Opinions

Hybrid Contact Centers: The Cloud Will Set You Free

Posted by Jim Milton on January 27th, 2012 at 8:47 am

“Rip and replace” is a term that is all too familiar to the manager that is responsible for upgrading and modernizing their company’s infrastructure. Contact center infrastructure vendors have worked hard to convince these decision makers that there is no time like the present to move to a “unified communications” on-premises solution that encompasses all of the critical components of the modern contact center. An integrated solution will improve productivity, reduce costs and help take you to the “promised land”. Sound familiar?

What these same vendors don’t want you to know is that, once you make this move, you are now locked into their proprietary environment — although they will claim that it is open — for another 5 to 10 years. New features aren’t free or actually even new, they are paid for and not leading edge so, essentially, you have sub-optimized functionality at the component level in order to have an integrated solution. The whole might be greater than the sum of the parts but the parts are not best of breed. Also, implementation time, or time to value, for these deployments is measured in months, if not years. Wait until you receive the annual maintenance bill – often times exceeding 20% of the list price of the up-front investment – and you will realize that you are in a losing battle in a competitive landscape.

But all is not lost. The cloud has come to the rescue! What was once considered the ‘risky’ choice is now commonplace. Many cloud communications /contact center vendors have emerged that provide key components of the contact center and, importantly, seamlessly integrate into the infrastructure that is already in place. Hosted IVR vendors provide natural language, speech-based front-ends to improve the customer experience for inbounds calls. Proactive customer communication vendors provide highly scalable, outbound, multi-channel solutions that can handle bursts of automated voice, text and email messaging – saving the huge investment in capacity that is better provided in an on-demand model. Chat vendors provide solutions for real-time communications with consumers that visit your website. Each of these components can be added into an existing contact center individually allowing clients to maintain existing components they have familiarity with or that are meeting their current needs.

Welcome to the hybrid contact center. Best-of-breed solutions are easily deployed through the cloud without the need for significant capital investment. Investments are protected. Vendor lock-in is avoided. Capacity is provided on-demand – you can scale up or scale down. Essentially, the contact center in the cloud model allows you to test a hosted solution with little expense and ensure it is the right fit before sinking huge dollars into the mix. Let the Hybrid Contact Center be your savior.

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