Two call center cloud benefits (that aren’t “cost efficiency”)

Spoken | March 31, 2016

Are you only considering cost efficiency for your cloud transition?

cloud-thinking.jpgAs time progresses, the demand for cloud-based call center applications and services has risen significantly. And why not? After all, cloud-based technologies are much easier to manage than on-premise ones, as they don’t require equipment space or maintenance; this reduces costs as well. Other significant motives for the shift exist, but these are the primary reasons why business adoption of cloud-based technologies is skyrocketing.

And we do mean “skyrocketing”—it’s not an exaggeration. As a matter of fact, a recent report from Research and Markets revealed that the cloud contact center market will grow from $4.68 billion in 2015 to $14.71 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 25.7 percent.

The report verifies that a dominant factor impacting this growth is cost, or “the financial benefit of moving expenses from capital expenditure to operating expenditure, avoiding costly infrastructure.” Indeed, more contact center decision makers are scouting out technology vendors that can help them reduce costs and improve efficiencies.

Why total cost of ownership shouldn’t drive your cloud decision

However, cost efficiency isn’t the only reason organizations move toward a more cloud-based contact center environment. If you are one of those business leaders that is adamant about relying on the total cost of ownership (TCO) of new software before investing in cloud for your contact center, you are shortchanging your organization. In fact, you are missing an opportunity to make an optimal purchase decision.

When you attempt to calculate TCO for cloud, even with a pre-built calculator such as the kinds commonly available online, you can’t allocate for revenue losses from such factors as a rigid on-premise system that can’t scale, a long-term contract or a lack of agility to move with the market–all of which are distinct business advantages offered by a cloud model. TCO doesn’t account for any of those benefits.

Why Call Center TCO Doesn’t Matter

Two non-TCO factors to consider

Let’s consider some factors outside of TCO.

What assurances do we have against business disruption?

When speaking with customers and potential customers, the number one concern is ease of transition. Features and benefits of a call center cloud platform are nice, but IT and administrators’ primary concern regards the vendor’s plans to avoid disruption during the transition: how can the vendor ensure that the transition goes smoothly? What is the vendor’s record on rollbacks? At Spoken, we take a novel approach: we provide a cloud wrapper over existing infrastructure and work with the client to develop a plan for gradual transition. We call this “a place to start” into the cloud, with the idea being that the cloud transition can take up to 18 months, if that is what the client requires.

Several clients have chosen their “place to start” with the Spoken Smart IVR, a single application on the Spoken Call Center as a Cloud (CCaaS) platform. They begin with a single, low-volume telephone number, and they gradually import additional telephone numbers onto the Spoken Smart IVR over a period of months.

Guthy|Renker case study: a gradual cloud transition with Spoken Smart IVR

Still another client, a major outsourcer, began not with a single application but with a single client with a low call volume. Over 18 months, 24 clients and thousands of work-from-home agents were transitioned seamlessly to the Spoken Avaya CCaaS, with zero rollbacks.

Arise case study: Avaya CCaaS cloud transition

Is this solution scalable?

CEOmeeting.jpgChoosing a vendor that can balance rapid ups and downs in call volume as well as enable your expansion to new locations all over the world is essential. If your goal is to grow, then you need to make sure that you invest in a solution that is flexible enough to grow with you. And it’s worth considering the reverse possibility: what if your call volume shrinks? An on-premise system has fixed costs, but a cloud solution should be able to scale up and down with your business volume. Take the time to ask your cloud vendor how the pricing model works: do you pay only for actual usage minutes, or is the model based on named agents?

And then, of course, there is the issue of the actual integration. If the vendor offers a wrapper over an existing Avaya system, like Spoken does, how complex will the integration process be?

We know that the contact center won’t stop being seen as a cost center any time soon, so it’s understandable that cost efficiency is a key driver of cloud transitions for call center organizations. However, it’s worth taking the time to weigh additional benefits of a cloud solution in general and of specific features and benefits provided by cloud vendors as well.