Contact Center Trends

The Contact Center Build vs Buy Decision

By Steve Bell

0 min read

One of the common questions we’re asked at Talkdesk is what the difference is between our enterprise cloud contact center and nascent products, such as those offered by Twilio and Amazon, that tout themselves as “programmable platforms”.

The answer is that it’s an apples to oranges comparison. We really don’t come across these programmable platforms because we’re selling to a different audience.

To explain the difference, let’s use the analogy of building a new home. In theory, I could go to Home Depot, buy all my materials and build the home myself. But most people don’t do that. Few people have the specialized skills, resources or time. After all, the benefit of the house is to use it, right?

So most of us rely on a skilled contractor to build the home to our exact specifications. The home is built much faster than it would be had it been a DIY job, the quality is high and the contractor’s work is guaranteed.

The offerings from programmable platforms are analogous to the Home Depot DIY scenario. These are platforms upon which you build your contact center from the ground up. There is very little “out-of-the-box” . These systems are designed for IT departments to programmatically assemble a contact center solution. The end benefit to the business user or your customer is really not part of the dialogue. Just look at this marketing language on one of their websites:

“Fork select components and ship iterations at your own pace – without facing a 20,000-line Merge conflict in Git.”   

“With code, you can bring your own channel to hook into Flex’s Redux store…”

“The first fully-programmable contact center platform.”

“We can’t wait to see what you build.” (If this tagline looks familiar you’re probably mentally relating it to You Can Do It. We Can Help“, ironically, from Home Depot!)

How does that messaging translate to improving the customer experience? Driving operational efficiency? Enhancing the agent experience? No idea. They don’t speak that language.

What’s more, how many companies have an army of IT resources just hanging around with nothing better to do than build a new contact center from scratch? From my experience, most companies are challenged with IT resource constraints. If by chance you do have those IT resources, how many of them have the highly specialized Dev Ops expertise to programmatically build a contact center? And if you don’t think expertise is important, maybe you should try building your own house! So you’ll likely need to augment with outside SI resources – how much will that cost?

Now let’s suspend reality and say you do have an available team of IT contact center programming experts and they finally build your contact center. How do you know it’s going to meet the needs of your business users running the contact center operations who have been impatiently waiting way too long for a solution?  

Talkdesk Customer Success Stories

If something breaks (it will), who owns the end product—the vendor or the company? Is it a you built it, you own it situation? And when changes need to be made (they will), does the business user have to go back to IT again and again for more coding? That’s very operationally inefficient—but hey, it’s great IT job security! Now what happens when your Dev Ops resources leave the company and take that expertise with them? What do you do when changes and updates need to be made? You’re dead in the water.

Generally speaking, one of the fundamental benefits of moving from on-premises solutions to cloud solutions is that the latter frees up IT resources from rote day-to-day systems management activities to focus on more strategic corporate initiatives. So why would you want to swap out one IT-intensive system with another one? In doing so, you’re essentially blowing up the entire cloud value proposition.

Talkdesk is more analogous to the custom home builder. Talkdesk Enterprise Cloud Contact Center is built on a modern, cloud-native microservices architecture and API-first design. This affords us tremendous flexibility to tailor and rapidly deploy a contact center to each customer’s unique specifications. Our implementation times are weeks, not months or years. That means the business users realize benefits sooner rather than later, including better customer experience, improved operational efficiency and lower cost.

What’s more, Talkdesk Enterprise Cloud Contact Center was designed to be endlessly adaptable. Speed and agility were key design tenets based on the assumption that change is inevitable and expected. The system is highly configurable, so many changes can be made by business users with “clicks not code”—exactly the opposite of the “programmable contact center” messaging of the DIY companies. With this approach, Talkdesk empowers the frontlines of the business and drives operational efficiency. And if you need deeper customization, Talkdesk’s API-first design allows for that too.

Talkdesk is also designed for ease of use. We have an entire team of UE/ UI experts who painstakingly ensure that each and every interface—from agents to supervisors to administrators—is optimized for intuitiveness and efficiency. Think about this: How many UE professionals will you have on staff on your IT team for a build-your-own contact center?

The Talkdesk Enterprise Cloud Contact Center architecture was built for enterprise scalability, security and reliability. We have customers running contact centers with thousands of agents. Talkdesk also offers the industry’s first and only 100% uptime SLA. Ask yourself: How many IT staff would be needed to maintain 100% uptime for an on-premises or IT-built solution? And what SLAs would they offer to guarantee it?  

Your contact center is the mission-critical epicenter for your customer experience efforts. If speed to results, business agility, operational efficiency and CX excellence is important to you, trust the experts: Talkdesk.


Steve Bell

Steve is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Talkdesk. Steve is a Seattle transplant with a passion for music, wine, food, and travel.