The on-premise contact centre to the cloud? Yes, but…
The cloud revolution in the world of customer contact is a fact, certainly since the corona pandemic has led to massive working from home – also for contact centre employees. Yet by no means have all companies and organisations moved their contact centres to the cloud.
They have various reasons for this. First, they have often invested millions in an on-premise platform. Investments for the long term, which are not lightly discarded, certainly not if the platform still functions 'fine'. Why pay monthly or annually for functionality in the cloud if you already have a solid platform?
In addition, many still have concerns about data protection. Have everything on-site, managed by the in-house IT team, provides a sense of security.
And what about integration with back-end systems? Or the knowledge and expertise on legacy systems that becomes redundant as soon as the step to the cloud is taken?
Still, it is claimed that almost every element of an on-premise contact centre can be dramatically improved by migrating to a cloud solution. In this blog we discuss the pros and cons, the arguments and counter-arguments, but also the options available for a possible phased or partial cloud transition.
Cloud: benefits and caveats
Let’s first look at the benefits of a cloud platform:
- Flexible en scalable – grow and shrink as needed, and pay per use
- Ease of use – no complicated software installations and configurations
- Complete – current cloud solutions offer all channels and functionalities needed for a modern contact centre
- Efficient – the cloud provider does (almost) all the work, freeing up IT teams for innovation rather than maintaining the status quo
- (usually) Cheaper – including maintenance, software updates, hardware, training…
- Quick to implement – one of our Belgian customers was up and running with 1,500 seats within a week
- Accessible everywhere – provided there is a good internet connection
- Innovation – new channels, technologies and security protocols are usually adopted and rolled out at lightning speed
- Automatic updates – so the contact centre always has access to the latest features
- Integrations – thanks to cloud-based API architecture, back-end systems can be integrated in no time
- Secure and reliable – thanks to data security laws and regulations, all (common) cloud platforms and providers meet strict requirements and best practices
But there is also a caveat to some of these points. Is a cloud solution really cheaper if you are currently using a reliable on-premise platform that has already been paid off? What if you have CapEx budget, but no OpEx? What about customisation? Isn't it safer to store sensitive data on-premise? Doesn't a cloud solution create too much dependence on one vendor or provider? Aren't you losing too much control?
Even though these arguments seem sound at first sight, they do not outweigh the advantages of a – full or hybrid – cloud platform. At least not if you want to continue participating in the rapidly changing world of customer contact. If you want to keep innovating to distinguish yourself from the competition. If you want to continue to improve the experience of the customer as well as your employees.
Legacy systems aren’t such a bad idea
So why do many companies still choose to keep using their legacy systems? And what do we actually mean by a legacy system? It means a software system that is generally considered outdated or for which a newer technology has now been developed. In most cases, a legacy system can fulfil its original role just fine, but it doesn’t offer the flexibility of newer systems, for example in terms of integrations, system and process updates, or the ability for employees to work from a location outside the contact centre. The result is that in most cases you can no longer take advantage from innovations and the associated benefits for the customer, your employees and the business results.
The main reason that some companies and organisations choose to continue using their legacy software is that they invested a lot of money in it at the time. Change is expensive and takes time, especially when employee training and the development of new processes are also taken into account.
Moreover, employees are often so used to working with legacy software that a new system can seem daunting. While in theory the new software is easier to use, the fact is that most people will perceive it as more complicated during the transition period. Humans simply don't like change.
Another barrier is that transferring legacy data is not a matter of pressing a single button, at least if you do not want to run the risk of losing all your indispensable customer data. This requires expertise that few companies have access to in-house.
And yet, despite all the reasons in favour of sticking with legacy systems, it's definitely worth considering a cloud solution and exploring the possibilities. After all, most on-premise contact centre solutions start to lag behind in terms of new functionalities after about five years, and they don’t usually allow for large-scale working from home. In addition, developments in the field of cybercrime are now moving so fast that most on-premise contact centres have difficulty coping with them, with all its consequences.
So when it's time to upgrade the on-premise contact centre platform, if the business has plans to introduce new digital customer contact channels, or when the possibilities of a virtual contact centre are being explored, it's a good time to consider the move to a cloud platform.
The reality is that a cloud platform can improve almost every aspect of an on-premise contact centre, whether it be features and functionalities, infrastructure, costs, integration possibilities, efficiency, reporting or service reliability.
But that’s not to say that you have to go all-in right away. There is no need to run the entire contact centre solution in the public cloud. Organisations that want the certainty of extra data security and more options for customisation can opt for a private cloud environment. This is usually located on the premises or in the data centre of the organisation itself. There is also the option of a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), which offers the same scalability and failover as public cloud services, with the privacy and security of a custom environment.
A combination of public and private cloud – i.e. a hybrid solution – is also possible, giving you the choice to keep certain legacy applications ‘on premise’, while experimenting with new applications in the (public) cloud. Or opt for a phased migration, in which the various systems and solutions are transferred to the cloud platform step by step.
For organisations that do not have their own IT team, a managed cloud is often the most obvious solution, as this option also includes support services for setting up or maintaining servers and applications that run in the cloud.
Would you like to meet with one of our consultants to discuss the different options and see what the best solution would be for your contact centre? Make an appointment now! All our experts have extensive experience in implementing, integrating and migrating both on-premise and cloud platforms from different vendors.
Whitepaper ‘A change of course in customer contact’
Many organisations are currently undergoing a change of course in the field of customer contact. It is the only way to continue to meet customer needs at a time when working from home, automation and digitisation have become the norm. The IT organisation plays a crucial role in this, but is often not set up to efficiently implement innovation with the existing – or fewer – resources.
In our white paper “A change of course in customer contact: IT's leading role on the way to the future” we look at ways to improve operational effectiveness in the organisation, and which aspects to consider when rolling out – usually complex – projects such as a migration to the cloud or the (further) implementation of digitisation and automation in the contact centre.
The IT organisation has a leading role in this, because that is where the knowledge and skills are located to determine the best course for the future.
At DDM Consulting we believe that our customers benefit most from tailor-made advice, without preference for a particular product or specific supplier. That is why we offer a wide range of intelligent omnichannel contact centre solutions, delivered by renowned partners who are all specialists in their field. This approach makes us flexible in finding the solution that best suits our customers’ specific needs and ambitions.
We guarantee a successful implementation, ensure integration with all existing back-end systems, and take care of managing and maintaining the platform. Our clients come from a wide range of sectors, from major financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies, to telecom operators, healthcare institutions, government agencies, retail, and media. We are especially known for delivering customised solutions for corporate clients with complex structures, such as customer-specific integrations with back-end systems and the development of add-ons. Sometimes we even build a completely new product! That is how we ensure that the chosen contact centre solution exactly matches our customer’s wishes, needs and business processes.
We have grown into a team of about 30 contact centre experts and are mainly active in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.