Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Effective Preplanning Before a Contact Center Migration to the Cloud Offers Double Opportunity

November 15, 2013

By now, most contact centers are aware of the benefits the cloud can bring. A cloud-based solution can improve functionality and multichannel integration, offering unprecedented flexibility across multiple sites, all while at the same time boosting efficiency, improving customer metrics and keeping costs down.

While most contact centers understand these benefits in theory, when it comes to actually implementing a cloud-based solution, the waters become muddied. There are many solutions to choose from, many feature sets and many different opinions on what constitutes “cloud-based.” In addition, different people may have different ideas about what they’re seeking. For this reason, contact centers that could readily benefit from a cloud-based platform have shied away from making the leap, largely due to a lack of education or uncertainty about making the right purchase to suit the organization.

Many contact center organizations find success by building a comprehensive action plan when it comes time to move to the cloud. This involves gathering information, ascertaining needs (both the organization’s AND the customer’s), establishing organizational buy-in, evaluating solutions and testing and training. By engaging in a fact-finding and education process before a cloud-based contact center purchase, companies can be sure they are making the right choice for their organization.

A recent Web event titled, “A Practical Guide for Moving Your Contact Center to the Cloud,” was designed to help companies do just that. Using real-world examples, experts from Gartner, DMG Research and Interactive Intelligence walked attendees through the three stages of the transition – pre-planning, vendor selection, and implementation. Included were discussions on topics such as security validation, cultural considerations, cut-over planning, data migration, and ongoing administration.

“This really is transformative for any given business,” said Interactive Intelligence’s Chief Marketing Officer Joe Staples during the event. “It invokes a lot of emotion. Typically, going in, people will have distinct opinions on whether it’s the right move. It tends to be a bit charged in the discussions that you’ll hear inside your business. So one of the important things is to really communicate early on - lay out the plan and make sure you define why you’re making these shifts to the cloud. Another point is that migration to the cloud isn’t really just an IT initiative but various parts of the business that are touched needs to be involved, as well,” he said.

One of the most important first steps in the process, said Staples, is to build a customer interaction plan. Companies need to ask themselves if they want to duplicate how they’re working with customers today or change the paradigm. They need to determine if current call flow diagrams are up-to-date and viable for the business, or whether they are outdated. How do you want your customer segments managed? What metrics are most critical to address?

These are critical steps, said Staples, because they offer a dual opportunity to improve. Not only will your organization gain efficiencies by the move to the cloud, it will also gain insight during the pre-planning process for the cloud-based solution.

“Realize that new technology does not fit old (bad) processes,” said Staples. “You just end up with the same old issues and potential dissatisfaction with your new technology.”

So when you seek a cloud-based solution, look on it as a means of throwing out the processes that don’t work, either for the organization or the customers, and move to a model that does. This way, the payback on a cloud-based solution will be doubly valuable.

Find a full recording of the Web event, including Q&A sessions, here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi