Hosted Dialer vs. On-Premise Solutions: Key Differentiators

January 19th, 2017

Auto dialers and the predictive hosted dialer have become an increasingly important part of customer outreach and engagement. With the ability to efficiently dial a sequence of numbers from your business’ call list while screening for non-answers, dialers can reduce idle time for agents while also helping ensure that an agent will always be available to answer when a customer picks up. For these reasons, many businesses see dialers as a crucial part of the calling environment, whether agents are involved in areas of sales, marketing, technical support or customer service. And like any other technology that supports your business, it makes sense to take a close look at all the options before investing in a solution.

While the specific features of available dialers may vary widely from provider to provider, one of the key differentiators worth exploring is how the dialer will be deployed.

Choosing Between a Hosted Dialer and a Premise Dialer

An on-premise dialer refers to a solution that is physically installed at your place of business. A hosted, or cloud-based, dialer is a software as a service (SaaS) solution, delivering many of the same features of a predictive dialer but using technology that is housed offsite.

Taking into account your organization’s goals and overarching technology architecture, there are several deciding factors that may lead you to choose one platform over the other. Is a cloud-based hosted dialer right for you, or would your organization prefer an on-premise dialer? The following questions will hopefully help you define your preferences and narrow the field.

Breakdown of Key Decision Points

Are you more concerned about up-front costs or ongoing budget impact?

  • Premise:  With a premise solution, the bulk of your cost is due when the contract is signed. Just like purchasing desktops, PBXs or other physical equipment, manual dialers are usually purchased outright and owned by the business for the life of the system. The advantage is that there are no ongoing usage costs, and the total cost of the dialer is lower the longer you own it. A premise solution offers more direct control over the dialer’s performance such as adjusting line to agent call ratios and the number of calls per second allowed. Also, premise-based dialers give organizations the ability to select any carrier of their choosing.
  • Hosted:  A hosted dialer typically require a very low – if any – up-front investment. Instead, costs are billed on a subscription basis over the span of the provider’s billing cycle, which lowers the initial cost barrier significantly. This allows businesses the flexibility of buying into current technology that might not have otherwise been affordable.

Do you want the installation conducted by your own team or by a team of outside experts?

  • Premise:  On-premise dialers are physically installed and connected to your existing phone system. This is typically handled by the provider’s installation team during a scheduled visit, and there is no advanced technical knowledge required of your staff. Training on how to use the system is usually provided by the dialer’s implementation team.
  • Hosted:  Hosted systems have low upfront costs, but do require minimal additional equipment for each agent such as a basic computer & headset. Software installation does require a knowledgeable technician to install and set up, most often conducted by your on-site system administrators. Businesses who are already using other cloud solutions may prefer the cloud provider to conduct the installation themselves to account for any custom settings that are in place.

Do you have resources to dedicate to maintenance?

  • Premise:  Dialers require a responsible person dedicated to monitoring and managing the dialer’s performance. Dialers require regular maintenance and updates to stay current with technology. Scheduled maintenance can either be conducted your own staff members, or it can be outsourced to the provider as part of a service package.
  • Hosted:  A hosted dialer requires very little on-site maintenance, but it’s still recommended to have a responsible person monitoring the hosted dialer’s performance. Issues can generally be resolved via a phone call to the hosted provider’s technical support team. Since hosted solutions have less equipment than premise-based, there is less cost to replace equipment over time.

How important are frequent upgrades?

  • Premise:  The ease of upgrading an on-site solution is largely dependent on the provider and the complexity of the original hardware. Most providers will specify an upgrade schedule in the dialer agreement, allowing you to smoothly transition to updated technology. Many premise dialer providers can add additional capacity in minutes by remotely opening more license capacity in the software.
  • Hosted:  Most hosted providers will automatically update their cloud-based dialers to the latest iteration of software without customers even knowing. Hosted providers make it easy to increase capacity, add features and move to higher tiers of service.

How will you calculate ROI and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Comparing the cost of premise dialers vs hosted solutions can be challenging. Keep in mind when comparing cost, the most significant factor to consider should be how long you plan to use a dialer product. Hosted solutions look good on paper for the short term because of low upfront costs, but traditionally recurring costs of hosted will exceed premise-based costs after 18-24 months. When calculating the TCO of either solution, please take into account a number of factors over the lifetime of your investment such as upfront costs, annual support contracts, hardware updates, and staffing.

Exploring your unique business needs and the key differences between these two deployment methods can have a crucial impact on the cost-effectiveness, efficiency and bottom line of your organization. Learn more about the pros and cons of choosing a hosted dialer vs. a premise dialer.

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Hosted Dialer vs. On-Premise Solutions: Key Differentiators