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Talkdesk Boost turns legacy ACDs into cloud contact centers

Large businesses that aren't yet ready to abandon legacy call routing can now link that equipment to the Talkdesk cloud contact center through a SIP trunk.

A new product from Talkdesk lets businesses add cloud technologies to their contact centers without abandoning legacy telephony equipment. Talkdesk Boost is the startup's latest attempt to penetrate the enterprise market by offering more flexibility to larger customers.

Thousands of large businesses use on-premises automatic call distributors (ACDs) to route calls to customer service agents. Companies are often reluctant to discard that equipment because it was expensive to buy -- and because they have customized it over the years to meet their needs.

With Talkdesk Boost, businesses connect ACDs to the cloud via a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunk, giving agents access to Talkdesk's full suite of contact center technologies, including its agent desktop.

The setup will let businesses take advantage of cloud technologies, such as AI agent assistance and speech analytics, while safeguarding investments in legacy ACDs. The move by Talkdesk underscores that many large businesses are still not ready to fully move to the cloud.

"A lot of the cloud contact center vendors just think it's manifest destiny that everybody moves to the cloud," said Zeus Kerravala, analyst at ZK Research, based in Westminster, Mass. "The reality is cloud adoption has been largely down-market. ... For the most part, large enterprises have stuck with their legacy approach."

Talkdesk targets legacy Avaya, Cisco customers

Avaya and Cisco previously dominated the market for ACDs, and both companies are now trying to sell cloud contact center products to their legacy customers. Talkdesk Boost could help the upstart gain a foothold among the same clientele.

The new product, available this week, relies on Talkdesk xConnect, a SIP trunking service released earlier this year. Talkdesk xConnect links the Talkdesk cloud to on-premises public branch exchanges (PBX) and the networks of telecommunications carriers.

"The approach that Talkdesk has taken lets customers keep their assets as long as they want but still enjoy the benefits [of cloud]," Kerravala said. "It gives you that modernized experience without having to upgrade all of your back-end infrastructure."

Businesses pay a monthly fee for each user of Talkdesk Boost that's equivalent to the price of Talkdesk's cloud contact center and xConnect offerings -- minus the pricing of calling minutes handled by the ACD.

Talkdesk plans additional flexibility measures

Talkdesk's roadmap includes plans to let businesses choose the geographic location of the cloud data centers they use. This is a control often sought by global enterprises, particularly since the enactment of the GDPR.

Talkdesk will also soon give customers more flexibility to choose among the three leading cloud providers: Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Currently, Talkdesk relies primarily on AWS.

In a report this past fall, Gartner cautioned that Talkdesk had limited experience supporting large businesses and lacked the brand recognition of competitors. The report listed Five9, Genesys and NICE inContact as the leaders of the cloud contact center market.

More recently, Talkdesk landed a partnership with Mitel that will help it sell cloud contact center technologies to Mitel's 70 million users, one of the industry's largest bases of existing customers.

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