Cloud computing has become a main digital transformation strategy for business, and contact centers are no different. Software, services, and storage via the internet have become a common conversation point in business. According to a recent report, the cloud-based contact center market is expected to grow from $6.47 billion in 2017 to $24.11 billion by 2023.
While the digital transformation began a few years ago, many companies are still wondering if the cloud is worth their time. Cloud communications can be particularly effective in the contact center market. Although there are challenges facing contact centers when approaching cloud-based services, the overwhelming benefits of using the cloud outweigh them.
The Role of the Cloud in a Contact Center
Contact centers are technologically heavy enterprises. They are dependent on telecommunications while requiring computers to record and process data. AI trends and interactive platforms have reduced the human element only to increase the technological need.
Legacy systems are designed to house the technological engine in a server room, storing data and running systems on-site near the employees. However, contact centers are evolving with the modern workforce. As the workforce becomes more effective and efficient, the technology should as well.
The cloud is one digital transformation that can create more efficiencies in how contact centers operate. Employees who work from home can use cloud computing as remote desktops, allowing contact centers to maximize a mobile, remote work trend. Similarly, cloud computing can be used as backup and storage, taking the burden away from in-house IT infrastructure. Not only will the cost of hardware decrease, but the capacity of IT staff will increase.
Most importantly, cloud computing allows a contact center to access its data for analytic purposes, increasing efficiencies throughout the organization.
Benefits of Using the Cloud
There are numerous benefits of using the cloud. One of the most important and overarching benefits of cloud-based contact centers is the customer experience.
Since cloud computing is based on a pay-per-use model, contact centers can scale easily and quickly based on client need. Instead of balancing when to scale up with the potential of a downturn, cloud computing allows adaptation of both up and down movement based entirely on demand.
Adding communication channels like messenger services is easily achieved without needless network administration and headache. Customers expect multiple ways to access agents, and cloud computing gives access and ability without bolting on new technology that often cannot interact with legacy systems.
In addition to scalability and technology, cloud services also manage cost control. The pay-per-use model ensures you do not contract for more than you need. Cloud computing agility allows you to deploy and improve services quickly and efficiently, without lag time.
Another important aspect for a contact center is data. Reporting and analytics offered by cloud computing can help you use the data you gather. Instead of collecting and storing customer information with no business benefit, the information can be processed to learn what is working, what is not working and ultimately how to benefit your customers more.
Challenges for Contact Centers Using the Cloud
Cloud choices can be overwhelming. Storage and server options available include private, public and hybrid. While private servers offer the most security, as infrastructure is dedicated solely to your company, the cost can be prohibitive. Public cloud storage provides cost benefits by sharing with multiple companies, but security can be riskier. Hybrid can be a functional compromise, offering the best of both options.
The most significant challenge for a contact center is that you are trusting your data to someone else. While the data technically belongs to you, as does the customer information, a third party is storing and securing the data. Access and security threats can become an issue. Ultimately, your contact center is responsible for customer data that is not under your control when stored via a remote cloud server.
Data is no longer contained within a self-sufficient network. Although secured and encrypted, data is exposed anytime it’s moving via the internet. Distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks can be particularly threatening since the server is remote and potentially shared with other clients. Though your contact center might not be the target, data is exposed when other companies are breached.
Costs involving scalability, development and hardware are more easily managed. However, there is one factor few contact centers consider when transitioning to the cloud. Cloud computing and storage requires all information to pass over the internet. Consumption of bandwidth is a significant obstacle, especially for backups and storage. All other activity can slow to a crawl anytime backups or information transfers are occurring.
Despite the challenges and loss of data control, positives of cloud storage and computing are far more beneficial for your contact center. Successful and profitable call centers will continue to maximize technological advancements, and the cloud is one advancement that cannot be avoided.