CCaS is role model for contact centre of the future
CCaS is role model for contact centre of the future
Anne-Meine Gramsma, chief commercial officer at ContactCenter4All, discusses the case for shifting to cloud-based contact centre-as-a-service solutions
Initially spurred on by the Covid-induced shift to remote work- ing, many companies are turning to cloud-based platforms such as Microsoft Teams for an easy-to-deploy, cost-effective solution. Cloud-based systems are now becoming an inevitabil- ity – analyst research demonstrated a 16.3% decline in traditional infrastructure while public cloud spend surpassed $10bn.
There are many reasons why cloud-based collaborative solu- tions are ideal for businesses operating contact centres remotely and on-premise, and why platforms such as Microsoft Teams are ideal – and not just because they can be deployed rapidly. The popularity of Teams is rising as it matures and broadens in capa- bilities. This has been fast-forwarded by global events that have sparked major demand for greater collaboration between remote users, but Teams is now a highly mature platform in its own right. With Skype for Business service on course to be phased out, shift- ing from one Microsoft platform to another is a logical move.
Teams has grown from 75 million daily users in April 2020 to 145 million in April 2021 due to business continuity efforts and remote work strategies. Since the annual major update in November, there has been a further huge boost in Teams capabil- ity, improving the user experience and enhancing developer tools.
Typically, standalone, “off the shelf” unified communications (UC) platforms require further integrated software to make them suitable for roles such as dedicated contact centre operations, consistently delivering the high level of customer experience that today’s consumers expect as a minimum standard.
Microsoft is continually expanding its Graph API (application programming interface); once this reaches completion, solution developers will be able to add further features to ensure a con- sistently high-quality contact centre experience. Businesses need extra functionalities such as call recording, queue monitoring, interactive voice response and reporting on top of Teams.
Teams also offers excellent third-party integration capabili- ties, allowing businesses to deploy dedicated, cloud-based con- tact centre solutions on top of their existing Teams deployment. These offer powerful extra features such as omnichannel, skill- based routing, call-back capability, queue recording, reporting and enhanced supervisory and operator capabilities. This enables supervisors to listen in and “barge in” to agent-customer interac- tions for assistance with particularly challenging queries.
For companies looking to migrate from legacy in-house systems to Teams and integrated contact centre software, a phased migra- tion can make this a seamless experience and avoid the need for disinvestments from an existing deployment. Businesses still assessing their approach to migration are advised to consult with a trusted partner and discuss how to shift in this way.
At this initial stage, businesses can identify workflows, assess department suitability for migration and develop a proof-of-con- cept for migration. It is important to identify systems and depart- ments that can be shifted early on, then gradually broaden this migration, retaining the legacy system where necessary. Flexible cloud-based deployments greatly accelerate this shift.
The shift to Teams should be swift and cost-neutral. The bot- tom line is unaffected if deployment is handled correctly with a fit-for-purpose partner. Contact centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) offers the flexibility to migrate in a staggered way, on-boarding staff at a measured pace without incurring significant costs. This “pay as you go” model also enables businesses to scale up capac- ity during surge periods of high demand.
Whether businesses opt for Teams or an alternative platform, cloud-based solutions will be key for ensuring business continuity in the event of future disruption. Yet many regions are at varying levels of maturity in their cloud adoption journey.
In Europe, remote working is much more advanced than other regions, with many contact centres shifting to fully remote opera- tions during the pandemic. These firms are playing the waiting game and assessing the options for migrating to a more advanced platform before pushing ahead, but are well-placed to begin exploring a phased migration of departments and operations.
Remote working the norm
Remote working is ultimately on course to remain the norm, with many large companies already starting to offer the choice for staff to return to the office or remain working from home indefi- nitely. First-quarter surveys of UK workers are already demon- strating positive opinions of continued remote work, with others keen to split their working time between home and office work.
With many firms keen to establish flexible, modern working strategies, setting up cloud-based contact centre facilities with remote working capabilities should be a top priority. A proven UC platform such as Teams will be central to the success of any CCaaS approach.
By Anne-Meine Gramsma
September 2021 issue of MicroScope _page 9_
Stepping forward after Covid