July 27, 2012
Five Cloud Call Center 'Gotchas' and How to Avoid Them
By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer
While debate about the benefits of hosted call centers against their counterparts in the on-premise software front is still brisk, there are some misconceptions about cloud-based call centers that should be cleared up. There are five major points in particular that should be addressed, which we will, right now, with the help of USAN (News - Alert), a thought leader in the Hosted IVR and Hosted Contact Center spaces.
First is a matter of security, with some customers believing that data that leaves an organization's premises is no longer secure, ripe for interception on its way to the cloud, or once it arrives. But cloud providers are quite aware of the potential for unauthorized access, and as such, commonly take extensive measures to protect customers' data, potentially even more so than customers themselves would take. A cloud provider's entire operation hinges on providing easy access to data for only authorized users, and failure to do so would kill their entire business model.
Second is a matter of scalability. Customers may believe that only small organizations can take advantage of cloud storage, but cloud providers have seen the value in larger accounts, and have thus adapted accordingly to be able to provide rapid upscaling capability when it's needed. After all, what business would turn away customers, if it were at all possible to meet their needs?
Third is a matter of integration. Customers have become concerned that their systems may not work with those of a cloud provider, and what point is there in bringing in a cloud provider whose systems are incompatible with those of the customer? But cloud providers have realized this point themselves, and planned accordingly. Some more so than others, naturally, but a little advance legwork about who can provide the necessary integration will pay off in the long run and provide a system that's every bit as compatible with the home system as the home system itself.
Fourth is a point of cost. While indeed, cloud providers represent a new bill, and on-premises systems represent a one-time cost, there are associated costs often not considered. On-premises systems require all the care and feeding and maintenance that any other system does, including regular patches and updates. Plus, staff has to be involved in these processes, staff that could be focusing on providing customer service and contributing to the bottom line, so opportunity costs also have to be factored in. A cloud-based provider, meanwhile, handles all those updates and patches and the like, giving the rest of the organization the breathing room they need to focus on other tasks.
Fifth is a matter of features. While indeed, on-premises systems allow for ultimate customization, cloud providers understand the need to keep up and offer all the features that customers need, including those they may not even know that they needed in the first place. So while, again, some advance legwork will be required to determine just what is needed, chances are a cloud provider can offer every bit of feature and function needs that an on-premises system can offer.
Cloud-based providers aren't for everybody. They depend somewhat on the market and availability. But with some advance research and some careful consideration, cloud-based providers can offer most everything that an on-premises system can offer, and potentially even more. The "gotchas" can separate an enterprise from a potentially valuable ally in cloud provision, and it's imperative that each business do its due diligence to prevent such a fate from happening to them.
Edited by Juliana Kenny