Face it. Call centers run on technology. It’s a fact we can’t escape, even if we wish we could. As a result we must master our technology, one way or another. Some call centers address this need for technological expertise by hiring and building out an IT and programing department. Other call centers tap existing staff who have a technological bent to fill in—the best they can—for trained computer experts. And still others hope their vendor will solve all their problems and meet every technological challenge. The first scenario is labor intensive and expensive. The second option often produces staff frustration and results in unmet technology needs. The third consideration leaves critical gaps in coverage. What’s a call center to do? Pursue a fourth option: outsourcing. You can outsource your entire IT department, outsource certain projects as they arise, or outsource specific tasks to be handled on a regular basis. Regardless of the scope or the need, here are some considerations for call center IT and programing outsourcing: Conversions, Merges, and Migrations: Switching call center platforms or migrating from one piece of software to another, often comes with a sticky database component. If you don’t convert the database or aren’t able to merge two databases, you’re faced with hundreds or thousands of hours of manual data entry. This causes staff fatigue and often results in keyboarding errors. Unacceptable. Instead outsource your database conversions, platform merges, and system migrations to IT professionals who can do this work with speed and accuracy. Don’t wear out your fingers typing when you can outsource instead. Infrastructure Buildout: Your call center software is likely scalable, but is your hardware? From adding stations to expanding servers to enhancing internet access, these tasks are best left to those who know what they’re doing. This is not the time for false starts or expensive blunders. When it’s time to expand your technology infrastructure, consider outsourcing to a team of call center technologists who have done this before and will do it for you, quickly and efficiently. With IT outsourcing you can save time and optimize results. Troubleshooting: We’ve all experienced vendor finger pointing, where vendors seem to blame each other instead of seeking to resolve the problem. Unfortunately they all have a good sounding explanation as to why they’re innocent and the other vendor is to blame. But you don’t talk tech at their level and can’t figure out who’s right and who’s wrong. And as you bounce between vendors, the problem sits unresolved. What you need is someone who can intervene and convince the vendors they must work together and stop fighting. You need to tap an outsource professional to help you work through these troubleshooting nightmares. Project Management: What if your technical staff is already maxed out and a new project comes along, a time-critical one? You don’t want to hire a new person to handle just one project, and you can’t afford to put other work on hold to focus on this new one. Yet it’s an unresolvable dilemma if you try to handle this internally. Thankfully you don’t have to. Outsource these special projects in order to not overwork your existing staff, keep current work moving forward, and finish this new project on time. IT outsourcing makes this possible. Learn more about call center IT and programing services from Call Center Sales Pro at this year’s NAEO conference, March 12-15. Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier contact center consultancy that offers IT and programing services for telephone answering services to better handle technology concerns. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-901-7706 to learn more.Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.