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Article Type: Analysis          Published: 07-2015         Views: 6687      



Cloud adoption is now a strategic business decision for contact centres, argues Keith Wilkinson, VP Cloud EMEA, Genesys.

Cloud computing has long been a proven technology, deployed by IT Directors in enterprises globally. The contact centre industry is no exception to this, according to recent research carried out by Genesys alongside contact centre expert ContactBabel. This research, which surveyed 186 contact centres run by UK businesses, looked at the attitudes of these businesses towards cloud technology. The findings were interesting and indicative of wider trends in the IT landscape. Over half of contact centres have already implemented some form of cloud functionality, and this will increase to more than two thirds by 2020.

Traditionally, the decision to deploy cloud-based solutions would have rested firmly in the hands of IT departments. This is something that is beginning to change within the contact centre industry, with cloud adoption being driven by wider strategic business decision-making at senior levels. According to our research, cloud adoption in contact centres is triggered by senior decision makers in two-thirds of all cases, with 70% of those surveyed claiming that the CEO has "considerable or great influence" over the adoption of cloud technology. With C-level buy-in to the technology, it is unsurprising that the rate of uptake is rapidly increasing. This cloud-first approach being made by senior level executives is part of a wider business strategy. This is primarily explained by expansive benefits of cloud computing, which are by no means limited to its technology features. According to our research, for contact centres, cloud technology is a way of reducing expenditure and ensuring that the business runs in the most nimble way possible. From a strategic perspective, it also ensures business continuity, even during outages, facilities emergencies and inclement weather. Overall, operationally, cloud computing has the power to increase business agility, by speeding up the process of introducing new systems and processes.

Of our respondents, one third claimed that the top benefit of cloud solutions is cheaper IT maintenance and implementation, with the ability to easily implement changes and try out new functionalities as needed. These benefits allow IT departments the flexibility to adapt their IT systems as their requirements change, without having to go through lengthy procurement processes and possibly incur significant cost for an unknown gain. Others also cited that a major benefit of migrating to a cloud infrastructure is the move from CAPEX to OPEX, as most cloud technology operates on a "pay-as-you go" model, meaning businesses are only ever paying for what they use.

Although there are a number of advantages to cloud computing, which are precipitating the move from traditional software towards cloud infrastructures within contact centres, one of the main concerns highlighted by one third of our respondents is security. This is unsurprising given that, for any contact centre, customer data is a valuable asset, allowing agents to track their customers' journey, understanding previous interactions that a customer has had with the brand, as well as to have a clear picture of their customer's profile, including basic demographics, as well as more complex information on preferences and geography.

With the move to the cloud, IT departments and C-level executives alike must evaluate the quantity of data and make a strategic decision on whether the capacity required and the cost savings to be made outweigh the potential security risks posed by cloud infrastructures. Of those surveyed, 75% of respondents state that functionality has improved since they migrated to a cloud system, and 59% have experienced greater flexibility and functionality. This demonstrates that for many, the benefits of cloud computing are really starting to come into their own.

The rise of cloud computing within the contact centre industry seems unstoppable. With financial, functional, operational and strategic drivers all indicating the advantages of the cloud, it's easy to see why IT departments and C-level executives alike are all looking to modernise and migrate their systems to a more flexible, cost-effective and reliable cloud solution. From a human perspective, the cloud is also enabling business productivity within contact centres, with agents able to work from anywhere and at any time to ensure the best possible service for their customers.
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