Contact centre software licensing will be a thing of the past, because contact centre services will move to the cloud within five years, according to Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise's Asia Pacific senior vice president Michael McBrien.
The company, which offers its Genesys call centre services both in the cloud and as an on-premise software-based service, has around 1000 customers in the cloud already, McBrien told journalists at the G-Force 2011 conference in Melbourne today. He said that it would encompass Alcatel-Lucent Enterprises' entire customer base by 2016.
"I think in five years time, the way people buy contact centre services and telecommunications enterprise services will be in some type of cloud," he said. "And they'll be paying as they go, paying as they use it."
He said that similar to the Salesforce model for customer relationship management software as a service (SaaS), customers will buy the service from a telco or vendor and then bring someone else in to customise it to their needs.
And although McBrien thinks that telcos are well placed to capture the call centre services market in the cloud, he said the bets were out on which type of company customers would approach to buy the services they needed.
"I have no idea who is going to win. Are you going buy that from a telco, are you going to buy all that from a HP or are you going to buy that all from an IBM, or a specialised hosted customer company that doesn't even exist yet?" he said.
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise was putting together a plan to deal with the shift to the cloud over the next five years, McBrien said, adding that the company had to figure out how to continue to sell software in the interim period.
"So how do you migrate to a model when you need to keep selling software? You go to a different market, a mid market. That's a market we don't play in."
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise's global sales leader Tom Eggemeier took a more conservative approach, saying that while cloud would be popular, some organisations would want to keep their services in-house in order to maintain control.
"I think, massively, the market is going to go that way, but I think there are still going to be customers that want that control and customisation that is not always a possibility in the cloud-based solution," he said.
Josh Taylor travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Genesys.