How to figure out if the cloud is right for your contact centre

The benefits of cloud-based contact centres are many, but it's not necessarily a cure-all

 How to figure out if the cloud is right for your contact centre

The contact centre is one technology market that is rapidly evolving to a cloud service model – from agility and cost-effectiveness, to increased versatility and scalability – but there are things about migration that you may not know.

It’s not necessarily a cure-all solution

The key thing to remember with cloud services is that it is not the answer to all of your problems. Cloud means different things to different organisations, especially based on their specific business requirements, desired outcomes and industry sector.

In the contact centre space, cloud platforms were initially adopted by small-scale operations but this has since expanded to organisations of all sizes. One of the main advantages of deploying a cloud-based solution is the reduction in cost as it negates the need for on-premise hardware and specialist IT personnel to maintain it. Cloud providers have the resources and expertise to manage the solution and provide the required security controls around it.

> See also: Building the future-proof contact centre

A further benefit is that a cloud-based contact centre has the ability to react to seasonal changes more quickly and can scale down as well as up. In addition management is also more effective, and cloud solutions can also include excellent disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities.

Is cloud right for your business?

Migrating to the cloud might not necessarily be the right move for your business so careful planning and consideration is required. Organisations need to properly define their objectives, business outcomes and organisational requirements to gain a comprehensive view of the company. Once this has happened, the requirements can be matched to the right cloud solution.

An on-premise solution may be a better choice if an organisation has no plans for expansion, has the budget for a large capital investment and aims to keep the solution for longer than three years.

However, cloud-based platforms are ideal for companies that have limited capital, have multiple sites and are planning on upgrading or scaling up / down operations throughout the year.

Private or public cloud

Of course choosing the right solution also includes a discussion on whether private or public cloud platforms are best for your business. Private cloud is delivered as a single tenant and provides maximum security in the fact that no other companies data and business policies are co-mingled. Public cloud, on the other hand, deploys all features from a single instance to multiple tenants. Both private and public cloud services are served from the cloud service provider’s infrastructure and resources.

There is also a hybrid solution. Hybrid cloud sees you making use of the cloud provider’s infrastructure, like gateways or media servers, deployed on your local network. This ensures that all data is essentially kept on premise and is ideal for organisations that prefer this level of control for either legal or compliance reasons.

Are there hidden costs?

Many businesses have discovered that there can potentially be a number of hidden costs to cloud computing that may lead to an overall increase in expenditure. When a company signs up for a cloud computing service, the most common contracts are for a set cost per user per month, for a fixed duration. Ideally, any so-called ‘hidden costs’ that might be expected from a service should be included in this rate.

> See also: The 7 myths of cloud contact centres

The key is that providers still offer a known fixed price for any bespoke or customisation work as this is the main area where many of the cost ‘surprises’ tend to creep in. It’s not about the usage costs – the hidden costs come in with any integration or development which may be required, in fact, any kind of customisation of the solution.

Overall, cloud is particularly beneficial for the contact centre environment. However, the key in taking advantage of these benefits is ensuring that cloud, and particularly the specific chosen solution, is the right option for your business. Beyond that, making sure it will enable you to drive the required business outcomes and deliver the best possible customer experience, will ultimately ensure your success in the cloud.

Sourced from Dave Paulding, Interactive Intelligence

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