While 2012 was a subdued year for the Asia-Pacific contact center applications market, steady growth is expected after 2013 as the region shakes off the lingering effects of the global economic downturn.
The need for innovative functionalities and the replacement of old systems that no longer deliver sufficient value will drive upgrades and investment in advanced applications. Continued deregulation in the region, along with development of verticals such as online retail, telecommunications, government, education, and banking, financial services and insurance will see boost in customer services demand.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Asia-Pacific Contact Center Applications Market, finds that the market recorded revenues of US$703.1 million in 2012. In order to meet raising customer demand, the region is likely to see increasing investment to help the market grow to US$1,160.8 million in 2019.
Japan and Australia, the two largest markets contributed over 44 percent of the total revenue in 2012. By 2019, India and China are likely to account for over 31 percent of the total market revenue.
Due to the uncertain economic outlook as, many businesses have stalled plans to replace legacy systems as capital budgets remain tight.
Responding to the explosive growth of social media, many companies also eschewed investment in their agent-facing applications in favor of experiments involving customer forums, mobile applications, and other emerging customer channels. The availability of cloud-based options that offer a viable alternative to traditional technology further curbs sale volumes of premised based contact center applications.
"With limited green field opportunities, vendors have turned their focus to upgrades and new technology advancements," says Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies Research Manager Krishna Baidya. "Solution providers are helping enterprises to offer seamless service experience across myriad of channels to their customers. This is also meant to integrate existing systems with new channels of communication and business applications to effectively manage the increasing use of multi-modal customer contacts."
Since, most Asia-Pacific markets continue to be price-sensitive; the pressure to be cost-effective continues to emphasize on optimisation of contact center operations. This in results boosted demand for optimisation tools such as workforce optimisation (WFO) tools as well as analytical tools that helps understand customer interactions better. Adoption of such tools will help sustain the growth during the forecast period.
Growth patterns may also vary greatly across countries in the region. Enterprises with a presence in multiple countries in Asia-Pacific have consolidated their contact centers to more competitive strategic locations, such as the Philippines and Malaysia. Such consolidations have boosted optimization and maintained the quality of customer care, thereby widening market potential.
The BFSI and Telco sectors dominated investment during last year. The government sectors in Australia, Singapore, Japan, India and Malaysia have shown significant demand in line with their push for enhanced citizen services. Investment per seat continued to be higher in relatively matured markets, where pricing as well as the sophistication of applications are higher than the emerging markets.
"Despite the economic downturn's effect on the buying patterns in the Inbound Contact Routing (ICR), IVR, and outbound markets, all performance optimisation segments (in particular analytics) witnessed good growth," remarks Krishna.
Krishna notes that available budgets were used to purchase analytics tools that help businesses save money, decrease churn, and improve customer relationships—all classic contact center drivers.
"Business cases for social networking activities in support of customer contact are just emerging. So, support for social networking has become a high priority for early-adopter enterprises, particularly large business-to-consumer (B2C) enterprises," says Krishna.