If Ben Franklin were alive today, his famous quote would read something like this, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes and cloud software.” The world of contact center solutions is just a microcosm of the myriad of software applications used by enterprises moving inexorably to a Software as a Service (SaaS) model in the public cloud. Most industry leaders agree that their software will eventually reside in the cloud, but what’s the state of the cloud contact center right now?
Paul Stockford, Chief Analyst at Saddletree Research has recently completed a survey of 143 contact center managers and executives regarding their opinions and preferences on a wide range of topics, and some of his key findings about cloud contact centers were revealed in a recent webinar co-sponsored by Aspect. Based upon the trend in responses to his yearly survey, Stockford is predicting that 58% of contact centers that are now completely on-premises will move to the cloud by 2020. Even more interesting is the fact that the contact center application most likely to transition to the cloud is… Workforce Management.
Workforce Management (WFM) software is one of the fundamental building blocks of an efficiently operating contact center, but why are contact centers focused on deploying WFM in the cloud over all the other possibilities? Well, it’s all very logical when you consider the fact that many contact centers are already sold on the advantages of the cloud and the fact that WFM has a certain amount of autonomy compared to other core contact center software.
Denying the advantages and inevitability of the cloud SaaS delivery model is like denying the advantages and inevitability of electricity after Ben Franklin had discovered it. Most savvy operations managers and IT managers get it, just like most of us are comfortable using Salesforce.com and managing email, chat, and documents from the cloud. What organization would not want software applications with these advantages:
- Offers the lowest total cost of use over the lifetime of the software product
- Can be accessed and run on any computing device with a browser
- Automatically scales memory, storage and CPU resources as needed
- Provides continuous software upgrades at no additional cost
- Includes built-in disaster recovery
- Reduces dependence on scarce IT resources
The argument for cloud software is compelling by itself, but why WFM in particular? Workforce management software is an especially good candidate for migration to the cloud largely because it mitigates many of the perceived risks that still linger about the cloud. For example:
- Real-time data from connected systems such as routing platforms (ACD) from most vendors contains enough information that should minor delays due to latency occur, there is no impact on Adherence or Alarm calculation
- All communication to and from the platform is encrypted, even though data used by WFM does not contain proprietary customer information, so there’s little risk of fallout from a data breach
- If the WFM system were to go down in the cloud, automation and procedures are in place for swift return to service even in the worst cases
- WFM becomes available everywhere, for all types of business users, from the workforce team to the employees, with secure access ensured by managed networking and security practices
- Staff members get the best tools available. Product upgrades are automated and included in subscription costs
- WFM software is typically purchased independently of the ACD and Recording/Quality Management systems and interoperates with a very wide spectrum of vendors and different types of solutions. Subscribing to a cloud SaaS solution mimics the historical pattern of an autonomous WFM purchase
For organizations thinking seriously about a cloud contact center, cloud WFM offers an initial low risk stepping stone. Aspect recently released Aspect Via Workforce Management, the SaaS version of its rich on-premises WFM solution, now available in the Amazon Web Services Cloud. The beauty of Aspect Via WFM lies in its inherent power and simplicity when implemented stand-alone, combined with its natural upgrade path to a complete Aspect Via solution including all native routing, self-service and WFO components. Customers can manage their complex workforce challenges with the #1 rated WFM solution available at an affordable price per agent, so even small contact centers can have the best solution in the industry. If customers decide they want to transition the rest of their infrastructure to the cloud, Aspect offers an easy way to do it.
To see more of the findings from the newly released Saddletree survey on cloud contact centers, view the full webinar here.