Is an Avaya hybrid cloud right for your call center?

Spoken | August 9, 2016

Choosing the right Avaya cloud for your organization

If you’ve been keeping up with technology trends, you are well acquainted with the cloud and the advantages that it can offer for your contact center, including business agility, scalability and cost savings. However, one of the challenges we run across is that very few contact centers are green field implementations: almost every contact center already has some type of existing legacy infrastructure, very often an Avaya system. And with that comes the question: how can I transition to the cloud without losing the benefits of the sunk costs in my legacy infrastructure?   As part of our series of cloud trends unfolding in 2016, it’s time to finally address the concept of a hybrid cloud for Avaya users and why, when and where a hybrid cloud strategy is best applied.

The promise of the hybrid cloud “Hybrid” is used to refer to a cloud solution that is something other than 100% public, multitenant cloud. As we know, a cloud solution is one that is hosted on remote servers. Hybrid refers to a cloud environment that uses some type of mix of premise-based infrastructure, private cloud or third-party, public cloud services with some type of connection among the platforms. Organizations opt to implement hybrid clouds for a number of reasons, including data security and optimization of legacy infrastructure.

Premise-based infrastructure

Purchased outright by the organization and housed on the organization’s preferred colocation. Many of Spoken’s customers, for example, have existing Avaya on-premise equipment and are interested in transitioning it to the Spoken Avaya cloud platform. Premise-based infrastructure has the advantage of being private; however, it is costly to purchase, expensive to maintain over time and difficult to scale when more volume is needed.

Public cloud

Refers to cloud services that house multiple tenants, referred to as “multi-tenant.” Gmail, DropBox and Amazon Web Services are examples of public clouds. They generally offer high levels of security, scalability and cost-efficiency, since the vendor develops a large host of servers and provides cloud services to a variety of tenants on them. It’s simple to scale up or down if your call volume increases or decreases, and there is no large capital outlay to a cloud contract, since you’re paying for services only.

Private cloud

Refers to a single-tenant cloud platform that is implemented for a single organization. A private cloud offers the key benefits of cloud with the added benefit (and drawbacks) of outright ownership. However, it also offers the key disadvantages of premise-based infrastructure, since it must be built and customized for a single company. This model is sometimes called “managed services,” since the company purchases the infrastructure for its private site, while the cloud vendor maintains the equipment providing the service.

Three helpful steps for your cloud transition

Step 1: Take inventory

The first step in determining which type of platform will work best for your situation is to take inventory of your current infrastructure. The contact center is a complex web of integrated systems: the ACD, CRM, call recording, IVR and reporting structures must be kept up and running through any transition process.

For example, if you have existing Avaya licenses and infrastructure, you probably want to retain that legacy system and select a vendor that can do a cloud or hybrid cloud implementation as a wrapper over your existing system.

  • Which critical systems must be retained? Why?
  • Which systems have contracts expiring soon?
  • Which systems would most benefit from a cloud transition?
  • Which systems would cause the least disruption with a cloud transition?
  • What will your business look like in three months, six months, a year? Do you need room to grow?

Step 2: Define your goals

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. What are the primary goals of your cloud transition? If your goal is cost savings and ease of transition, an Avaya public cloud is probably the best option for you. If you want access to innovations such as live call observation from anywhere or 100% call recording, either pure cloud or a hybrid cloud might fit the bill. If, on the other hand, data ownership and security are more important than cost savings or ease of use, a hybrid solution might be the best option.

Step 3: Choose your Avaya cloud

While a multi-tenant or public Avaya cloud works well for most organizations, your goals or inventory may reveal the need for a hybrid cloud solution, with one foot still firmly planted on premise.

Data privacy
If your client data must stay on site, you might consider an Avaya public cloud ACD that will integrate with your CRM database, which could remain on your private colocation.

Business disruption
If a key goal is lack of business disruption, you might consider a hybrid model wherein your existing Avaya infrastructure remains in place, and a cloud “wrapper” is implemented on top of it. Access to 100% end-to-end cloud recording would decrease liability, and you would still be able to keep your existing Avaya ACD. Once the current ACD ages out, a transition to an Avaya public cloud ACD could be implemented.

For example, major outsourcer Arise Virtual Solutions had a customer requirement for Avaya but the need to be able to scale for thousands of new agents in a matter of weeks. Since the Spoken Avaya Contact Center as a Service public cloud offered more security than the premise-based solution, Arise opted to leverage the cost-efficient Spoken Avaya public cloud rather than a hybrid model. However, to prevent business disruption, a gradual transition plan was developed. Eighteen months later, 24 customers had been transitioned to the secure public cloud with no rollbacks.

Ultimately, the cloud decision for Avaya users is up to you: public, private or hybrid, the key is to meet your business goals with minimal disruption. Learn more about Spoken ConversationCenter for Avaya.