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Cloud vs. On-Premise Call Centers: Key Differences, Benefits, and More


The Team at CallMiner

October 12, 2017

A man in a phone headset.
A man in a phone headset.

A Definition of Cloud Call Centers

Hosted in the cloud by a business server, a cloud call center is the hub of an enterprise that handles all customer communications. Because this center is in the cloud, it makes interacting with customers, including all inbound and outbound communication via voice, email, social media, and the internet, accessible from anywhere. Cloud-based call centers require users to have internet access with enough bandwidth to accommodate them. Companies choose to modernize their call centers by choosing those in the cloud because customers increasingly use digital channels to contact businesses.

A Definition of On-Premise Call Centers

On-premise call centers are more traditional and hardware-based. On-premise call centers often require upgrades every few years, which becomes costly.  With an on-premise call center, your communication hardware, software, and infrastructure remain onsite at your organization with dedicated communication servers. Thus, your IT team is responsible for installation, maintenance, and upkeep of everything from servers to headsets to integration support.

Cloud vs. On-Premise Call Centers

Organizations often compare cloud and on-premise call centers using a few criteria. We break down some of the more frequently considered characteristics and features of each type of call center below:

  • Set Up: Implementing an on-premise call center can take up to several months because companies must purchase hardware and licenses, set up the infrastructure, and find compatible software. On the other hand, setting up cloud-based call centers involves installing an app on a computer that functions out of the box.
  • Cost: Companies must determine whether they want capital expenditures or operating expenditures when choosing between an on-premise call center and a cloud call center. On-premise call centers require upfront costs for hardware, licenses, and housing servers onsite. They also require onsite installations once every 5-10 years as hardware ages and technology evolves. Conversely, cloud call centers do not a large upfront hardware or infrastructure cost as long as your organization has a strong internet connection with sufficient bandwidth. Ongoing costs include a monthly subscription.
  • Features: On-premise call centers have traditional, expected features including transfers, hold, wait music, conferences, and call logging. While cloud call centers have the same traditional features, they build upon them with the help of advancing technologies to feature live call monitoring, smart IVR, click-to-call, and more.
  • Integrations: It is difficult but possible to integrate an on-premise call center with other services, mainly because of licensing and installation. Companies with top IT teams can make the integrations and implementations run more smoothly, which lead to overall 
  • Reliability: On-premise call centers may have more stable technology to help eliminate call lag or lower call quality. However, an on-premise call center’s call quality is only as good as its technology and hardware. On the other hand, cloud call centers have high call quality when organizations have strong, reliable internet connections.

Benefits of Cloud Call Centers

Organizations find cloud call centers attractive because they can deploy them in a matter of minutes. Cloud call centers also require no capital investment up front, and they empower companies to take advantage of state-of-the-art capabilities that elevate legacy call centers to modernized call centers.

Top benefits of a cloud call center include:

  • Reduce costs and improve return on investment (ROI)
  • Create a full-featured, state-of-the-art multichannel contact center
  • Deliver better customer experiences
  • Deploy easily
  • Empower employees
  • Reduce ongoing costs
  • Optimize agent efficacy and efficiency
  • Call center management
  • Improve scalability and flexibility
  • Advanced features and capabilities

Benefits of On-Premise Call Centers

Many companies assume that cloud call centers are the less expensive option. However, it is possible to invest in a quality on-premise solution with an upfront cost, pay it off, and use it reliably for the long-term without the ongoing cost of a cloud solution. Some companies also opt for on-premise call centers because they can be more customized to specific needs than cloud call centers. Companies opting for on-premise call center solutions also find that it is easier to train employees because these systems are more customized to suit their particular business.

Other benefits of on-premise call centers include

  • Purchase only the equipment and systems you need
  • Up-front costs that are paid off instead of ongoing payments
  • Peace of mind knowing your confidential data is stored in-house safely and securely
  • Maximum control over functions
  • Fewer concerns about reliability and safekeeping

Which type of call center is better for your organization?

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