Why Hosted Contact Centers?
Interest is growing in contact centers for the cloud--and it's not just about cost and capex.
In yesterday's Enterprise Connect webinar on Cloud-based contact centers, we asked a poll question about why audience members were considering hosting their contact center technology operations in the cloud:
The webinar focused on TCO for cloud, so it's notable that TCO wasn't that much out ahead of the other responses. The findings seem to confirm Sheila McGee-Smith's comment during the session, that contact centers are likely to be an early-adoption focus for communications applications in the cloud.
Contact centers historically have been on the bleeding edge of communications technology, going back to the days of CTI, because business cases are easier to make for a revenue-center like customer contact; moving into UC, which is all about integrations with other business processes, contact center is a natural for early adoption.
This polls suggests, however, that it's not just about the business case, but about the business benefits--taking advantage of cloud's flexibility to adapt to seasonal variations, for example. We specifically asked the audience to think only about technology needs on this point--as opposed to the scenario of outsourcing the entire contact operation, including the agents, to a third party to deal with demand spikes. Even with this proviso, there was strong interest in leveraging the cloud to deal with seasonality.
The relatively strong interest in using cloud to keep up with new technologies is also noteworthy. One of the phenomena we're seeing with regard to the contact center is a huge level of interest in use of social media, both to monitor what your customers are saying about your company, and to use these channels to interact with customers--all within the context of integrations with core contact center technology.
Anecdotally, however, contact center vendors have been telling us that the huge level of interest is really more a curiosity factor--enterprise folks know Twitter, YouTube, etc. are out there, but they aren't yet making formal efforts in this area.
Given that contact centers tend to be on the cutting edge of technology, it makes sense that you'd want to be able to be particularly nimble about the technology, without burdening IT with continual upgrades and new integrations. Which is another argument for the cloud.