Cloud Contact Centres – Evolution or Revolution?

iStock_000074468145_SmallCloud computing is not a new idea. It has been with us as a concept since the 1960s and as a reality since the 1990s. Whilst the benefits of provisioning services from the Cloud have proven themselves over the past 10 years, some areas of IT and communications have been slower to migrate than others.

70% of CIOs and CFOs believe they are not making the most of what the Cloud has to offer. The same number believe that failing to exploit the Cloud will result in a loss of competitiveness and, ultimately, profitability. Why is it then, that some organisations still appear reticent to commit to the Cloud?

As providers of both on-premise and Cloud contact centre solutions, the reluctance to move to an environment that can improve performance and customer satisfaction whilst eliminating the need for significant capital investment is a little puzzling.

Granted, as the world becomes increasingly data driven, organisations are concerned about data ownership, location, encryption and security. Also, as that data gets bigger, there are questions around meaningful analytics, back-up and recovery.

The elephant in the room when it comes to Cloud has traditionally been security. There is more than a hint of irony here as improved security is one of the features of Cloud computing. The questions around data integrity and security are the same whether your IT sits in the Cloud, in your office or in a hybrid solution featuring both.

Cloud is big business, so data centre and cloud services providers take security very seriously; dedicating time and money to best-in-class physical and virtual security systems. Service providers are also committed to excellent SLAs, with 100% availability.

A new paradigm

The Cloud is not a place; it is a way of doing things. By moving contact centre functionality to the Cloud you are not fundamentally changing what you do. Your contact centre still features a number of agents interacting with customers. Telephone remains the most common medium but email, web chat and social interactions need to be available if a contact centre is to keep up with changes in consumer behavior and preference.

What the Cloud has done is change the economics of contact centre solutions. Moving from a Cap Ex to an Op Ex model has eliminated the need for up-front investment in hardware and has improved the scalability and flexibility of services. Improving cash flow helps organisations adapt new technologies quicker, which in turn helps them innovate and deliver a differentiated customer experience.

Hosting services in the Cloud has reduced the dependency on a single location, improving both agility and resilience. IP telephony across converged voice and data networks has brought additional benefits in terms of cost. Without a single point of failure, contact centre services can be transferred to remote or mobile locations without impacting on the customer experience.

In this increasingly connected world, web-based interactions are set to supplant voice as the preferred medium for interaction. The average customer uses three or more devices every day, with web connectivity the common factor. Online interactions can be media-rich and eliminate the need for IVR and call charges.

The modern contact centre is all about choice; offering customers a range of channels through which to communicate. Increasingly, the medium of instigation differs from the medium of resolution. Customers and prospects expect to be able to move freely between devices and media as they continue a dialogue.

The Cloud delivers ubiquitous connectivity and seamless access to contact centre services 24/7; providing greater choice and an improved customer experience. If you would like to understand more about how Cloud Contact Centres can transform your business, contact us on info@oni.co.uk or 01582 429 999.

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