ChaseData Call Center Software Blog

Open Source Dialers and Why They are a Bad Idea

Posted by Ahmed Macklai on Jun 21, 2018 7:30:00 AM

Open Source Dialers

Ever heard Linux? You’re probably this well-known operating system. Well, Linux is open source software with its source code made available to the public for editing and modification. The copyright holder maintains the license for the rights to distribute to anyone for any purpose, and open source software has been affectionately termed collaboration software by some.

Here’s what it is:

  • A software created and supported by a large community of developers.
  • A platform offering an unprecedented level of flexibility and freedom.

Small to medium size businesses often adopt open-source software because of the relatively low cost of acquisition. Some open source software can be acquired at a $0.00 price point, thereby making them very attractive. Technical support, documentation, customization and on-boarding are typically accompanied by additional costs.

The appeal of the open source system lies in its community aspect:

  • A broad base of developers stands behind this system. The thriving community built around open source dialers continuously chase improvement with fresh concepts and capabilities. They work to bring these features to market in small isolated individual teams.
  • The code for open source dialer software is usually created on multiple online forums and put through ad-hoc testing and improvements with the guidance of the community.
  • This software is created by the community, for the community. It leads to open source dialer systems being openly available and free for individual’s use. Since they require no licensing fees, it effectively cuts down on total cost and is much more efficient than software created by professional/corporate development teams.

The open source dialer system is promoted as a better, more reliable, more cost-saving alternative to private dialer systems offered by internal teams. And yet, open source systems have their particular damning limitations. Here are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider using open source call center solutions such as an open source dialer.

An Inherently Insecure Solution

More often than not, open source solutions are not secure. The code is created on online forums - all of the source code is 100% publicly available. Anyone can read the source code and identify security weaknesses engineered into the system. Hidden faulty un-vetted code poses serious security risks to every company’s sensitive client and other mission critical business information. In the context of communications, open source dialer systems are used to convey massive amounts of data at once. Such confidential information can include intellectual property, corporate data and the content of unencrypted messages or email. If this private information goes unprotected, it puts its unsuspecting users at risk of having their information intercepted by external parties. Their information may even be modified or stolen to use for others’ gain. Another concern is the possibility of cyber-criminals spreading viruses and infections through the insecure open source system.

Open Source Dialers

Higher Total Cost of Ownership

Open source solutions may seem like a cost-effective alternative to that offered by internal teams. In reality, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is very often higher than non-open source solutions. Such open source software are complex systems growing organically at the hands of a vast developer community. To build a product with open source software entails stacking multiple instances of open source together, expanding the source code to something needlessly large and complicated. The continuous compiling, debugging, and ongoing maintenance of these open source systems raise the TCO of such solutions.

With open source dialer systems, as the product starts to span across more users, there is also an increasing need for it to be compatible with local administrators, hardware, and network. The limited hardware and network options available make it necessary for end users to consider incorporating different interfaces to meet their needs. Short-term and long-term TCOs are thus significantly higher. For small or medium-sized service providers, this is where reconsidering the direction of resource flow becomes critical. It appears to be more cost-effective to focus on meeting the client’s needs and letting internal professional teams take the reigns on the crafting of the system required.

Unfocused Solution

This is where the attractive community background of open source systems backfire on them. Software built by a large committee often results in an “unfocused solution”. By and large, open source call center platforms attempt and ultimately fail to serve “many masters”. The software lacks focus and direction and only operates at maximum potential when under the guidance of highly paid experts. The style of this code allows for an unprecedented amount of freedom and flexibility, but this is heavily reliant on the ability of the administrators.

Companies prefer specially tailored solutions to their individual problems, and the open source dialer system is a one size fit all solution. The results are solutions that actually fail to deliver real-world solutions for different real-world problems faced daily by every call center.

What’s Next?

Open source solutions have proven to be not as secure, reliable or cost-effective as initially assumed, so the clear option is to return to the original form of sourcing for answers: with an internal professional team dedicated to catering to each unique client’s needs. This means turning to cost effective, secure, purpose built call center solutions like ChaseData - designed to maximize your call center’s performance.

A certain level of flexibility will still be maintained, and open communication between private vendors and clients is all that is needed to achieve the level of customization that clients desire - the same desire for customization that attracted them to open source dialer systems in the first place.

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