Bringing Cloud CX Down To Earth in 2020: What We Learned and Why It Matters
By Milos Djokovic
Those of us who have been in the call center – then contact center – and now customer experience (CX) industry are more than comfortable with change. In fact, it is when things do not change that we become uncomfortable.
After waves of innovation since the industry took off based on toll-free, or 800 number “customer service” appeared in the 1960s, through the advent of the Internet, VoIP, CTI, IVR, and an entire acronym soup of software-based advances, we are enjoying a thriving global market valued at $368 billion by the end of 2024, up from $277 billion in 2018, according to a recent forecast by Orbis Research.
The only way to scale and succeed, given this continued expansion, is by moving to cloud.
Within the next few years, I predict that only cloud supported CX platforms will survive, and while that may seem like a bold statement, it makes all the sense in the world.
The topic of cloud has been a darling of hype cycles for the last two decades, and the subject of changing definitions and misunderstandings. We gained clarity as cloud platforms including AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM, and others grew, and we moved into not just “the” cloud, but cloud mixes: public, private, hybrid, multi and now edge versions, each with their pros and cons.
One of the main reasons cloud has not been adopted faster in the CX industry is the existing capital investments companies like Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, and others have required their customers to take on (with hardware infrastructure on-premise solutions), or which they have taken on themselves (when delivering a managed service).
Owning your own infrastructure is no longer an advantage; applications, software, big data analytics and AI and innovation overall are creating the competitive advantage of the future. Moving away from the complexity and heavy up-front capital expenditure approaches which have evolved over the last two decades and moving towards flexible operational expenditure models is no longer inevitable, but just smart.
What we’ve learned, including our team at Eventus (which has completed hundreds of CX projects), is that we’ve proven the cloud not only reduces the cost of operations, but sets the stage for adding more value with applications that can relatively simply be added to cloud architectures, especially if the overall architecture is on solid footing. For example, we have helped Clients realize benefit from proven cloud platform vendors, such as inContact, delivering a global footprint, with scalability in the 1,000’s of seats.
One example of the ease of adding value to infrastructure is our IntelligenceHub platform. It connects with nearly every major contact center and CX platform in use today, with data connectors we built, then consumes, normalizes, and makes available clean data sets that feed business intelligence and insights – and does so leveraging cloud. This is not the only way to enrich your cloud infrastructure.
With a cloud solution in place, running as a harmonized system, if our Client wishes to add AI, layering analytics over the data to further enhance automation and deliver smarter bots or smart agent experiences – no problem. This can be done “cloud to cloud.”
In the end, it is the consumer – the customer – the next generation end-user – who is driving the move to cloud, including the massive adoption of more powerful mobile devices which create increasing opportunities (and pressures) to deliver not only fast, friendly and efficient experiences, but personalized and contextual experiences. New technologies like 5G will further increase the demand for sophisticated CX.
Finally, we’re excited to see new competition rising in the CX space, including the early successes of CX platforms from companies like Twilio, TalkDesk, and 8×8 but also from the cloud providers themselves, with AWS rolling out their contact-center specific cloud-native offering Amazon Connect.
These are smart moves by smart companies, but those that will succeed in the higher end of the market will be the ones that offer a full suite of capabilities beyond channels such as workforce optimization, deep integrations with CRM platforms, AI, and more.
Cloud is no longer an if, but a when.
In recent years, we have been successfully implementing enterprise grade cloud contact center solutions for our Clients at greater and greater scale. This suggests the when should be now, as the cloud is now providing enterprise-class value and continues to expand and improve at a rate much faster than on-premise, creating an ideal environment for future innovation.
It can be hard to fathom a life without customer service in it. Before remote desktop support, live chat and other contact center solutions, there were complex phone trees and outsourced call centers and before that there were buggy IVR systems and telephone switchboards connecting you to the store you purchased the product from.
The past few decades have seen the business world sway multiple times between call center outsourcing and internal call center operations.