Cloud-based systems have arrived as an option for how organizations source their IT systems now, and their use will increase in the future. Recent benchmark research by this firm concludes that this is true of contact center operations. Among the findings are that in this area of business, customer relationship management (CRM) is the application most often currently used in the cloud, though a variety of others also have been deployed in this manner. Looking toward the future, the research indicates that the adoption of cloud-based systems is likely to increase, particularly in communications systems. And in addressing the critical issue of improving the handling of interactions with customers, deploying such systems ranked second among ways to help do this. We recommend that companies include this option in their thinking about how to serve customers more effectively; for more on this research, go to http://www.ventanaresearch.com/ccc.
Proponents of cloud-based deployments argue that they have several major advantages over conventional on-premises systems. They require little upfront capital expenditure; the major costs come as a monthly “rental” charge for using the service rather than an annual license; they are less demanding on in-house resources; they are quicker, easier and less risky to implement; updates are built into the service charge; and disaster recovery is taken care of by the vendor. Our research shows that organizations are overcoming earlier concerns about moving their contact centers to the cloud and that economic factors such as these are making it an attractive alternative.
Our analysis focused on three areas: communication technologies, business applications and analytics. As expected, CRM is the application deployed most often, by just over one-quarter of participating companies. Somewhat surprisingly about as many have adopted text analytics in the cloud, likely to analyze the content of social media. In addition to these two, the results showed significant adoption of video, computer/telephony integration (CTI), text messaging, feedback management, e-learning and social media analytics (a specific form of text analytics) in the cloud.
Of the three areas we researched, participants plan to adopt communications systems most widely over the next two years; for call routing, social media and video, adoption rates in the cloud are likely to equal or exceed on-premises. The next fastest growth area is business applications; quality monitoring, call recording, social media integration, feedback management and e-learning all will equal or exceed on-premises. In third place is analytics, for which companies seem less confident of moving to the cloud; only operational intelligence and speech analytics are likely to equal on-premises.
Companies are planning to improve interaction-handling largely by addressing people-related issues, primarily by improving training and coaching for everyone who handles them. However a close second was the adoption of cloud-based systems, which 27 percent more companies chose than investing in on-premises systems.
Our research over the last few years has found cloud computing to be a viable and increasingly popular option for new business technology installations, varying in adoption with the types of use. Contact centers are relatively late adopters, but now it is clear that here, too, the movement to the cloud is finding traction and is likely to accelerate. Customer behavior and technology use are changing, and we advise companies trying to adapt to new conditions to consider basing new or updated systems in the cloud.