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In Government, Cloud Is The Only Solution For Contact Centers

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For an organization to be considered successful, it has to be able to listen.

"Being heard is one of the basic human needs," wrote SAP Community Network contributor Kirsi Tarvainen. "Not being heard gets people frustrated - be it with your spouse, your children….or customer service. Calling a contact center, waiting on the line and finally being connected with somebody who can't do anything to help, is the opposite of being heard."

But it is not just businesses that have to make sure they are accessible. Government institutions, because they are serving as representatives of the people, need to have some of the strongest contact center resources available. Millions of people try to contact local, state and federal offices every day, and many of them are undoubtedly subjected to the same kinds of hold-related frustrations as they might be with a retailer.

It is rapidly being realized that the world of enterprise has vastly benefited from modern telecom advancements - namely the cloud and what it has done for voice. While tools like email are based in cyberspace, phone connections have historically been facilitated through traditional copper circuits. This presented a problem for professionals, who were required to switch between computers and aging landlines. The lack of a singular interface proved cumbersome in more than one instance. But as time wore on, people began to realize that voice could be just as easily achieved by routing it through data connections - and at a much cheaper expense. This innovation led to the development of unified communications, which subsequently - and like many other aspects of computing - found a home in the cloud.

The enterprise-related issues that have been mitigated by tools like VoIP phone service are many of the same faced by government offices around the world. They may not be businesses, but they still have to be run like they are. But this can be difficult when funding is dependent on things like taxes and fines - these revenue streams can be inconsistent and harder to influence than those of companies that market and sell a product.

From small, local businesses to Fortune 500 corporations, the benefits of launching unified communications networks into the cloud have been widely publicized. From greater flexibility of systems to lower costs of operation, companies are making themselves more visible and responsive while saving on the bottom dollar. Government organizations need to upgrade their communications networks to incorporate IP telephony. By integrating these services with other platforms and channels and placing them in a cloud environment, these offices will be able to increase their productivity by a considerable degree while improving the way they respond to the population at large.

Government Institutions Need Enterprise Contact Center Responsiveness

The growth of popularity in modern call center software and devices has been noticeable over the last few years. According to research conducted by Multichannel Merchant, more companies are realizing that they need to update their contact center technologies. The number of organizations that are interested in bolstering their networks over a 12 month period has actually increased by 8.4 percent between 2012 and 2014. There was also a notable increase of 6.8 percent in the number of offices that have implemented live chat functionality within that same time, as well as a jump of 13.7 percent in those who are either using or considering hosted phone service providers.

Because so many customers - and constituents - have been empowered by the consumerization of IT, companies have had to adapt to these new abilities or risk falling behind. While there has not been as much attention paid to implementing these same answers in government settings, that does not mean that they do not have any application there. Government officials and the organizations that they work under ultimately answer to the people - just like a business. Similarly, they are prone to the same potential public relations disasters that companies have to deal with every now and again. The same agility that businesses are achieving with cloud phone systems has clear applications for those tasked with running parts of - if not the entire - country they live in.

Governments need to be streamlined operations. There has to be swift response to comments and concerns of the public and a network in place that can enable just that. Legacy circuits, however beneficial they may have been to previous generations, do not have the same kind of interoperability that is required of modern phone services. There are so many possibilities and features that are easily applied to VoIP-assisted unified communications initiatives, from things as seemingly simple as hold music to "follow me" calling structures, government offices need to have the same kind of contact center abilities that are so frequently sought by enterprise operations.