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Apathy? No, just moved on…..

For much of my network at least, the LinkedIn conversation has moved on in the last 48 hours to the release of the latest Gartner Quadrant for Contact Centre Infrastructure report.

While it makes a refreshing change from alleged GDPR and ransomware expertise, it does seem to have divided the community in two:

  • those who are engaged in discussion/celebration on the increasingly echoing atmosphere of the top right quadrant, with past greats like Avaya falling out, and
  • those who, frankly, no longer care and thus stay silent. They are, I am sure, not apathetic on the momentum in the customer contact arena; it’s more that they have moved on – with the reason being that word infrastructure.

For them, and the team here, many more interesting things are happening on different Gartner Quadrants such as Contact Centre as a Service and Unified Communications as a Service. There, true cloud players are delivering some great solutions that it simply aren’t possible to on legacy infrastructure. even when teamed up with that ultimate “cloud enabler” – Microsoft Excel. But, transition to the cloud involves far more than sprucing up a commercial model on a spreadsheet and sticking it as a thin veneer in front of tin, multiple discrete instances, support contracts and engineering teams.

Here’s a few thoughts on the benefits of genuine cloud communications from a few our current customer transformations.

Resilience and security – the vast majority of customers do not have the budget to build full redundancy for themselves, the geographic footprint or dedicated teams that go into ensuring and financially guaranteeing uptime. In turn, such a deployment offers many other benefits such as disaster recovery and continuity, options around data sovereignty and many more.

Flexibility – having tried myself for many years, the ability to offer genuine “pay as you use” pricing on traditional technology is hard, often stifled by the OEMs appetite for selling spare capacity to meet theoretical peaks. Now, however, we have customers who can self-configure their contact centres to grow 3 or 4 fold for a matter of weeks, before releasing that cost as soon as the peak subsides.

Feature currency – in the past, upgrades were expensive, infrequent and required a lot of planning. A true cloud platform will see all its users on a single multi-tenant version of the code, and frequent releases bring new features within the standard charges. This agile approach to the platform’s enhancement also means that customer-requested features can be delivered at speed, rather than being lost in arcane and lengthy processes.

Power to the user – the emphasis on user experience in developing these platforms has multiple benefits – adoption is higher, training time and cost is reduced and, crucially, support happens far earlier in the chain. The end-user can resolve many of their own queries and configuration choices, internal support teams can cover more ground, and third party exposure is materially reduced – giving faster resolution at lower cost. The same applies to deployment, where much of the effort is not only reduced but can be self-provisioned within the customer’s business. Coupling this approach with the absence of hardware leads to a material reduction in Capital Expenditure, an increasingly scarce resource in many businesses.

Open architecture – building from the start with a focus on open APIs makes the extension and integration of the communications environment into core business applications far simpler, and importantly removes custom interfaces as a barrier to the future upgrade of individual applications. Many of our current projects are focussed on interaction management, surfacing rich data from multiple areas in the business and presenting them in a unified fashion to an agent; using that as an enabler to presenting richer self-service opportunities to their end customers.

Multiple channels with a single view – many of the benefits above come together to enable a genuine multi-channel view, with scheduling, workflow and reporting across everything from voice and SMS to Facebook Messenger and email in one place and visible.

The theory is all very well, what’s more important is that your business can access these benefits in “real life”. Joining some great examples of the real benefits of cloud contact centre, we’ve just published our latest case study on deploying Enterprise Telephony as a Service.

It describes a FTSE250 PLC with a disparate network of offices that was seeking to use the power of cloud telephony to reduce costs, improve resilience, regain control and then use common insights to disseminate best practice across multiple businesses. To quote our customer:

“The platforms have proven to be very reliable and easy to use, the support and advice we’ve been given has been fantastic and it’s really enabled us to up our game.”

Click here to read the full story, or get in touch with me directly if you’d like to discuss it personally.