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Cloud Comms Advice Hub

The Pro’s and Con’s of cloud based contact centres

8 min read
Author Business Systems UK
Date Sep 26, 2014
Category Contact Centre Optimisation

CONTACT CENTRE GUIDE BLOG: 3/9 recently published ‘The Contact Centre Guide’ which was sponsored by Business Systems. For those short on time, we created a series of blogs covering the highlights from each chapter.

Please find the 3rd in the series below.
The proportion of call centre seats in the cloud is expected to reach 18% by 2015 according to DMG Consulting. Although still not a huge number this is way up from just 2.2% in 2008. With this in mind this blog focusses on the pro’s and con’s of cloud based contact centres and provides some practical advice for consideration if it’s an area you are currently looking into.

What are the advantages of a cloud based approach?

The most obvious one is a reduction in capital expenditure, for those organisations fiercely governed by cash flow or start-ups who are not initially cash rich, the appeal of paying only for what you use and on a monthly basis can be a compelling factor.
A survey by Interactive Intelligence of 500 contact centre directors states that 28% of them believe that cloud computing has the ability to bring faster deployment in their contact centres. There is also virtually no waiting times for new features and when rolled out, they are rolled out to everyone straight away according to Magnetic North’s, MD David Ford.
There is also the idea that with cloud you are effectively outsourcing the management of the technology to a third party and consequently you’re less reliant on internal support.
As we have already discussed in previous posts the modern contact centre requires flexibility and agility to react to market changes, cloud infrastructure provides just that. Cloud technology can be shared across a whole platform regardless of agent or office location and can be quickly scaled up or down all with centralised management.
Integration in the Cloud is also increasing in appeal, organisations want to simply integrate with collaboration tools, social media tools and CRM system, providing agents with more customer data at their fingertips.

What’s stopping the other 82% moving to the cloud?

As always the biggest issue around this is ‘data security’ as cited by 43% of respondents in the Interactive Intelligence survey and a further 23% voicing concerns about lack of on-site support. The reality is that agents need full-time and real-time access to customer data and if all of the IT infrastructure has been moved to the cloud including telephony, and the VoIP connection is lost, so too is contact with the customers.
Questions need to be asked of vendors around whether they will be using dedicated or shared hosting, who is hosting the servers, what type of security is in place and where are the servers hosted. Business continuity and data recovery protocols need to be in place and organisations need to satisfy themselves that these are robust enough and in line with their own policies on the matter.

Some sage advice

It’s important to understand the reasons for moving to a cloud based deployment as well as the benefits and challenges it will bring so the organisation can fully assess whether it’s the right approach. As Donna Fluss at DMG consulting says “one take away that people need to consider is that they really should do both a total cost of ownership (TCO) and a return on investment (ROI) analysis over a three to five year period.”
When calculating costs, Klass Van Der Leest from Intelcom brings up a good point reminding people to include savings from reduced internal IT resources and also look at the potential benefits for seasonal businesses, who could reduce monthly technology costs during quieter periods.
Donna also provides some sage advice focussed around choosing the solution you want first and the partner to deliver it and only then start thinking about how you want to deploy it. You really should make sure you have the right solution that will deliver what you want it to deliver.
A final note from Van der Leest is to factor in the growing influence of social media. Analysts predict that by 2016 as many as 50% of enterprises will use social media as a customer channel as a consequence it will become the new servicing norm in a few years. So when looking at cloud solutions, social media should form an integral part of the solution rather than just be a bolt-on.