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Cloud UC Increasingly Sought For Contact Centers

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It seems like the cloud is everywhere you look these days. The consumerization of IT has created a general public that expects certain things out of its technology. Smartphones have shown that it is possible for more than one channel to be present in a single device - and even a single, cloud-based application.

People want to have easy access to the connections they use most frequently, namely in terms of business. Whether they are the customer or an employee, there are new requirements for communications that weren't once in place. This means that, of all the departments in any given organization, the contact center is going to benefit most from cloud unified communications deployments. A company's clients want to have the ability to reach out across whatever channel they most prefer, be it voice, instant message, email or a variety of other avenues.

Conversely, help desk representatives need a flexible and agile network that can support unified communications assets both in the office and from remote locations. Sometimes this can be achieved by updating or adapting on-site or legacy systems, but a number of organizations are beginning to find that moving to a hosted cloud solution is the best option for their specific business. It may be that their existing networks have fallen into disrepair, or that they are trying to free up more time for IT staff to focus their efforts elsewhere.

"Cloud based solutions for contact center enable acceleration of business change and improved customer experiences," stated MarketsandMarkets in a recent report on cloud contact centers. "These two act as the powerful motivators in the global marketplace where contact centers play a major role in competitive differentiation. Contact center organizations are looking forward to make new technology investments or upgrades. Cloud contact center software offers all the tools and functionality, a contact center is likely to need, fully integrated and available on demand. Cloud contact center software frequently offers proven, pre-built links to popular CRM, sales force automation and other software solutions."

Given that the needs of workers and clients are changing all the time, it will be important to seek out the tools that will foster innovation and success. Increasingly, this means deploying cloud UC.

Increase In Market Value Shows Growth In Popularity

Every day, more organizations are realizing what is possible with cloud-based unified communications in the contact center. As such, they are turning to hosted services in order to unlock new potential. This is evidenced by a recent MarketsandMarkets report that found the global market for cloud UC to be worth $4.15 billion. This figure is expected to reach $10.9 billion by 2019, which represents an annual growth of 21.3 percent.

These numbers are not indicative of a trend - they illustrate an evolution in customer service best practices. Constant connection is fast becoming a status quo. More staffers request to work from home and customers demand 24-hour assistance. The cost of being offline these days can be staggering, but cloud-based telecom can help circumvent potential issues.

"As with most service-based businesses, uptime is critical to contact centers' success," wrote InsideARM contributor Terrel Bird. "Downtime costs not only agent productivity, it results in significant revenue losses, which is estimated to be around $26.5 billion a year for premise-based centers, per CA Technologies. With cloud-based technology, contact centers can maintain nearly 100 percent uptime, due in part to the fact that IT professionals can access servers and contact center systems remotely, allowing them to run system diagnostics, provide off-site maintenance and even automatically deploy system-wide software updates without the risk of costly downtime."

A Customer Service Revolution

Time and money are two of the most valuable components for businesses. Enterprises need the kinds of resources that will permit them to cut costs and prevent wasted hours in the day while providing outstanding customer support. Given the kind of innovations that can only be unlocked in the cloud, leveraging it for unified communications makes a lot of sense and represents a massive shift in how organizations operate.

"Contact centers of all sizes and types are considering moving their call centers to the cloud," MarketsandMarkets stated. "Contact center technology can dramatically impede organizations ability to support day to day operations and expand its business. Cloud based contact center market software is a low-cost, quick to implement alternative which delivers the flexibility needed by organizations to enable growth and expansion. As the cloud based model makes sophisticated and advanced applications affordable to smaller companies, technology/infrastructure will gradually cease to be a barrier to entry, thereby negating a major competitive advantage held by larger companies."

Those businesses that have not yet obtained cloud communications for their contact centers should explore these possibilities sooner rather than later. The business technology landscape is incredibly unpredictable, and keeping up with new developments will be critical to staying ahead.