As Woking-based contact centre software developer Rostrvm Solutions celebrates 25 years we asked Ken Reid about the ingredients of its success and how it has seen off more than one recession!
Q: Why do you think Rostrvm Solutions has been successful in the contact centre business and continues to be so today, even during these tough economic times?
I think it’s because Rostrvm has its own research and development facility so that we can be innovative and produce products that are future-proof, which is vital with telecommunications. Our software is flexible and can be used with all kinds of hardware and other systems – hosted or on-site. Of course cost plays a part – our products provide value for money and that is only possible because we configure our software to exactly meet the needs of our customers. Rostrvm is proud of its reputation for listening to its customers.
When you design, develop and support software applications for the call centre and back office process management and reporting, you really have to be sure you come up with the right solution each time and we are experts at it.
Customers often say to us that we were the first contact centre technology supplier they spoke to who had enough experience to be able to ‘hit the ground running’ by understanding business needs instead of ‘trying to fit a square peg into a round hole’.
Q: How did Rostrvm start and what experience has it gained?
Rostrvm was established in 1986 as the technology division of a financial trading applications company, royalblue – but we actually go back further than that – to Intercom Data Systems (IDS), which was founded in 1981.
IDS were an independently-owned software company, supplying solutions to the telecommunications, financial and helpdesk industry. A noteworthy innovation by IDS was the Operator Assistance Software (OAS), one of the world’s largest computer-supported telephony applications at the time. It was used by BT’s Operator Services to deliver a wide range of call handling and information services and, crucially, was part of the digital transformation of the PSTN in the UK. The technology under which OAS operated was the precursor to Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and provided the link between an organisation’s telephony, its information systems and its people. It was essentially the first generation of the rostrvm platform that we have today.
A change of name by IDS to royalblue technologies in the mid-eighties, coupled with a new public image saw its CTI platform, rostrvm, quickly emerge as the leading UK player in the telephony software market; rostrvm and royalblue stood out in an increasingly US-dominated market.
Rostrvm Solutions retains a strong culture of independence with a clear understanding of customers’ real operational needs, with the aim of being ahead of the game and delivering clear financial benefits. We have extensive experience and a successful track record in supplying software solutions to some of the largest call handling operations in the public and private sectors.
Q: You mentioned the importance of being ahead of the game with your products so that they take customers forward …
Absolutely. Moving with the times is essential to any business but especially in communications – just look at the vast changes we have seen over the last 20 years! During the 1990s the call centre expanded from an ‘inbound’ customer service focus to incorporate proactive technologies such as the rostrvm predictive dialler. And towards the end of the 20th Century, productivity through call centre blending and support tools for call centre agents gained emphasis. New technologies such as the Internet and mobile communication have made an even bigger impact on the call centre, making it more of a ‘contact’ centre and even changing the way people work in them. The continued evolution of this industry will always be linked to the development of communication technology, and Rostrvm is working on further innovations for the future as we speak.
Q: How do you keep things fresh?
Keeping on with our research, listening to our users and having the best engineers ensure we stay ahead and that our customers trust us to provide innovative solutions for them. Our continued commitment to technological and commercial innovation led to recognition by global consulting firm Frost & Sullivan and the presentation of an award for “Global Excellence in Technology Innovation”.
Q: What next?
Our rostrvm application suite helps organisations to achieve and exceed business objectives whilst delivering personalised customer service.
The contact centre faces significant challenges; consumers want to use an increasing number of communications channels – including social media – whilst economic conditions mean that costs need to be contained. In summary more needs to be done with less.
Technologies such as rostrvm’s ResourceBroker task blending and the associated operational and management challenges will come to the forefront.