Making the business case for moving your call center to the cloud
Cloud-based contact center platforms are now reliable, secure and robust. So what is preventing brands from transitioning to the cloud?
by Heidi Miller, Chief Conversation Officer
Now that cloud technology is on the plateau of the hype cycle, solution options are generally reliable, stable and robust. However, only a small percentage of contact centers have transitioned to the cloud, despite the numerous advantages to doing so. While “the cloud” definitely figures into Buzzword Bingo, the advantages to transitioning to a cloud infrastructure persist.
Making the business case
Scalability Interestingly, Forrester has reported that, while the primary reason for cloud/SaaS transition was previously cost efficiency, it’s more common these days for the primary concern to be listed as scalability. In comparison to the on premise model, a cloud model offers a unique competitive advantage: the ability to scale operations up or down quickly and seamlessly, without the onerous purchasing cycle required for capital expenditures for premise-base equipment. In today’s contact center world, agility of operations translates to a higher value than even cost savings.
Flexibility of integration When choosing a cloud provider, analysts argue to exercise caution in order to avoid being stuck with a solution that doesn’t meet your technical requirements and business needs. Begin by listing the outcomes desired, the processes to be supported and the legacy equipment or architecture that must remain. Some cloud providers offer out-of-the-box solutions that don’t integrate well with legacy architecture; others provide custom integrations for seamless transitions. A vendor that can stand up a cloud solution in a few days might be impressive–but also might not be up for complex integrations. Before selecting a cloud provider, make sure you are fully aware of your business goals as well as your technology and integration requirements. Consider the following:
- ACDs Do you have legacy ACDs that have not yet aged out and need to be integrated into the cloud platform?
- CRM Is your CRM solution working well? Will the provider integrate with it?
- CTI Will screen pop improve the customer experience? Does your cloud provider offer custom integrations to your agent desktops?
- Remote agents Does the provider support remote agents and desktops?
- Security Are calls encrypted individually before hitting the database, or only after storage?
Total cost of ownership While cost efficiency is no longer the primary motivation for transitioning a contact center to the cloud, it is still a consideration. And pricing comparisons can be tricky, since the organization will not be purchasing the system outright, but rather usually paying a monthly fee for service under a contract as short as three years. How to do a fair cost comparison when an on premise system usually depreciates fully within five years? Fortunately, Beagle Research Group did a Total Cost of Ownership comparison that gives an idea of the cost savings over a five year period:
Of course, the way organizations determine TCO can affect the reported benefits. In a June 2011 report entitled Best Practices for Comparing Total Cost of Ownership for Contact Center as a Service vs. Premises-Based Solutions, Gartner Research analyst Drew Kraus notes
that “while there is no ‘one size fits all’ TCO model for comparing CCaaS and
premises-based solutions, we find that a comprehensive comparison model will
typically include the following cost categories: setup costs, software and hardware costs, recurring maintenance costs, communications transport costs, IT resource costs and time value of cash.”
Have you transitioned your contact center to the cloud yet? If so, where did the TCO fit in as a factor?