Spending on CCaaS licences continues to increase annually, whilst on-premises license spend is reducing. As organisations continue to deliver their cloud strategies, this trend is likely to accelerate.
Running a contact centre through the cloud (Contact Centre as a Service, CCaaS) has undoubtedly become more widespread in the last couple of years. We could be reaching a tipping point where it really takes off – even for large enterprises with significant contact centre operations. But what are the key factors behind making it work?
In many ways, we are seeing the same changes that happened to Infrastructure a few years ago. Then, businesses learned that moving their servers to the cloud wasn’t just about infrastructure – it brought the need for a whole new application-centric mindset, built around a DevOps and agile approach.
The same applies with CCaaS. It fundamentally changes the skillsets needed in the CC team and the way you approach the running of your service.
Under the traditional model, running a contact centre is first and foremost a technical exercise. In our experience, ninety percent of the team will be telecoms or IT engineers. Their focus is on ensuring that services are available, secure and resilient. They don’t need a particular understanding of the customer strategy or how that fits within the wider business strategy: their priority is simply that the systems work.
With CCaaS, all that changes. Because it’s hosted in the cloud, the technical concerns about availability and resilience are already solved for. What matters now is the customer experience you’re trying to build. This affects the team requirements. While developers and engineers replace the traditional infrastructure engineers, there will also be a significant need for business analysts, customer experience architects and individuals who can work in an agile way to innovate, collaborate and experiment.
We see three key organisational challenges arising:
- Embedding new skillsets – new skills will be needed. CCaaS is software microservices driven and requires appropriate developers, architects, scrum masters and product owners, who will speak a completely different language to traditional telecoms teams. An effective CC team analyses the customer journey across touchpoints and explores how the organisation can collaborate and innovate to drive up the quality of the customer experience. Getting the right mix of skills across the team is key, as is ensuring that everyone is clear about what outcomes you are trying to achieve
- Enabling a multi-speed approach – one of the great benefits of CCaaS services is that they can be flexed and adjusted almost instantly. But to take advantage of this, organisational flexibility needs to be unlocked. Different teams – working within common enterprise-wide standards and guidelines – need to be able to move and innovate at the right speed for them. An agile culture needs to be embedded
- Making sure the cost/value model is understood – the CCaaS consumption-based pricing model is very different to the traditional, upfront fixed cost approach. It enables a much more flexible environment where initiatives can be trialled on a small scale at low cost, together with much faster recognition of value and more accurate allocation of costs. It is vital therefore to ensure that business users and IT understand the new model, so that they can work accordingly and get best value.
In these times of Covid-19 uncertainty – and with possibly years of challenging economic conditions ahead – businesses need to maximise the value and quality of every customer interaction. CCaaS can be expected to proliferate and help organisations do that. But to be really effective, the shift from a technical to a CX mindset is key.
It’s also critical to be ready to work alongside your chosen vendor. The leaders in this space are predominantly software driven and expect a joint development and collaborative approach – so another challenge is to ensure that your organisation is culturally ready for this. Procurement needs to consider more cooperative approaches to the traditional RFP, such as joint solutioning and model offices, and shift the focus to experience over feature comparison.
You may also need to spend some time thinking about what the IT operating model and design will look like, given that the contact centre will effectively move out of the pure IT domain and into more of a hybrid customer experience and architecture domain.
There are many things to think about – but from our experience in working with clients, there are significant benefits to be gained. We see a growing CCaaS revolution – are you prepared for it? We’d love to hear from you if you have any questions, comments or thoughts.
Author: Adam Todd & Bharat Choragudi
Disclaimer – opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the authors, and not necessarily to the author’s employer or organisation.