Call Recording Systems: Beware of Hidden Costs

I decided to buy a new TV. Not that I really needed one, but my 32’’ set seemed awfully small next to my neighbor’s slick 50’’ panel. I had done my necessary online homework, went through the dazzling selection of brands, then narrowed it down through display sizes, high-definition (HD) technologies, resolution, contrast and a dozen other terms I’ve since forgotten. Of course, I researched price as well.

Happy with my final selection, I went to purchase the TV, only to find a bunch of other costs completely neglected during the selection process. Basic service, subscription to my cable provider’s HD service, upgrade to my audio system.… My budget was quickly surpassed. And that was a simple commodity purchase. When it comes to companies purchasing an enterprise-grade call recording system, it’s no surprise to find 100+ page RFPs, covering the bits and bytes of every technical and functional component. Yet I ask, have you considered the entire big picture? Or was the long-term total cost of ownership (TCO) cliché brushed aside in favor of getting the best price today?

When it comes to call recording systems, there are many soft or hidden ownership costs that, if neglected, will lead to greater IT costs or unmet business requirements down the road. These can include server-related costs such as maintenance, power, cooling and floor space; the IT personnel needed to manage your call recording system; future needs for higher-capacity recording or changing telephony technology and architecture design, to name a few.

Industry best practices suggest that there are five key initiatives that can lower the TCO of IT systems:

  • Standardization – imposing a standard, consistent operating environment and procedures for infrastructure resources
  • Centralization – concentrating servers, data, applications and other infrastructure resources within a single location or a single point of access
  • Consolidation – merging multiple infrastructure resources such as servers, storage, applications and databases into fewer systems
  • Virtualization – running multiple physical resources such as servers or storage devices on a single, physical resource as virtual services
  • Downtime Minimization – reducing costs associated with restoring IT services after failure, lost revenue and lost employee productivity due to outages

If a call recording system you’re considering can enable even one of these capabilities—for example, if it enables you to record calls across branch locations from one central server—the big-picture cost over the life of that system may be substantially lower than the price tag might suggest.

In the recently published paper “Reducing TCO of Call Recording Systems”, we elaborate on applying these five concepts. The conclusion? When comparing two systems, don’t settle for the easy-to-measure metrics that apply only to your recording environment as it is today. Try as much as possible to explore the less tangible cost factors and how the capabilities of the system you purchase impact your IT ecosystem over time. Whether it’s a TV or a call recording system, the results might surprise you.

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