Although cost efficiency could be one of the primary reasons for moving your contact center to the cloud i.e. adopting cloud-based applications, it is certainly not the only benefit that you would derive by doing so. A lot of experts and members of a company management take a short term, myopic view as a result of which they can miss out on all the other wonderful opportunities that await them for transforming their on-premise contact centers to cloud-based ones.
Spoken has cited a recent report from Research and Markets which states that cloud-based contact center business which stood at $4.68 billion in 2015 could emerge into a $14.71 industry by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 25.7%. The report also states that cloud is allowing companies to increase their allocation of funds to increase operational efficiency even as though the capital expenditure is on the decline as adoption of cloud means that there is lesser dependence on infrastructure. The financial benefit is what is primarily driving the change.
That is a very healthy picture indeed. This article however, aims to discuss some of the non-cost efficiency based factors which could influence adoption of the new technology.
A contact center has to be agile and adaptive. It will have to mold itself according to the demands of modern business. A company will need to analyze its strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities to understand not only how it can survive but also grow. The ultimate aim of a contact center is to provide high quality customer service that not only impresses them but also empowers them so that they understand about their problem and feel confident enough to solve it themselves after they get adequate guidance from the contact center.
Communication plays an important role here. Not just how a message is delivered and received but the modus operandi is also important. Cloud makes it possible to end silos between different departments and mediums of communication and bring synergy to efforts. Transition from one medium to another is also effortless. But question is, is it right for your business.
Why should TCO not be the only factor that is taken into consideration?
Dependence on total cost of ownership (TCO) alone when debating the benefits of cloud-based technology speaks of short-sightedness. There are some advantages and opportunities that are not effectively captured by TCO. In this regard, TCO is a very limited accounting concept. Benefits in terms of increased security in transmission, data protection, flexibility in terms of operation, increased customer convenience, easier integration with other worldwide communication standards, easier integration with existing infrastructure, operational efficiency, increase in agent productivity, etc are some of the factors that are not reflected by TCO.
There is also a loss of revenue from a number of on-premise processes and systems that are not scalable. These should also be taken into consideration while debating the benefits of contact centers in the clouds.
Some of the other factors
- Scalability: If you are adopting a cloud based technology, you will have to find out whether it is scalable. An on-premise contact center may have fixed costs and is not good at handling any changes in business. But, if you are investing in cloud, you need to know whether it can handle increase or decrease in call volumes or queries made through other media. Find out about the pricing model of the vendor. Can you enjoy the cost benefits if the volume of incoming query fluctuates? If you are a marketing firm, can the cloud based ecosystem help you to enjoy benefits during certain periods like festivals when you send more offers to your valued customers through tele-calls, emails, etc? Cloud innately has all these featuresbut you should still ask your vendor before signing the contract.
- Steps taken against disruption during transition: You will need to ask the vendor upfront whether the transition can cause any kind of disruption to your business or create inconveniences for the customers who are already facing a particular problem and turning to your call center for help. Will the transition go smoothly? If there is disruption, then for how long? Try to project the revenue loss that you may have to face. Ask your finance department to make extensive investigations to find out the long term benefits against the loss that you will be bearing in the short term. It is best to avoid disruption altogether. One more approach could be to transition in a phased manner so that there is not too much load on the new system suddenly.
- Security concerns: Cloud is providing a lot of security benefits. But you must remember that you are dealing with highly sensitive data and information of hundreds and thousands of your customers who have shared it with you with the belief that they would never be compromised. You will have to make sure that there is no chance of a breach. Trust once lost is almost impossible to regain.
Once you find answers to these questions, you will know whether you are ready for a transition to cloud-based technology or whether you are better off with your on-premise contact center.