The cloud is calling- All that changed when Covid-19 struck, and swathes of employees were forced to decamp to their homes. Business continuity plans were swiftly actioned, and it was up to IT to ensure they had the hardware and software in place to work effectively at a time when many, notably banks, saw call volumes increase exponentially.
The crisis undoubtedly exposed the operational risks facing some firms due to legacy on-premises systems, not easily transferable to other locations. It certainly put them at a disadvantage compared to those who already had a cloud contact center platform and were able to move from office to remote working with ease.
According to our research, 60 percent of companies say they will have agents working from home for the foreseeable future. Beyond the pandemic, we could see a rise in virtual contact centers as they look to reduce costs, increase flexibility and recruit more widely.
Companies increasingly depend on the data-driven insights and rapid reporting functions available through their business software. Yet even if the wider C-suite (and not just the CTO and CIO) buys into the vision, their enthusiasm is sometimes tempered by fears that a full cloud deployment will be costly and disruptive.
Instead, they might tread the middle ground, agreeing for you to apply cloud functionality on top of legacy systems, such as a basic web portal. However, this ‘sticking plaster’ approach only prolongs the problems caused by legacy systems, namely lack of integration, high maintenance costs and siloed data.
As long as there is a clear strategy in place, full cloud deployment improves processes without exposing an organization to unnecessary risk. An open architecture cloud contact center means you don’t have to replace existing customer experience (CX) systems wholesale but can instead gradually move key operations and applications to the cloud. Then, over time, you integrate other systems and processes according to resources and budgets.
As you migrate more applications to the contact center cloud platform, you start to create a data-driven, resilient and agile business. This enables managers to reconfigure business processes quickly in response to new opportunities and challenges, including changing CX demands. They gain real-time insights that allow them to address issues quickly and make continuous improvements. Last, but not least, they save time thanks to automated workflows across different applications, which reduces complexity and vendor management.
The evolution of cloud contact centers
We’ve come a long way from the early SaaS applications, even if they were an improvement on some on-premises systems.
The problem was these applications tended to be architected for lighter applications, such as websites, rather than data-heavy enterprise systems. Integrating a CRM and ERP, for example, is likely to be complex, slow and would still require some on-premises deployment. Costs could mount up too due to the frequent updates and system validations required.