Outsourcing Glossary: L-R

 

L

Labor Arbitrage
In economics, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a state of imbalance between two (or possibly more) markets: combinations of matching deals are struck that exploit the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices. Thus in Labor Arbitrage equivalent labor resources are purchased in one country and sold at a different rate in another country.

Law of Diminishing Returns
The declining marginal improvements in service level that can be attributed to each additional agent, as successive agents are added.

Longest Available Agent
A method of distributing calls to the agent who has been sitting idle the longest. With a queue, Longest Available Agent becomes Next Available Agent.

M

Middleware
Software that mediates between different types of hardware and software on a network, so that they can function together.

Modem
A contradiction of the terms Modulator/Demodulator. A modem converts analog signals to digital and visa versa.

N

Network Control Center
Also called Traffic Control Center. In a networked service center environment, where people and equipment monitor real-time conditions across sites, change routing thresholds as necessary, and coordinate events that will impact base staffing levels.

Network Inter-flow
All rights reserved. A technology used in multi-site Service Center environments to create more efficient distribution of call between sites. Through integration of sites using network circuits (such as T1 circuits) and ACD software, calls routed to one site may be queued simultaneously for agent groups in remote sites.

Next Available Agent
A call distribution method that sends calls to the next agent who becomes available. The method seeks to maintain an equal load across skill groups or services. When there is no queue, Next Available Agent reverts to Longest Available Agent.

Noise Canceling Headset
Headsets equipped with technology that reduces background noise.

Non-core competency
Any process that does not generate income or help your organization increase its market share. Non-core processes should be outsourced, allowing the organization to realize financial and competitive advantages by reallocating internal resources to focus on core competencies.

O

Occupancy
Also referred to as agent utilization. The percentage of time agents handle calls versus wait for calls to arrive. For a half-hour, the calculation is: (call volume x average handling time in seconds) / (number of gents x 1800 seconds).

Offshore
An outsourcing term describing the provision of services from a country that is geographically remote from the client enterprises — for example, services provided to a U.S. enterprise from a service provider located in the Philippines. Offshore outsourcing or ‘offshoring’ is outsourcing overseas or in a separate country. Outsourcing to a contiguous country may be considered near shore outsourcing.

Off The Shelf
Hardware or software programs that are commercially available and ready for use as it is (‘Plug and Play’).

Offered Calls
All of the attempts callers make to reach the service center. There are three possibilities for offered calls, they can either get busy signals, be answered by the system, but hang up before reaching an agent, or an agent can answer them. Offered call reports in ACD’s usually refer only to the calls that the system receives.

Outsourcing
Outsourcing is the management and/or day-to-day execution of a business function by a third party service provider. Outsourcing can be provided on or off premises, in the same country or in a separate country.

Out-tasking
Turning over a narrowly defined segment of business to another business, typically on an annual contract, or sometimes a shorter one. This usually involves continued direct or indirect management and decision-making by the client of the out-tasking business.

P

PBX/ACD
A PBX that is equipped with ACD functionality.

Peaked Call Arrival
A surge of traffic beyond random variation. It is a spike within a short period of time.

Percent Allocation
A call routing strategy sometimes used in multi-site Service Center environments. Calls received in the network are allocated across sites based on user-defined percentages. See Network Inter-flow.

Portal
Originally a gateway Web site such as Internet directory Yahoo, which web surfers use to find their way to a particular destination. The word is now also used to describe almost any busy web site.

Predictive Dialing Equipment
The number of calls initiated is greater than the number of agents available, but uses pacing algorithms to predict when agents will become free. Reduces the risk of no agents available to connect. Agents do not see whether the number they have called is engages etc.

Preview Dialing
The Agent can see whether the number they have called is engaged, disconnected, answering machine etc.

Preview/Screen Dialing
The agent initiates their next call from their computer screen. The computer than requests the telephone system to make the call. Sometimes a list of numbers and relevant information is updated for the agent who selects which number to call next.

Private Automatic Branch Exchange (PABX)
System providing telephone call switching to an organization or even several locations. Connects extensions to extensions and extensions to and from public networks. Also known as PBX, Switch.

Private Network
A network made up of circuits for the exclusive use of an organization or group of affiliated organizations. Can be regional, national or international in scope and are common in large organizations.

Profit Center
An accounting term that refers to a department or function in the organization that generated profit.

Project plan
A management document describing the approach taken for a project. The plan typically describes work to be done, resources required, methods to be used, the configuration management and quality assurance procedures to be followed, the schedules to be met, the project organization, etc. Project in this context is a generic term. Some projects may also need integration plans, security plans, test plans, quality assurance plans, etc.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)
The public telephone network which provides the capability of interconnecting any home or office with any other.

Q

Quality of service
Quality of service is a measure of the ability to control and assign network bandwidth to specific traffic so as to provide predictable levels of IP-based data throughput based on the importance of the business process associated with that traffic.

R

Request for Information (RFI)
An RFI is a document that requests prospective service providers to provide general information on their business capabilities and strengths, typically in response to a set of requirements.

Request for Proposal (RFP)
An RFP is a document that requests prospective service providers to propose terms and conditions for a solution (or solutions) addressing a set of requirements.