In this guide, we’re going to talk about the whys and wherefores of contact center migration and go through all the steps of this process. We’ll also help you choose the right software vendor, which is one of the key factors of your success.
What is the “cloud” and how it works
The term “cloud” first emerged in the computer network diagrams, which used icons to depict network appliances and clouds to represent external networks (typically, Internet).
A part of a physical network diagram by Microsoft, 2012
“Cloud” is basically an on-demand computing and storage capacity provided to you as a service over the Internet. The cloud for business is not the same as the cloud for individual use. If you’re a big organization, you’ll be able to choose between three options:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) ‒ an application you subscribe to and use it over the Internet (e.g. Salesforce);
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) ‒ a platform where you can build your own app and use it within your organization (e.g. Windows Azure);
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) ‒ a storage space given to major enterprises “for rent” (Amazon).
Businesses love cloud for a couple of reasons. First off, it’s an extremely cost-effective alternative since it provides similar functionality as an on-premise facility but doesn’t require big upfront investment, on-site support, and things like that. Also, it provides immense flexibility, scalability, and shared resources capabilities.
The cloud is great for a hypothetical business, but how viable is this decision for your contact center? What makes organizations like yours to plug into the cloud? Let’s dig deeper into this topic.
The big “why”
What factors influence the implementation of cloud-based contact center solutions?
Here are the most common reasons why contact center owners decide to move to the cloud.
- They want to grow without relying on up-front capital investment. A lion’s share of this decision boils down to money. Cloud contact center solution offers subscription-based service. It does not require significant investment, neither it needs ongoing spending. All technical support is covered by the vendor. If you’ve ever built an on-premise call center, you know what we’re talking about. The difference is huge.
- They need more flexibility. Being able to scale is something that can’t be done easily when you have an on-premise contact center. The companies with changing call volumes and remote teams need this extra agility in their life because that’s how you sustain a business.
- They are intrigued by the functionality. Modern-day contact centers on the cloud are extremely versatile. The number of functions and capabilities one can get from a single solution can be a real bargain even if you go for a pricey alternative. CRM, reports, call scripts, software integrations… and it’s just a tiny bit of what you can use. And another benefit is the ongoing innovation process, you will easily receive all new software releases.
- Customization and integration. Having all these features is great, but what if a business needs more personalization? It’s not a problem for modern-day SaaS solutions since they typically allow for software integration and customization capabilities.
Every business is unique in their needs. ContactBabel note in their report that there are clearly some financial, operational and technical advantages for many organizations in moving to the cloud. However, there is no one or two big reasons to go for this transition.
Reasons for choosing cloud-based solutions as viewed by businesses with contact centers, ContactBabel, 2018-19
The diagram below illustrates the experience of businesses that have actually implemented a cloud solution.
Survey respondents sharing their experience with SaaS cloud contact centers, ContactBabel, 2018-19
In most cases, the advantages were significant. However, the cloud is not a cure for all your problems, and even though you are most likely to benefit from this transition, aligning your expectations with reality won’t do any harm.
Quick cloud readiness test
Take some time and honestly answer the questions below. They might help you make the right decision.
- Will my company benefit from this change financially?
- Will it help my team operation-wise? In what way?
- What additional functions will I get? Do I need them?
- Are there any security risks? How can I prevent them?
- Where will my data be stored? Am I happy with that?
- How much personalization do I need? Will I get it?
- How reliable is this solution in terms of performance?
If you feel that your business will benefit from the cloud after taking this questionnaire, keep reading. We’ll guide you through the contact center migration plan step by step.
Moving your contact center to the cloud step by step
Step #1 ‒ Assess your contact center
The first thing you need to do is assessing your current contact center to determine what result you want to achieve with the transition to the cloud. You want to go through the following aspects in your evaluation process:
Contact center systems. Go through your core systems (e.g., dialer, ACD, IVR), servicing applications (knowledge base systems, CRM, scripts, etc), and management systems (reporting and analytics, quality management, and others). Do you want to move everything to the cloud or would you like to keep some systems on-premise? Some companies prefer to move everything at once while others do it gradually or choose to not move some things at all. Do what makes sense for your company.
Communications channels. Same here, if you support multiple channels (voice, SMS, chat, email, social media), decide on what you want to move to the cloud. And if you don’t provide a multichannel experience at the moment, a cloud contact center is your chance to expand your potential.
Additional features. After you’ve assessed all your systems, check-in with your business needs. What extra functionality your current call center lacks? Are there any existing features that could have done a better job? You can add, remove, or replace these by shifting to the cloud.
Contact center users. Assess your contact center users and their needs ‒ agents, call center managers, customers. Does your current system meet their needs? If not, what can be done to improve their experience? You have the opportunity to make it happen soon.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Analyze the business side of your contact center. Are there any operational needs that are currently not met? What KPIs would you like to improve? Is there anything you’d like to monitor but cannot monitor at the moment? You can take charge of your data with the right software.
Step #2 ‒ Choose the right contact center solution
This step is super important as it will determine the outcome of your transition. The call center solution of your choice should satisfy most if not all your business needs. You might want to consider omnichannel communication capabilities, real-time dashboard, analytics and reporting, management and collaboration tools, etc. It’s advisable to check out a few demos or take free trials of several options to see what works best for your team.
Step #3 ‒ Get in synch with the vendor
Remember that your ultimate success depends on the vendor who will provide technical support, fix possible bugs, and send you updates. So don’t just choose the software, choose yourself a business partner. In doing so, give answers to the following questions:
- What is their technology expertise? Do they meet all our needs?
- Will they be able to keep up with our business growth or only support organizations of a specific size?
- Do they ensure a high level of security and reliability?
- Do they help with the call center migration?
- Do they provide ongoing support?
Ideally, you should get a solid “yes” to all the five questions. That’s your perfect match.
Also, make sure to partner up with someone who can assist you all the way through the migration.
Step #4 ‒ Plan and execute the migration
Come up with the strategic project plan with deliverables, milestones, and deadlines for each step of the call center migration ‒ exporting, transforming, and deployment. Your vendor can greatly facilitate this process.
Exporting is literally taking data from your old solution and transferring it to the new one in a format that will work for this new system. Since data is collected automatically, the human error and impact on the existing environment are taken to the minimum.
At the transforming stage, all the tools, sites, and users migrate to the new solution with the help of APIs. Similarly to exporting, onsite work during transforming is also automated, which reduces manual work and simplifies the upgrade.
The final stage is deployment. At this point, you activate your sites and users in your new solution with the help of the vendor. If the process is well-organized, the migration will be smooth and your business will hardly feel any changes.
Step #5 ‒ Enjoy the benefits of the cloud contact center
Congrats! You’ve successfully made it through the migration and now your team can keep working using the new call center solution. Check-in with everybody to make sure they don’t have any difficulties with the new system. By default, your vendor will conduct a training session with your agents to help them adapt to the software.
You’ll soon notice that cloud call centers are extremely convenient. They combine a bunch of useful features, give your managers total control over the workflow and empower your agents to demonstrate better performance. You’ll also notice your KPIs improve and your sales grow.
Overall, migration to the cloud contact center is a wise business choice and it’s well worth the hustle. We at Voiptime Cloud assist our clients all the way through the migration and provide ongoing support for the entire time of the software use. Would you like to find out more about our cloud-based contact center solution? Get in touch with one of our experts today!