Cloud contact center migration: The question is not if, but how!

contact center

Contact centers across the globe are undergoing tremendous changes in the past few years. One big trend since 2018 is a rapid transition from traditional on-premise infrastructure to its modern alternative: a cloud-based contact center. Cloud has become a desired end-game for a majority of businesses of all sizes to accommodate their digitally-savvy consumers’ mindset and growing expectations about the ways they want to communicate with the companies they purchase from.

Moving to cloud in 2020 is the number one priority for companies not only to unify their customer support across all communication channels, but to instantly solve major business problems related to database, security, flexibility, and usage.

Estimates suggest that as many as 70% of contact centers will move to the cloud in the next 12-24 months. Gartner predicts that, by 2022, the contact center as a service (CCaaS) will be the preferred adoption model in 50% of contact centers.

Although cloud migration is a quick and straightforward step for small and midsize contact centers, it is a difficult affair for organizations with a couple of hundred seats. The challenge is to build a reliable transition path. In this post, we will discuss the common challenges in cloud contact center migration and ways to address them to smoothen the transition.

Dealing with silos and application complexities

Application silos and complexities are one of the great challenges facing large enterprises today. Gartner found that companies use an average of 12 applications in their contact centers. A separate survey from Aberdeen Group found that enterprises use an average of 20 different tools for customer service.

Their different departments, operating from multiple locations, rely on many applications and platforms for billing, collection, WFM, etc., which are not tied together. Some of these tools are outdated, while others are relatively new. Data silos between these systems and the lack of a master customer “system of record” hinder the ability to create a smooth transition between departments to support an end-to-end process.

Migration to the cloud allows enterprises to consolidate their multiple contact center environments and applications into a single instance that simplifies operations with a single point of administration, unified data and reporting. Cloud even provides enterprises with the flexibility to prefer best-of-breed solutions, which are easier to buy and deploy.

It is vital that organizations conduct a careful analysis of all the systems in place, and create a migration path in which they decouple each software and push it on the cloud independently. However, they might need some overhead, including the effort to preserve existing features or integrations, extensively used in the contact center stack.

Moving to an advanced Agent Desktop

All agents have a critical role to play in providing exceptional, personalized customer experiences. But often they have to a lot to toggle between screens and juggle multiple, outdated tools at once when interacting with customers. The migration to the cloud provides an opportunity to modernize the desktop and the agent workplace.

Cloud-based agent desktop allows contact center agents to interact with customers from anywhere. The ability to have agents work from home is a significant contributor, during a crisis like COVID-19. A unified Agent Desktop provides a single omnichannel desktop view of the customer’s journey at the agent’s fingertips, allowing agents to review customer cases and conduct an omnichannel customer conversation.

Modernizing agent desktop requires clearly mapping the organization’s processes and needs, such as communication channels (email, telephone, chat or social media), resources, common customer inquiries and issues, level of desktop automation, order of workflows, and triggers in the right sequence, etc. If the agent desktop is designed for a large number of agents, put together a single training plan and consider rolling it out in phases, or to a small subset before taking it live.

Network connectivity and compliance

Cloud telephony-based voice communication isn’t a plug and play. It requires a carefully designed network if the enterprises have global operations. When calls originated from one country, reach the agents sitting in another far away from their data center, they go through several networks. The result? Poor call quality in terms of delays, choppy sound, or jitters. Voice traffic is extremely sensitive. Improperly configured internal network, inadequate bandwidth, and routers are a few facets that cause quality issues in cloud telephony systems.

To ensure call quality, you need to architect a network infrastructure that supports applications hosted in multiple clouds/data centers and agents in various sites or working from home. Most cloud vendors partner with telephony vendors, equipped with pre-integrated carrier networks to get the operations up and running quickly. Ensure that your cloud telephony vendor has points of presence (POP) across all continents to bridge calls locally. Evaluate their firewall or security appliance, network monitoring, and regulatory compliance (concerning call recording, data privacy, etc.), to accommodate your existing agreements that cannot be terminated. Put together a comprehensive architecture plan to ensure business continuity during downtimes or any emergency, including COVID-19.

Data and workflow migration

Cloud migration is an opportunity to remove intricacies in contact center workflows, defining how to address customer interactions in IVR, automatic call distributors, call routing, and digital channel management applications. Large enterprises typically have hundreds of workflows implemented over the years using the specific logic to support their applications.

Similarly, the cloud migration of a legacy CRM system takes more than half of cloud transitions. CRM data migration can be a daunting task, as it involves a wealth of configuration details, call records and customer data that need to be preserved for the correct functioning of any analytics and AI applications.

The major reason for migrating your data, instead of starting with a clean slate, is clear. Your customer database is core to your business and its success. Losing it means giving up valuable information on your existing customers and potential customers. But the challenge is that organizations cannot migrate all these data and workflows in one go. They require a cloud transition plan for data and workflows that begins with determining what types of data or fields can be kept unchanged or deleted during the implementation process.

Let’s sum up. Migrating to the cloud can be a straightforward and quick process for contact centers with up to 100 agents or so. A single, cloud-based contact center software solution can fulfill most of their requirements and systems. Provisioning is almost instant, and testing the solution takes just a matter of weeks. They can configure the new systems, reprogram workflows for all interaction types, and create the core set of new dashboards and reports. For large organizations, it’s totally a different ball game. Their transition might take from a few weeks up to a couple of months.