Contact Center Choices: CCaaS vs. Managed Cloud vs. On-Premises

June 18th, 2019

This blog was originally published by Telecom Reseller.

As call centers have evolved into contact centers serving multiple communication channels, legacy technology systems have increasingly faced maturity and obsolescence. Contact centers need to enhance the multi-channel customer experience by evolving with modern technologies, but today there are more choices for the decision maker. How do you decide among the options–a new on-premises system, a managed cloud service, or a CCaaS (contact center as a service) solution? Here’s a quick guide to cloud migration and eight selection criteria for identifying the approach best suited for your enterprise.

On-Premises vs. Managed Cloud vs. CCaaS: The Difference

1. On-Premises Contact Centers: This is probably what you have today–a premise-based contact center system managed and maintained internally. You paid for the hardware and software and have to manage it. Whether your system is up-to-date or needs some improvement, many enterprises have been working with the same vendor for years and may not have analyzed the market for a replacement.

2. Managed Cloud Contact Centers: A managed cloud contact center uses a “multi-instance” platform. The provider implements an instance of the same premise-based system in their own cloud data center environment. Each customer receives its own virtualized software instance on shared hardware. These contact centers offer a flexible and scalable alternative to premise-based contact centers. Benefits include:

3. CCaaS: Contact center as a service uses a “multi-tenant” environment. All customers share a common (single) software instance deployed on the provider’s own network service platform. Benefits include:

These definitions have caused confusion for two reasons. First, the terms have evolved and shifted over the years. Second, the term “cloud” can be applied to both approaches #2 and #3 above, so the term “cloud contact center” often needs more explanation.

On-Premises Contact Centers: Why Change?

So, why should you transition your contact center to cloud technology? Enterprises are increasingly moving away from premise-based communications infrastructure, because upgrades can deliver significant competitive advantages. The return on investment (ROI) can be very positive and total cost of ownership (TCO) can be lowered when compared to on-premises systems. For instance, one Masergy customer saved $2.9M after moving its global communications and contact centers to the cloud.

The following factors have a significant impact on overall costs:

Additional benefits include:

Selection Criteria: Which Solution is Best for You?

The chart below provides eight factors for comparing the three types of contact center solutions. Use this chart when presenting your initiative for executive approval.


Selection Factor On-Premises Managed Cloud CCaaS
Cost per Seat
















Cash Flow


Higher OPEX


Size/ Seat Flexibility


Up not Down


Depends on Software Used


Variable Up and Down


Staff Requirements














Change with Traffic Variations


On-Premises Technologies


Software + Data Center + Access Network


Software + Access Network


Access Network


Ease/Speed of Implementation Slow Moderate



Migrating to the Cloud: Three Steps for Preparation

In the end, modern technologies and providers should enhance your customer experience. Use this as an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction, first-contact resolution, holding times, and agent utilization. Preparation is an essential step for cloud migration readiness. When assessing the next version of your contact center, follow these steps:

  1. Evaluate your current operations. Determine how you engage with customers, the state of your employee engagement, and management practices.
  2. Outline your future business requirements and determine where you want to go. Specify your unique business objectives.
  3. Evaluate several cloud contact center solutions, focusing on the service experience, deployment practices, and case studies. Cloud migrations should protect the quality of the customer service and business continuity, be straightforward, and occur with few or no problems.

When the provider values the customer experience and has the staff and experience to deliver a seamless cloud migration, success will come easily.

Learn how Masergy helps contact centers design a seamless migration to the cloud.

Gary Audin

With more than 40+ years of computer, communications, and security consulting and implementation experience, Gary Audin is a celebrated author and IT thought leader with regular articles published by Telecom Reseller, No Jitter, TechTarget, and Webtorials. Gary has operated and managed data, LAN, and telephone networks including local area, national and international networks as well as VoIP and IP convergent networks both in the U.S. and across the globe. As a trusted consultant, he has advised domestic and international venture capital and investment bankers in communications, VoIP, and microprocessor technologies.