Which is better Direct Query or Webservice?

This is a question that is asked a lot in businesses where data needs to be extracted from various sources and collated. As technology and security increase, so too does the tightening around access and use of said data, especially within the contact centre. Traditionally, this access was analogous, and extracts could be run either by direct user access or via an application middleware, but these processes are changing.

As more and more components of contact centre solutions move to web applications, access to the data for other reporting and external teams has been moved into webservices and away from direct database access. But what is the difference in how you get your data and which method is right for your circumstance?


Most systems now have a web application and APIs that will allow some, if not all, required data to be collected and aggregated via a webservice.

WFM systems are no different but accessing this data can vary from team to team. Direct database access usually requires users or services to have direct, set access to the database. This can be deemed a security risk as these credentials can create multiple entry points to the data in the backend.

A webservice can minimise this risk by allowing an additional business layer that can handle multiple users and accounts and limit access to only what the webservice requires. Whilst this may not be for every scenario, most webservices calls are suitable for the reporting requirements for WFM, easing the security concerns that requesting a service account with direct access can put on the database.


WFM systems have been revamping to cater for shifting industry standards in how contact centres are servicing their agents and this overhaul has seen many backend changes happen over a short period of time. This requires a lot of additional work for integrated platforms and systems that connect directly to the database, which can at times result in multiple software upgrades or middleware connectors being required or changed as a result. Whilst nothing is forever, a webservice call may be a better option, giving you some flexibility in being able to change the call’s connection rather than the entire integrated system.

Direct connections may result in quicker processing which in turn are more beneficial for some basic report outputs, but integrations pertaining to some more glacial systems, such as payroll or ACD integrations, that are not likely changing, could have some more serious ramifications, with entire connectors or middleware requiring an overhaul. Being able to dynamically redirect any backend changes to these systems via the webservices, could save both time and money as you route the relevant data to the unchanged systems, for them, as if nothing had changed.


Many clients directed to one database can cause bottlenecking, slow speed, and impact overall query performance, especially in multi tenanted and large WFM environments. Traditionally, there are methods for scaling out and making the data accessible via direct connectivity – replication, shared databases repositories, etc., which all require some additional overhead and server costs. As environments start to streamline and move to SAAS models, these costs become more obvious as the other WFM infrastructures become more efficient.

As your contact centre grows, so too do the connections of integrated components and the continuous exporting of data required in near real time, making it more difficult to setup synchronised environments for external systems to access. Webservices have their own consequences, with persistent connections more common to direct access querying and slower processing times as webservices get more complex. The business layer however allows for load balancing options to help with distribution and the ability to have different versions and languages of the same service. This provides added flexibility for your environment and integrated systems based on your provider’s preferences.

In conclusion, webservices offer better security, less maintenance and better scalability when getting data from your WFM system.

Written by Leon Breakenridge – Technical Services Specialist

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