Arrow cloud shape on blue sky metaphor as keep on moving forward - Moving-contact center to the cloud concept
PHOTO: Shutterstock

This article is the final part of a 4 part series, sponsored by Genesys.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can go a long way toward enabling your organization to optimize its customer contact center. Through advanced features such as interaction steering, predictive routing and real-time data, you can make significant, tangible improvements to your customer experience.

But AI, ML and real-time data are heavily resource- and processor-intensive — which means they depend upon the cloud to operate efficiently and at scale. And if your company largely or entirely relies upon legacy on-premise systems, you may be reluctant to consider adopting a cloud-based call center solution.

Related Article: Why Chatbots Are Worth Talking About

Here, we’ll address three of the biggest questions businesses often have about moving their contact centers to the cloud.

Q: Aside from leveraging AI, ML and real-time data, how does migrating my contact center to the cloud help improve the customer experience?

Compared to legacy on-premise systems, the cloud provides a number of benefits that include:

  • Reduced costs - With the cloud, you don’t have to purchase, maintain and upgrade expensive systems and equipment, as you do with traditional data centers and on-premise hardware and software. You can use those funds instead to immediately develop new enhancements to your customer experience.
  • Increased IT and engineer productivity - By offloading maintenance and other mundane tasks to a cloud service provider, your IT team and engineers can focus on developing new features and capabilities to improve business outcomes instead of supporting the status quo.
  • High availability and global coverage - In a cloud-based contact center, your system and customer data live in the cloud. This makes systems and data securely, globally available anywhere at any time — which helps you navigate regulations on data privacy, avoid potential regional hardware outages, and ultimately, better serve customers wherever they are.
  • Scalability and flexibility - Cloud services can be easily scaled up to accommodate an anticipated or unexpected surge in activity, such as increased customer calls around the year-end holidays, and then scaled down when additional capacity isn’t needed.
  • Security - Some organizations worry about the security of the cloud. But in reality, cloud service providers have continually invested their research dollars into increasing their security. And no less than the CIA uses the cloud today to store top-secret information.
  • Automatic updates - With on-premise software, you have to install new software versions on every machine and schedule maintenance windows that can impact productivity and drive up costs. When a cloud service receives a new feature, fix or security update, simply refresh your browser to use it.
  • Business continuity - Having your system and data in the cloud, instead of on-premise, helps ensure that you can recover quickly from a natural disaster, power failure or other unexpected event.
  • Business agility - With these and other benefits of a cloud-based contact center, your business can be much more agile, able to respond immediately to elevated customer needs, new competitors, and more.

Related Download: Top Strategies for Workforce Optimization

Q: My business uses legacy on-premise hardware and software. Do I have to fully migrate my entire infrastructure into the cloud to take advantage of a cloud-based contact center?

No, a full migration isn’t necessary. Top vendors offer cloud solutions that can be integrated with a customer’s existing on-premise system.

However, despite the cloud’s strong security, some organizations in financial services and healthcare continue to rely upon on-premise systems for more control over security, privacy and data. Other companies might not want to undertake the digital transformation involved in a full migration from legacy on-premise systems to cloud-based solutions.

For these companies, a hybrid solution can expand on-premise software with new capabilities delivered from the cloud, such as the ability to offer customer service through social media, chat or instant messaging; workforce management tools; and predictive routing for calls. The hybrid model is ideal for businesses in the process of transitioning to the cloud or an intermediate mechanism for businesses that, due to security restrictions, regulations or other factors, must maintain at least part of their infrastructure on their premises and but still want new or enhanced capabilities.

Related Article: How to Start Using AI to Improve Customer Experience

Q: What do I need to know about where the cloud is heading?

Serverless computing is the next big thing in the cloud. It’s still relatively new, with only 5 percent of organizations using serverless computing to some degree as of April 2018, Gartner estimates. But Gartner also expects that 20 percent of global organizations will have deployed serverless by next year.

Serverless computing doesn’t mean there are no servers needed to run your contact center (or other cloud-based system). It simply means that you, as the business customer of a cloud service provider, don’t have to think about, allocate or manage server resources. Instead, your provider runs its servers on your behalf, dynamically managing the allocation of server resources as needed.

Serverless computing services such as Amazon’s AWS Lambda provide many benefits. All the infrastructure needed to support a flexible, scalable, affordable contact center is taken care of for you. Your IT team no longer spends time provisioning or managing servers, so they can stay focused on leveraging technology to produce the best possible business outcomes.

Your business saves money, because you’re paying only for the computing resources you use instead of dedicating expensive resources in case they’re needed. With computing platforms and resources no longer a concern, your business can be more agile than ever, reacting lightning-fast to changing customer needs and competitive demands.

Serverless computing can help make everyone at your business more efficient and empowered by data. With the management of computing resources significantly streamlined and its costs greatly decreased, your workforce can more easily leverage new tools that provide a higher level of business intelligence.

For example, analysts who once had to perform tasks such as long-term planning analysis by hand can now put big data to work, answering complex long-term planning questions within a minute. Your company benefits from having the best business intelligence delivered almost in real-time while your analysts increase the value of the work they produce.

The Cloud is the Future, and the Future is Now

Customer experience will only become more important in the years ahead. Whether it’s from features such as interaction steering or predictive routing that are readily available today or from serverless computing services that are quickly gaining traction, the cloud can make an enormous difference in the quality of your customer’s experience.

In short: The cloud is the future — and the future is now. And by moving to the cloud today, whether it’s through a hybrid on-premise/cloud solution or a full migration into the cloud, your company will be well positioned for the future.