Cloud computing has come a long way since 1961 when the concept was first introduced. It’s gone from being an overused buzzword—that tech startups prattled about to help sell services—to one of the biggest technology disrupters. In fact, one could argue that we’re currently living in the “era of cloud computing,” judging by its widespread adoption.
According to a recent report from Emergent Research and Intuit Inc., nearly 80 percent of U.S. small businesses will be fully adapted to cloud computing by 2020, more than doubling the current 37 percent. Moreover, supporting research from Gartner states that end-user spending on cloud services could be more than $180 billion by 2015.
While cloud computing has made an impact on almost every industry, it’s made a particularly large impression on the contact center sector, helping to significantly cut costs and make organizations more responsive than ever. In fact, more than 18 percent of contact center seats are projected to be delivered by cloud-based contact center infrastructure providers by the end of 2015, according to research from the Aberdeen Group.
Besides offering a less expensive way for contact centers to host software, cloud computing centralizes customer data, which minimizes response times and improves customer satisfaction. The benefits, however, don’t stop there. Below are the top five benefits of deploying a cloud-based contact center solution:
- Reduced upfront costs: Unlike premise-based solutions that require a large upfront capital investment, cloud computing services are typically pay-as-you-go. After serving up a small initial fee, you pay only for the features you use on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. Also, with no vendor lock-in, you can recoup costs if your initial investment doesn’t produce the functions you expect or achieve the business results you desire.
- Quick, hassle-free integration: Many executives choose to stick with their legacy technology because they don’t want to wade through a lengthy implementation process. In doing so, however, they lose out on the many advantages afforded by newer technologies. Cloud-based solutions can be deployed in as little as one day or, at the very most, a couple of weeks.What’s more, any maintenance or software updates are done automatically on the cloud service provider’s tab.
- Access to enterprise-grade features: Cloud-based contact solutions give small and midsized companies access to an array of enterprise-grade features—such as workforce optimization, queuing, quality monitoring and reporting—that were once only available to larger organizations with big budgets. Moreover, cloud-based suites can be customized to fit the needs and budget of any contact center.
- Increased flexibility and scalability: It’s common for contact centers to experience unexpected peaks and valleys. During the months of February through May (also known as tax season), for example, contact centers undergo an uptake in activity. With a premise-based solution, adding capacity to handle this demand can be costly and time-consuming. With a cloud-based solution, on the other hand, contact centers are able to rapidly scale infrastructure to accommodate peak periods.
- Improvements in security: While some businesses have expressed concerns that cloud-based solutions lack security for sensitive customer data, studies have shown that many of these fears may be unfounded. According to research from Microsoft, 94 percent of U.S. businesses said their security had actually improved after adopting cloud applications. That’s because cloud-based software providers can offer security functions that end users can’t. For example, service providers are trained and experienced in managing large amounts of data, while most in-house teams aren’t.
The cloud grants businesses economic advantages, speed, agility, flexibility and innovation. Those companies that fail to embrace the “era of cloud computing” will undoubtedly be left in the dust by their competitors.
So, how will you phase your organization into the cloud?