In most industries, including contact centers, technology now plays a significant role. As technology changes, business practices also are modified, and decisions need to be made regarding upgrades.
Contact center software is one area where technological advancements have changed the landscape, and where managers are needing to make decisions regarding upgrades. The already difficult task of deciding when and how to switch out systems or software is being exacerbated by a sluggish economy.
In a recent report, Gartner (News - Alert) highlighted what it called the nine “most contentious” IT issues that will play out over the next two years. One of these was the question, “Should we modernize applications? If so, when?”
It might be easy to try out new applications, or consider replacements, on the margins of business operations where new ideas can be incubated and perhaps later rolled out on a larger scale. It’s another thing entirely to consider upgrading mission-critical solutions where the mere process of switching to newer technology — even if this ultimately is the best move — can cause major disruptions.
This is why, as Gartner noted, “many mission-critical, high-risk business functions continue to rely on code developed decades ago by programmers and vendors who have long since left the company.” The need to migrate obsolescent business applications, such as call center solutions that no longer keep pace with customer expectations, to newer technologies is key. But exactly how and when to make changes is less obvious.
“Strong drivers for modernization are offset by strong inhibitors, so the debate either rages on or is naively ignored,” Gartner noted in its report.
Ultimately, the decision to upgrade contact center software or any other technology-dependent system rests on a few key shoulders — e.g. shareholders, investors, etc.—and these decision-makers do not always fully understand what’s at stake. Careful consideration of different options is needed; some applications may need to be completely replaced, for example, while others can be renovated.
Gartner said that the complexity and magnitude of technology application upgrades “far exceeds the ability to fund and manage such an effort with existing operating budgets and teams.” Only a one-time “restructuring-style budget set-aside” will truly suffice to effect meaningful change.
That’s a tall order, but smart companies understand why this type of initiative is so important.
“Growing global economic instability is putting increasing pressure on IT departments to support crucial business goals,” said Gartner analyst Ken McGee, in a statement. “At a time when there is little in the way of additional budget available, CIOs need to know where and when to focus to best assist and improve enterprise performance.”
To learn more about new technologies for customer-facing organizations, and strategies for upgrades, please visit the Contact Center Software channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Contactual (News - Alert).
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Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae's articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Mae Kowalke