Martin Taylor, Director, at Content Guru looks at the 6 key things that you should consider when moving from on-premise to Cloud
1.What are you trying to achieve?
According to a recent DMG survey approximately 80% of contact centre organisations have already made the decision to move services to cloud or plan to do so within 18 months but the benefits should be clear to your business. There are basic compelling reasons to make the transition, including:
- Cost: With cloud, there is usually little or no up-front investment required, with the total cost of ownership for a cloud service typically lower than that for an on-premise system providing similar capabilities over the service/product lifetime
- Seasonal requirements: Cloud services can be acquired for specific time periods, making advanced technology affordable for short and medium term project requirements
- Availability: Cloud services can be available 24/7 and with 99.999% availability. On-premise solutions, by contrast, often go offline during weekends, holidays and during system upgrades
- Scalability: Cloud services can easily scale up and down dependent on client needs without the requirement for new hardware/software
You need to clearly quantify the benefits that making the transition will bring and measure success against those criteria over time.
2. What applications are you going to migrate?
Consider switching any software application where there is a strong business case for doing so. In the contact centre space, many companies have chosen to migrate their CRM applications to the cloud first. This has not only given contact centre agents access to essential customer details via any web browser but allowed sales people to easily access information on any device, regardless of location or time of day, greatly enhancing the flexibility with which they can facilitate customer engagement and carry out key business interactions. Encouraged by this success, other systems and applications - such as ACD and call recording - have typically followed shortly after. Today, it’s increasingly common to find companies that have moved ALL their contact centre technology services to the cloud – i.e. everything from contact handling (via voice, email, SMS and web chat) through to multichannel contact recording, IVR, workforce optimisation and analytics.
3. Have you chosen the right partners?
In the cloud world, finding the right technology partners is extremely important. And it’s not just a question of finding ones whose technology is a good fit. Because of the nature of cloud services, the bond between provider and client is often extremely close. Clients are not only reliant on their cloud partners for technology uptime, they are also reliant on them for maintenance, help desk support, ‘proactive’ performance management support, and more. So it’s vital that you feel you can work successfully with the individuals in those businesses and that you are comfortable with the Service Level Agreements, certifications and security provided. Size is also important. If a cloud service provider is too small it may struggle to make the on-going investment required to scale with its clients’ growth and deliver the range of services required. Too big and it may not give you enough attention.
4. Have you mapped out product requirements?
Businesses frequently underestimate the quantity and magnitude of tasks involved in moving on-premise solutions to the cloud; failure to effectively prepare only adds to project complexity and results in annoying delays and additional costs. It is therefore important to lay out a comprehensive product blueprint for the transition well in advance, with detailed functional requirements:
- what current on-premise technologies are involved in fulfilling particular operations/processes?
- what functions/ features of these systems need to be replicated by the new cloud service(s)?
- who currently accesses these functions/features (agents, supervisors, manager, partners, clients etc.)?
- what front and back office systems are integrated to current on-premise systems, and what integrations will be required?
- what new capabilities are required?
- future roadmap requirements?
By doing this, you will ensure all previous technical capabilities can be replicated by the cloud service from the day services go live, guaranteeing a seamless transition, as well as planning for future enhancements.
5. Have you set a migration plan?
Once you’ve established what functionality is required, lay down a realistic migration plan, clearly assigning responsibilities to key individuals. Don’t try and achieve everything in one go. Identify what the key elements of the transition are and use a phased approach to product migration - one where agents can grow accustomed to new interfaces and new capabilities (and managers iron out teething problems and prove value in the new solutions) before starting to add new cloud capabilities. Build in contingencies where, if something does go wrong, there’s always a fall-back position (even if that is returning to previous technology solutions until those problems are fixed).
6. Have you adequately considered the end user?
With all the excitement surrounding cloud technology it’s easy to forget the people who are supposed to benefit most from its introduction: the contact centre team members themselves! Always ensure that end-users know what changes are being made, are given a timetable for the introduction of new technologies and business processes, and are fully trained on all new cloud services. Their feedback and involvement in the cloud transition is essential. Get them excited in the project through tests and competitions and reward them for positive ideas that make a difference. Identify power users who will motivate others to use the cloud to its full potential.