Call Center Technology

Contact Centers, Unified Communications, the Cloud and You

By Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor  |  May 22, 2012

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine.

Below is a list of the things that are always top of mind for IT professionals regarding the purchase of technology solutions.

The list:

Alignment with overall strategic enterprise business objectives
Compliance and corporate governance
Risk management
Workflow and process optimization
Return on investment
Total cost of ownership

It should be noted that metrics and analytics are also important.

In contemplating the transformation of contact centers from their traditional roles as customer touch point corporate outposts to being core components in business process optimization, the list items have never been more relevant. Indeed, in the era of the cloud, the delivery of computing and communications as services, the intense focus on these items has become paramount as enterprise strain to keep up with dynamic market changes that are forcing technology purchasing to reach tipping points.

In short, information regarding the list items, inputs and outputs, are integral to the evaluation, consideration and decision whether to proceed about if, when, how, where, when, why and with whom a cloud-based contact center solution is right for your organization. But, where should you start in the process that can lead you to make the best decision for your enterprise?

We who care deeply about contact center solutions are constantly flooded with information about industry developments. That is a great thing. Ask any suppliers, and they will tell you that educated consumers are their best customers. However, the world is moving so fast in our space sometimes it can seem overwhelming without context.

IT professionals in business of all sizes have the challenge of sifting through the trends, news, buzz, and a raft of marketing and collateral materials and filtering all of it. Their challenge is to arm themselves so they can make the right decisions for their organization, and provide the best rationale possible to management, about what to do next and in what order, as the pace of/need for contact center transformation accelerates.

At a high-level there is now basic awareness that moving to the cloud offers compelling benefits, including increased flexibility, faster deployment times, minimal upfront capital expense, less stress on IT resources, and bringing remote workers the full capabilities of premises-based systems.

We have all seen the market studies about the tsunami of traffic heading toward enterprises, and how contact centers will be a critical place where the waves break as customers choose to interact with entities using the full suite of enriched media capabilities and are socially engaged. Less talked about are the waves of interactions this will set off across enterprises, their ecosystems and with customer outreach. However, this high-level understanding only goes so far. It does not answer the key question as to whether a cloud implementation (public, private or hybrid) fits the unique requirements of any given organization. 

Knowledge can be power, but having the right knowledge is key.

Is the cloud right for you?

Which cloud is the right one?

Is now the time to be migrating your contact center to the cloud?

What are the costs, benefits, risks best practices you need to know as you do further homework?

In thinking about the cloud and contact centers where can/should unified communications fit?

How can you present to your management a meaningful comparison of all of the alternatives?

Edited by Stefania Viscusi