Contact center in the cloud: The value of choosing your own path and timing

BrandPost By Steve Forcum
Nov 02, 2020
Cloud Computing

Along with the ability to offer better customer service, a cloud-based contact center offers several vital benefits.

istock 1169501134
Credit: iStock

Despite the widely recognized benefits of transitioning contact center operations to the cloud, many companies remain concerned that such a transition could disrupt day-to-day operations. It’s true that any move to a new platform or application paradigm involves some element of risk. However, the question these businesses really need to ask is whether sticking with their on-premise solutions presents more risk than moving to the cloud.

Many companies have made exactly that assessment and are making massive technology shifts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent Avaya survey, for instance, found 71% of companies are adopting new technologies faster than ever before, especially because of the need to support at-home employees and contact center agents.

To determine whether the transition to a cloud-based contact center is the right move, a company should start by clearly laying out the risks and rewards of the current on-premise solution vs. a cloud-based offering. Then, if a transition to the cloud is the better option, it is essential to ensure the chosen cloud-based solution will allow the company to control its own path and timing for the implementation to avoid disruption.

Risk and reward: Cloud vs. on-premise contact centers

On-premise contact center technology does limit a company’s options for improving contact center operations, supporting remote agents, and improving the customer journey. Most of these solutions work best when agents are centrally located and primarily support direct customer calls to live agents, which can play havoc when creating schedules. Trying to do more than this, such as enabling agents to operate from their homes and integrating more advanced technologies like AI, can be complicated and expensive. Meanwhile, customer frustration with limited hours of support and long call queues can tarnish the brand and increase agent burnout.

Along with the ability to offer better customer service, a cloud-based contact center offers three vital benefits:

Faster Innovation – In an on-premise world, adding new capabilities, such as a virtual assistant for customers to connect with, may require weeks or months just to implement a proof of concept. If the proof of concept fails, the business is stuck with testing infrastructure that has little reusability. If the proof of concept is successful, there is yet another time-consuming procurement and implementation cycle to move into production. In the cloud, implementation can start immediately upon signing up for the service and testing a new capability can be accomplished without buying or deploying any infrastructure. If the proof of concept or test campaign is successful, scaling into production can occur instantly.

Greater efficiency – On-premises, if customer requirements change or capabilities or licenses are no longer needed, the company is likely stuck with idle capacity. The cloud makes it easy to add or subtract capabilities or licenses simply by checking or unchecking boxes in an admin interface. This makes it possible to right-size deployments and repurpose budget elsewhere.

Queue reduction – Contact center wait times have grown out of control, and on-premise technology limits the strategies that can be used for managing call volume. Cloud-based contact center solutions, however, can easily lower wait times with AI-powered assistive technology. This technology can understand a caller’s issues and provide agents with recommended solutions based on access to other systems and databases across the enterprise. This dramatically shortens calls and improves customer experiences, as callers are no longer connected with agents who seem to know less than the caller. This is also a company’s best weapon against agent burnout; happier agents lead to happier callers which results in compounded success.

Choosing the right path and timing for moving to the cloud

Once a company has made the decision that transitioning to a cloud-based contact center involves far less risk than staying on-premise, it is important to take the following steps to determine the correct path and pace of change:

  • When considering a cloud-based contact center, it’s important to evaluate both the product and the cloud supplier’s commitment to ongoing innovation. Lay out the short- and long-term objectives and requirements – What challenges need to be fixed today? Does the cloud-based solution, as proposed, offer all the capabilities that will be required currently? Consider your long-term needs – do you trust that the solution provider will continue to invest in innovation, delivering features and functionality which will meet not only the long term objectives identified but also those which you haven’t realized yet?
  • Determine which applications are required to support the evolving customer journey – Most companies don’t immediately need all the applications that some contact-center-in-the-cloud service providers bundle in their offering. Make sure the cloud-based solution breaks apart its services, so capabilities can be implemented only when they are needed.
  • Decide on the right department or campaign for the proof of concept – Many companies start with the IT Helpdesk, for example, because this lets them test the capabilities and adoption of the service without impacting customers.

Finding the right path to the cloud is the best way to ensure buy-in, control costs, and eliminate the possibility of disruption to the business. It will also reveal if the one-size-fits-all solution that most vendors offer really fits the needs of the company.

Avaya OneCloud CCaaS

Recognizing that every business has unique needs, Avaya has taken an innovative approach to its cloud-based contact center. Avaya OneCloud CCaaS is an all-in-one, AI-powered contact center service offered on a subscription model. OneCloud CCaaS lets customers connect how and when they want by delivering effortless, seamless and context-driven personalized experiences across every touchpoint. As a subscription service, Avaya OneCloud CCaaS allows companies to choose the right subscription level and easily right-size the number of licenses to meet their evolving needs, including occasional bursts in demand.

In addition, Avaya goes beyond feature and license flexibility to support different infrastructure models. For companies needing to achieve cost efficiency and massive scalability, Avaya, like other vendors, has a public cloud option. But for companies that can’t rely on a multitenant data center, Avaya also offers a private cloud option. For many customers the decision to move to a cloud-based service isn’t the hard part, it’s the timing on when to move due to various contract end dates. Avaya has an option that allows companies that are stuck under these existing contracts to convert existing infrastructure to a subscription-based model, which empowers companies to leverage their existing investment and continue the migration to cloud based solutions without redundant expenditures.

For more information on how Avaya can let you choose the right path and timing for your journey to the cloud, read the Avaya Collaborate from Anywhere report.