Zailab Case Study
The cloud-based contact center platform Zailab has improved resilience and performance, and lowered management overheads by going all-in with AWS. The South African company was able to standardize all its infrastructure on AWS when the AWS Africa (Cape Town) region launched in April 2020.
The underlying infrastructure, security, redundancy, and high availability of AWS helps us with enterprise customers.”
Nour Addine Ayyoub
Zailab Drives Smarter Customer Interactions with AWS
Zailab is a cloud-based platform that was born from a need to simplify the complex process of setting up and managing contact centers. The contact center industry has faced complex telephony challenges for more than a decade. For years, it required cutting edge technology to enable customer service teams to interact with customers through phone calls alone – not to mention trying to communicate over multiple channels, such as email, SMS, and webchat at the same time.
As consumer demand to interact over these multiple communication channels grew, most contact centres had to introduce third party systems to provide them with that capability. But this just further complicated the management of their infrastructure.
“Our vision was to build an enterprise-grade contact centre platform that could be accessed from anywhere, could be set up in minutes and could be managed and optimized with the help of artificial intelligence,” says Zailab CEO and founder Nour Addine Ayyoub.
AI for Smarter Customer Conversations
With no hardware or complicated setup, companies can have their contact center agents making calls to customers within minutes. “It’s all about being able to start with just an internet connection, web browser, and headset. There’s no IT hardware involved,” says Ayyoub.
The Zailab platform uses an AI-powered routing engine that automatically matches a customer interaction to the best-suited agent across all communication channels, which includes telephone, SMS, email, and chat. Behind the scenes, Zailab’s machine learning algorithms analyze data from call outcomes and customer satisfaction scores to constantly improve on this matching. Innovations, such as sentiment analysis indicate to the sales agent the probability of a successful sale in real time. This allows the outbound agents to focus on the calls that are more likely to have successful outcomes.
South Africa—the Final Piece of the Technology Jigsaw
A flexible, reliable, scalable, secure, and cost-effective technology infrastructure is essential for Zailab’s cloud-based software platform, and that’s why the company has been with Amazon Web Services (AWS) since day one supporting its customers in Africa, North America, and Europe from AWS instances in the US, South Africa, and Ireland.
To ensure the best voice quality for its African customers, Zailab rented and managed a data center in South Africa for its real-time communications (RTC) technology stack. “When you carry voice, you need to be as close to the customer as possible. If you were to try make a call from Ireland as if you were in South Africa there are bound to be some latency issues - depending on the speed of the line. Sometimes it feels normal, but we can’t afford any inconsistency,” said Ayyoub.
When AWS Africa (Cape Town) launched in April 2020, that all changed. Zailab jumped at the chance to migrate its RTC workloads from its local data center provider and go all-in on AWS. Now standardized globally, Zailab is running its entire multi-tenanted contact center solution on AWS, helping its customers to automate their contact center services.
The migration to AWS in South Africa was seamless. “We already had an RTC stack running in Ireland as well as the US, so for us it was very easy, just modifying some configurations,” says Jan Brouwers, DevOps lead at Zailab. “Within a week we had it set up.”
Greater Resilience, Better Performance, Lower Overheads
The move from an on-premises data centre to AWS Africa (Cape Town) has reduced the time it takes Zailab to build a resilient infrastructure environment from weeks to minutes. It has resulted in better consistency and performance, and lower management overheads.
One major benefit of this standardization on AWS for Zailab has come through its recent move to Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), which provides vital hyperscaling capability so that clusters can scale up automatically in response to demand.
“Being able to run just the number of instances we need instead of over-provisioning in case something goes down is a lot more cost effective for us,” says Brouwers. “We had issues sometimes with our previous provider where we would see peaks in our usage for no apparent reason and be told it’s another customer running a batch process or something. We don’t have those issues on AWS, which is good from a performance perspective.”
The worldwide availability of AWS allows Zailab to roll out its services easily and quickly in new countries—typically within two weeks. This is particularly important for a high-growth start-up with ambitions to be in every country in the world.
Security and compliance are also major benefits, with encryption for Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes and in-flight encryption on Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) instances. This removes the pain and cost of having to manually monitor certificates for expiration. “With AWS you just click a button and it’s done,” says Brouwers.
Moving Up the Ladder
But there is another major benefit of standardizing on AWS for Zailab as it looks to expand from its core SME market into larger enterprises. As it targets these customers, the underlying technology infrastructure becomes as important as Zailab’s software platform, according to Ayyoub. “It is important that we have aligned ourselves with AWS. The underlying infrastructure, security, redundancy, and high availability of AWS helps us with enterprise customers.”
This proved to be a key factor in Zailab recently winning a major contract with Vodacom, a leading South African mobile operator. “The time was almost perfect for Vodacom with AWS coming to South Africa, because Vodacom is also all-in with AWS, and so our infrastructures are aligned” says Ayyoub.
The future looks bright for Zailab as it seeks to expand globally, particularly in Africa and India. Demand for cloud-based contact centers is growing amid the rise in companies using more home-based agents, something accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. “We are now being taken seriously for the first time,” says Ayyoub. “We are starting to sign some big deals and our feature set is becoming stronger so we can now be very competitive. Our goal is to be in as many countries as possible.”
Zailab is an omnichannel cloud-based and AI-powered contact center platform that simplifies the complex processes of setting up and managing your contact centre.
Benefits of AWS
- Greater consistency
- Improved performance
- High availability
- Lower management costs
- Faster infrastructure deployment
- Scale up automatically
- Security and compliance
AWS Services Used
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) is a fully managed Kubernetes service. Customers such as Intel, Snap, Intuit, GoDaddy, and Autodesk trust EKS to run their most sensitive and mission critical applications because of its security, reliability, and scalability.
Amazon Elastic Block Store
Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) is an easy to use, high performance block storage service designed for use with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for both throughput and transaction intensive workloads at any scale.
Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.
Companies of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses every day using AWS. Learn more about components of an AWS Region in Africa and start your own AWS Cloud journey today.