By Cary Bush
Has there ever been an application better suited for use in the cloud than contact center? This is definitely one that supports the business consumer in so many more beneficial ways than what they have been forced to leverage a big, bulky, expensive and complex contact center infrastructure that is normally tied exclusively to the telecom infrastructure, as well as to a specific network
The cloud has opened new doors for this technology to be readily available for businesses in need of reaching their customers more effectively. It has also created more opportunities for technology resellers to get involved, since yesterday’s call center was only available through traditional telecom channels, but today’s contact center may originate in a more diverse cross section of the industry.
One way this is happening is that it is allowing the customer experience solution to be tied more closely (even directly in some cases) to the databases that have always been a “bolt on” type of integration. The old integrations were very limiting and didn’t always allow the free flowing of information, but newer cloud-based deployments have the capacity to be directly connected to a business’ ever growing customer database (as opposed to being “directly” connected to a “PBX”).
Another way is that with a cloud-based contact center, the solution can be turned up fast and I mean really fast! Traditional deployments not only take tremendously long planning and engineering cycles (both for the customer as well as the integrator), but they can take months (and, if large enough, even years) to be fully deployed because of all the other technical dependencies required (location, network, physical infrastructure, people resources, etc.). With the speed at which technology is advancing, can an enterprise really afford the months/years to wait before they can truly “kick the tires” and see if this is something that will make a difference in their bottom line? Can they even plan effectively that way? Not in this day and age.
Probably one of the most significant ways the cloud has impacted making contact center solutions more readily available is in cost of ownership. I’ve seen businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a premises-based contact center solution all for only a few dozen agents. Literally, if you try and attach to social media channels, even up into the million dollar range when including product markup, professional services, network services and data center colo. Do you know how many years you could host a few dozen agents out of a cloud contact center solution for a million dollar capex investment? Let’s just say that expense could go for a long while in an operating budget all without the unnecessarily complex effort to install software that is going to have to be maintained and upgraded constantly. In a cloud solution, that is typically written in as an entitlement.
I could go on, but just consider a cloud provider or broker if you are looking at trying something new on the customer engagement side of your business. Truly, you can’t afford not to these days, especially when upgrades to telecom infrastructure are not required when using most cloud contact center platforms. Also, it is a perfect addition for any channel partner who is seeking to bring options of relevance to their clients.
Cary Bush is chief “cloud advocate” at Cloud Based Service Inc. and is experienced on all sides of the communications industry channel. His former roles have included leading business development efforts in the VAR realm, as well as a stint in enterprise account management with a leading communications manufacturer. Having previously served on technology and channel advisory boards, and currently evangelizing how organizations can benefit by applying cloud solutions, he voices his opinions from his mid-Tennessee “home base” as a member of the Nashville Technology Council and vice chair of his alma mater’s (Trevecca) Association of Business Professionals.