed to spend more time in the complex analysis which of course a machine cannot do & which in turn improves the quality of the personnel. 

Automation has become the back bone of innovation, operational efficiency, core competitive strength & ultimate transformation in the way BPO industry works.

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