Cloud-based contact centres have taken off in a big way. With business process outsourcers (BPOs) needing flexibility and scalability to respond quickly to changing conditions, the cloud is best placed to enable these desires. The latest research from the Cloud Industry Forum has found that 46 per cent of UK-based organisations use cloud-based contact centres today, a figure that is expected to increase to 68 per cent over the next few years. These results confirm the value of cloud-based contact centres and their ability to transform customer service and engagement. The research, which polled 250 UK IT decision-makers in late 2015, examined the ways in which organisations are using cloud and looked at how this may change in the future. It found that the proportion of organisations operating a cloud-based contact centre has increased from 40 per cent at the start of the year, with a further 22 per cent expecting to move their contact centre to the cloud in future. This is largely due to the fact that contact centres can operate much more efficiently on an OPEX (operational expenditure), rather than CAPEX (capital expenditure) model. One of the biggest challenges with traditionally outsourced contact centres is that it is difficult to cut waste and maintain a tight ship; you’ve got to over-provision to cope with demand when it is high, but that inevitably means that investments aren’t used when demand drops off. Without the need to invest in vast amounts of internal infrastructure, with cloud partners managing the hardware on contact centre’s behalf, a cloud-based model can alleviate these over-provisioning pressures. For outsourcers, this drop in capital spending can enable BPOs to directly invest in business-critical activities, such as more agents or business development programmes. But beyond that, cloud-based contact centres have the potential to transform customer experience and engagement. Being able to offer clients best-of-breed service through top quality technology is a huge benefit for BPOs. Cloud services offer businesses access to the latest advancements in enterprise-grade contact centre technology immediately, and without having to wait out the natural technology refresh cycle. This growth can also be attributed to the cloud’s ability to support customer engagement and customer service initiatives. Customer service continues to factor heavily in businesses’ decisions to move to cloud, with around a third (31 per cent) of businesses stating that improving customer service and support was one of the primary business objectives driving their investments in the delivery model. The time is ripe for the customer service and engagement sectors to greatly benefit from cloud computing. This is not something BPOs need to be looking out for anymore - cloud is no longer a technology on the horizon, but one here to stay. The flexibility it can offer to contact centres cannot be overlooked, and business owners who recognise this too late could lose a competitive edge in this changing marketplace.
About the Author Keiron Dalton is Senior Director of Customer Strategy and Innovation for Aspect Software. Keiron comes from a background in software engineering, having spent over 17 years in the IT industry, with roles ranging from technical engineer through to product management. Keiron has a keen interest and expert knowledge in innovation and thought leadership within IT, and has specialist experience in product management, product marketing, hardware/software support, project management, software testing, network, and purchasing.