Call Center Management Feature Article
November 08, 2012
Cloud-Based Solutions Improve Contact Center Management
By Amanda Ciccatelli, TMCnet Web Editor
Contact centers across the globe are experiencing a major transformation as cloud-based solutions and mobile devices are changing the way contact centers are managed, and ultimately, changing customer service strategies. Specifically in Australia, the use of cloud-based contact center solutions is expected to increase in the next three to five years, while use of traditional on-premises models will decrease.
According to Frost & Sullivan's (News - Alert) new report “Australian Contact Centre Market 2012,” a combination of changing business models and impact of enabling factors like the NBN will make cloud-based deployments the preferred model in Australia.
“While organizations value the level of control offered by on-premises models, cost constraints and flexibility requirements are causing organizations to evaluate alternative options at the time of a new deployment or upgrade, and are becoming increasingly inclined towards deploying hosted and cloud-based solutions,” said Anand Balasubramanian, industry analyst, Australia & New Zealand ICT Practice, in a statement.
The report states that cloud-based solutions threaten the traditional on-premises based model. With this shift in customer preference for hosted and cloud-based solutions, vendors will supplement their on-premises solutions with cloud-based versions.
A less visible advantage of cloud-based contact centers is the resiliency capabilities through Business Continuity Plans (BCP) and Disaster Recovery (DR) features. For example, the floods and bushfires of 2011 made organizations aware of risks of a disruption to their contact centers and the need for a BCP and DR plan to ensure a business stays operational.
Currently, existing investments on contact center infrastructure and perception among organizations are the biggest hurdles for adoption of cloud-based alternatives. However, as organizations approach renewal, they will evaluate on-premises alternatives before committing to a solution. In addition, they are less willing to commit to long contract terms given the changing nature of technology.
Frost & Sullivan estimates 2015-2016 to be the inflection point for cloud-based contact center solutions as end of contract terms and availability of high-speed Internet combine to create conducive conditions for the market to grow.
Another factor to impact the Australian contact center market is being driven by the increasing use of smartphones and tablets by consumers to contact an organization.
Audrey William, head of research, Australia and New Zealand ICT cites the proliferation of smart devices as a factor that will enable organizations to provide superior customer service. Most organizations, particularly telcos, banks and those in the retail sector, are focusing on enabling their contact center to provide a mobile experience for customers.
"This strategy provides a richer experience for the customer, and enables the organization to reduce call volumes by providing basic service functions for mobile devices," William explained. “Apart from cloud and mobility technologies, contact centers have been impacted by the rise of social media and are starting to deploy social media technologies within the contact center environment.”
Additionally, analytics and big data are trends that will shape the way organizations provide customer service. She said, "Organizations will be able to capture data from customer interactions from multiple communication channels such as voice, e-mail, Web and social media. This will allow them to customize individual service for customers."
Edited by Rachel Ramsey