Welcome to the Hybrid World of Contact Center Software
The future of contact center technology is in the cloud, although not all systems and applications are going to be moved to the cloud at once. Therefore, the dominant implementation model for contact center technology, particularly in large environments, is going to be hybrid. This means that some systems and applications used by an enterprise will be in the cloud while others will be on-premise.
Why Hybrid will be the Most Common Deployment Model
There are many reasons why companies will want to keep some of their systems and applications on-premise, including:
- They have invested millions in an existing premise-based solution and, at this time, they are not willing to re-invest.
- A current solution has been extensively customized and no cloud solution satisfies all of their requirements out-of-the-box.
- There are practical, legal, regulatory or security reasons for keeping a solution (or components of it) on-premise, as is the case with recordings.
- They recently purchased and learned to use an on-premise application, and do not want to swap it out.
- A system is a shared by a number of departments in a company, and it is more disruptive than beneficial to change it.
- They want to test cloud deployments before moving all solutions to this model.
- Many of their current premise-based systems are not fully depreciated.
While the reasons vary, hybrid deployments are expected to increase as large contact centers start to move to cloud-based solutions.
What Companies Should Look For When Selecting Cloud-Based Vendors
When selecting a system or application, companies should identify vendors that meet their functional and financial requirements, just as they have always done. One of the requirements should be the proven ability to deploy their solution in the cloud, which is standard for almost all contact center systems and applications today. (Solutions that cannot be deployed in this manner typically offer a subscription license, which has a cash flow and expense impact similar to most cloud-based licensing models, but lags behind technically, as there is no acceptable excuse for not being cloud-ready.)
A second essential functional and technical requirement is the ability to integrate to third-party on-premise and cloud-based solutions. Contact centers are complex operating environments that can comprise more than 45 different systems and applications. While it’s increasingly common for cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendors (who sell an automatic call distributor (ACDs) or dialing solution) to offer a suite of related systems and applications, many enterprises want to purchase only one or two new solutions at a time and not replace their entire systems environment. Consider a company that uses dozens of ACDs and needs to add capacity. It is not practical or financially feasible for them to replace hundreds or thousands of seats just so they can add a few hundred new agents. Nor would it make sense for them to replace their fully functional workforce management solution just because they bought a new type of ACD. This means that it’s essential for cloud-based contact center vendors to come with a variety of easy-to-use and cost-effective methods, application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs) to facilitate integrations.
Enterprises of all sizes are adopting cloud-based contact center systems and applications. This is a trend that is picking up momentum, particularly as most of the innovation is coming from cloud-based vendors. It’s no longer a question of whether or not your company will use cloud-based solutions, but instead it’s about when it will happen. Although this transition is highly probable, it doesn’t mean that a company needs or wants to move all of their contact center systems and applications to the cloud immediately, and it is unlikely that they would be willing to do it all at once, even if the cloud is their planned direction. Therefore, it’s essential to select vendors with a proven ability to integrate with a variety of third-party on-premise and cloud-based solutions. It’s going to be a hybrid world for contact centers for many years to come.
DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at www.dmgconsult.com.