What you need to know about Contact Centre licensing
There are a lot of moving parts in a Contact Centre, particularly when it comes to software licensing. When a Contact Centre signs an agreement for a software solution with a vendor, every product comes with a license and a user license. This gives every user that is using the solution the right to use it.
The challenge is that Contact Centres require and depend upon a wide array of software, from telephony and automated chat functions, to Workforce Engagement tools and disruptive technologies with the growth of the cloud, all of which need user licenses – and in these complex environments, there are some hidden pitfalls when it comes to the cost of licensing.
Types of licensing
There are two typical types on licensing:
- Perpetual license – With a traditional perpetual license model, all licensing is paid for upfront, giving Contact Centres the right to use it indefinitely. The vendor’s support contract, typically a one-, three- or five-year term, is purchased simultaneously. Contact Centres don’t own the license, but instead have the perpetual right to use the license, and receive support along the way.
- Subscription-based model – Today, licensing has predominantly moved to a flexible subscription-based model in which Contact Centres can pay for licenses monthly, annually or on-demand. Monthly or annually subscriptions (typically for committed users) can flex above when required, with extra users charged monthly in arrears. On-demand, meanwhile, tracks when users log on with their assigned license, so Contact Centres in theory only pay for what they use. These flexible contracts can be beneficial for Contact Centres that fluctuate in capacity throughout the year.
The hidden costs
But while the benefits for both methods of licensing are evident, there are some hidden costs to be aware of:
Vendor support contracts – in which Contact Centres turn to the vendor for troubleshooting, software updates and bug fixes – are a common area for incurring additional costs.
First of all, vendors know that organisations are scrambling to migrate to the cloud and are using this to their advantage, with some only offering the latest upgrade of products via a cloud-based subscription model. This can force Contact Centres down a cloud route they cannot support financially or with existing infrastructure – but if they remain on premise, they risk losing support and upgrades altogether.
Contact Centres that no longer have access to bug fixes or security patches have an increased risk of security threats and costly non-compliance. Vendors are also increasing the cost of support and upgrades for customers on legacy technology in an attempt to drive people to upgrade and/or move to a subscription model, while also removing support and maintenance altogether for some versions – an unexpected cost for organisations who have not been warned or budgeted for such an event.
With the changeable nature of Contact Centres, many aren’t fully aware of what licenses they’re paying for and what their capacity is. This has hidden costs in several ways.
For instance, Contact Centres could have too many licenses and are paying for products they aren’t using, especially easy to do with subscriptions hat quickly sprawl and become impossible to manage. Contact Centres may also not have enough licenses, risking high non-compliance fines and a reduced ability to deliver the best CX. And Contact Centres that don’t have a clear view of their licensing landscape could be paying twice for the same product.
How IPI can help
Licensing models can be extremely complex – but our licensing experts at IPI are here to help reduce and catch these hidden costs.
We can provide a comprehensive overview of your software and cloud estates and help you put together an overview of what applications are deployed, their usage and how they’re being licensed. We also perform our own infrastructure audits which enable us to determine what licensing you need in actuality and pinpoint areas where cost savings can be achieved or where improvements can be made. We can also perform a base cleansing to ensure you’re paying the right fee for your requirements as well as work with you to plan a roadmap that best suits your needs.
If you’d like to speak with one of our experts about your Contact Centre licensing, please get in touch with the team.
For more information, download our The hidden cost of licensing whitepaper.
Aaron has over 3 decades years experience in IT and communications, specialising in Contact Centres.
Aaron is focused on designing solutions that deliver value to our clients.