Moving to the Cloud: Truth or Dare? Debunking 5 Myths of Hosted Contact Centers

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1 WHITE PAPER Moving to the Cloud: Truth or Dare? Debunking 5 Myths of Hosted Contact Centers

2 This document is Copyright 2012 by USAN. This document contains information that is confidential and proprietary to USAN. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means or stored in a database or retrieval system without prior written permission of USAN. All products, trade names, and registered trademarks used in this document are acknowledged. 2 USAN 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

3 white paper table of contents 4 hosted call centers vs. on-premise software 4 Avoiding the 5 Supposed Gotchas of Cloud Call Centers 4 cloud vs. on-premise software gotcha : security 4 Verdict 5 cloud vs. on-premise software gotcha : scalability 5 Verdict 5 cloud vs. on-premise software gotcha : integration 5 Verdict 6 cloud vs. on-premise software gotcha : cost 6 Verdict 7 cloud vs. on-premise software gotcha : features & functionality 7 Verdict 7 the USAN difference WHITE PAPER: MOVING TO THE CLOUD: TRUTH OR DARE? 3

4 Hosted Call Centers vs. On-premise Software Avoiding the 5 Supposed Gotchas of Cloud Call Centers No SaaS discussion is complete these days until someone touts the many benefits of moving applications to the cloud. It s hard to ignore the promise of CAPEX and OPEX savings, especially when many businesses are still recovering from the economic crisis and are searching for ways to provide additional value to their customers. But not all Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings are created equal. Some applications are a better fit for the cloud than others, and some providers are better capable of delivering cloud-based services than others. Hosted call centers are no different. call center services to determine which delivery model offers the best security, scalability, integration, cost, and features and functionality. Early call center hosting providers faced a number of unique challenges in delivering their services. These challenges, although largely overcome by today s providers, gave rise to concerns that still haunt businesses today and may prevent them from reaping the benefits of SaaS. This white paper analyzes those concerns in relation to both on-premise call center software and hosted Cloud vs. On-premise Software Gotcha : Security As often as you hear about the cloud s cost benefits, you re likely to hear about its security risks. There is an inherent fear that as soon as data leaves the confines of an organization s four walls, it is no longer secure. This concern grew out of the fact that the organization no longer has control over how its data is handled and stored. Without the proper assurances that the cloud environment is secure, the customer assumes that it is not. On the other hand, the same customer may falsely assume that a server and system located in their own data center are more secure than a SaaS provider s. But that s not necessarily true, either. Hosted call centers are under constant pressure to establish a balance between security and accessibility more than most in-house IT organizations. It s not unusual for organizations to discover, upon moving their call center to the cloud, that the level of accessibility granted to users when the system was on premise actually put the organization at risk. But users don t want to jump through hoops to get to their data. They just want the information they need. When those same hoops are removed from an on-premise deployment, the system becomes vulnerable. Cloud call center providers understand the importance of risk management and the need to balance security with accessibility. They really have no other option since the inability to meet the rigorous requirements of risk and compliance professionals means losing business. Hosted call center providers make it their objective to maintain an environment that meets regulatory and certification requirements. SECURITY A cloud call center provider can deliver services that are as secure if not more so than on premise. The key is to work with a provider who has extensive experience delivering hosted call center services. Look for a provider that can articulate how access is balanced with security. And Forrester offers this advice: Risk and compliance teams need to audit and approve the cloud contact center service provider s security procedures and technology to best manage the enterprise s exposure. 1 1 Schoeller, Art and McNabb, Kyle. Is It Time to Move Your Contact Center to the Cloud? Forrester Research Inc., June 1, USAN 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

5 Cloud vs. On-premise Software Gotcha : Scalability Concerns about the ability of cloud call centers to scale have resulted in the misconception that they are only appropriate for small organizations. For a while this was true. According to Forrester, The shift to SaaS requires significant changes to [the vendor s] products, channels, and business model, and they ve been slow to embrace it. They have to re-engineer their software to support multitenancy and/or virtualization to drive larger scale. 2 Early hosting providers used smaller homegrown systems based on older technology to save money and lower their costs. But there was a trade off: They couldn t scale to SCALABILITY Cloud-based call centers can scale more efficiently and cost-effectively than an organization hosting its software on premise. However, you need a call center provider that has invested in its infrastructure to provide this scalability. Look for a provider that has a proven track record of largescale enterprise deployments. According to Forrester, The shift to SaaS requires significant changes to [the vendor s] products, channels, and business model, and they ve been slow to embrace it. They have to re-engineer their software to support multitenancy and/or virtualization to drive larger scale. accommodate additional capacity. Time has shown that this approach does not benefit growing organizations or providers who wish to stay viable in today s market. Today s call center providers address scalability by implementing enterprise-level platforms that can scale to tens of thousands of agents. These hosted call centers offer clear scalability benefits over on-premise deployments. Organizations no longer need to spend weeks procuring, installing, configuring, and testing the hardware and software needed to accommodate growth or seasonal spikes. Instead, they can scale up and down as needed throughout the year without the expense of additional hardware and software that goes unused much of the time. Cloud vs. On-premise Software Gotcha : Integration INTEGRATION Integration is a legitimate concern when you re evaluating call center deployment models. When you partner with a hosted call center provider that has mastered the art of complex integrations, the burden of integration is no longer yours. And a successful outcome is much more likely. Look for a provider that will integrate its systems to your specifications. A hosted call center provider should modify and tailor its technology to accommodate your requirements and minimize the impact of a solution migration from on-premise to the cloud. 2,3 Schoeller, Art and McNabb, Kyle. Is It Time to Move Your Contact Center to the Cloud? Forrester Research Inc., June 1, Integration isn t easy, regardless of where your software is hosted. But it s especially true of the cloud. Hosted contact center providers have historically struggled with integrations between their own systems and the customer s systems, putting organizations at a disadvantage. According to Forrester, Large contact centers today have a number of disparate applications (e.g., automatic call distributor, CTI software, interactive voice response [IVR], workforce management, and quality monitoring) that were designed with a best-of-breed approach. For these enterprises, the move to a SaaS application would require them to either integrate with onpremises applications or strand a number of them before they are fully depreciated. 3 There s a lot of know-how that goes into building a quick and seamless connection from the customer s network to the provider s network, to the data source and back to the agent. Admittedly, it is something that few hosting companies do well. But they do exist and organizations that identify cloud call center providers with expertise in integrations are a step ahead of those trying to do it all on their own. Established hosting companies have extensive integration experience that has enabled them to define best practices and processes for both legacy systems and modern web services integrations. According to Forrester, Large contact centers today have a number of disparate applications (e.g., automatic call distributor, CTI software, IVR, workforce management, and quality monitoring) that were designed with a best-of-breed approach. WHITE PAPER: MOVING TO THE CLOUD: TRUTH OR DARE? 5

6 Cloud vs. On-premise Software Gotcha : Cost As previously mentioned, it is difficult to avoid any discussion about cloud computing services without touching on potential cost benefits. But there are two major issues with how organizations approach their cost calculations. One school of thought asserts that call center services in the cloud are much cheaper than on-premise because there is no need to procure and maintain the infrastructure or application. This is true for the short term. Eventually, however, organizations reach a point where the cost equals that of an onpremise solution s initial investment. Additionally, according to Forrester, For many enterprises, the move to a cloud-based suite will help them better manage multichannel interactions, enable them to respond more rapidly to changing business conditions, and will allow for easier root-cause analysis that will lead to customer support process improvements. On the other hand, when organizations calculate the cost of on-premise call center solutions, they often only look at the cost of the system itself. They fail to quantify ongoing support costs associated with patching and upgrading, data center management, HVAC, etc. So the cost of an onpremise solution is actually much higher than calculated, at least to start. A smarter way to evaluate cloud vs. on-premise call centers is to consider the value that each offers. Cloud computing services present a number of benefits beyond cost that bring considerable value to organizations. In fact, Forrester s research shows that enterprises rate agility higher than cost savings as a benefit of cloud computing. Additionally, according to Forrester, For many enterprises, the move to a cloud-based suite will help them better manage multichannel interactions, enable them to respond more rapidly to changing business conditions, and will allow for easier root-cause analysis that will lead to customer support process improvements. These benefits could come from an on-premises suite, but the cloud option frees up IT and contact center operations staff to help drive these transformational opportunities. 4 COST Hosted call centers free your staff to improve customer service processes. But the right hosted call center provider can take you even further. Some providers go beyond delivering a service. Choose one who will adopt your business goals as their own and evaluate your usage of the platform and make suggestions for better system use throughout the length of your contract. 4 Schoeller, Art and McNabb, Kyle. Is It Time to Move Your Contact Center to the Cloud? Forrester Research Inc., June 1, USAN 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

7 Cloud vs. On-premise Software Gotcha : Features & Functionality Some of the first hosted call center systems had fewer features than their on-premise counterparts, leaving many organizations to still believe that the cloud doesn t offer the same features and functionality provided by FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY on-premise software. This simply isn t true. The assumption that you can t get the Hosted call centers based on enterprise-grade platforms can offer extensive features beyond what is available for on-premise solutions. There is no need to upgrade for new features, because they are continually rolled out by the cloud provider. Moreover, hosted call center providers can give you the support call center features and functionality you need in the cloud is simply untrue. But you do need to determine your business requirements. Determine the features and functionality you need and look for a hosted call center provider that can deliver on those needs. and training you need to ensure that you are getting the optimum use of these features. It solution, only to discover that the hosted solu- isn t uncommon for organizations to adopt tion provides the features and functionality cloud-based call center services as a stop-gap needed for the long term. between the deployment of an on-premise The USAN Difference No doubt, the challenges experienced by was trendy, USAN is unparalleled in the indus- early cloud call center providers and their cus- try. We started as hosted services and added tomers have impacted current perceptions. technology to grow as a cloud provider, But security, scalability, integration, cost, and unlike other providers who started as on- features and functionality need not keep you premise and are now adapting their solution from moving to the cloud. The key is to find for the cloud. Moreover, we have a vested a provider that has not only overcome these interest in our customers business objectives challenges through experience but has also and make them our own. This guides our acquired the expertise to transform them into efforts to ensure that you get services that value-adds in the cloud. meet your security, scalability, integration, USAN is one such provider. For more than 20 years, Georgia-based USAN has provided hosted call center services. Having worked through the gotchas long before the cloud cost and features requirements. To learn more about USAN s hosted call center services call the USAN Sales Team at or visit WHITE PAPER: MOVING TO THE CLOUD: TRUTH OR DARE? 7

8 WP About USAN 3080 Northwoods Circle Norcross, GA office fax USAN helps companies profitably engage customers and deliver amazing cross-channel experiences with the industry s best cloud, premise and hybrid multi-channel customer engagement solution. From traditional telephone interactions to the web, social media and everything between, USAN s portfolio of call center products gives users infinite flexibility in the way they engage customers across channels. In addition to campaign management, back-office integration, and business process automation, USAN s offerings include Hosted IVR, ACD, and Dialers built upon a fifth-generation carrier-grade infrastructure that delivers five nines of availability and proven scalability. USAN 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WHITE PAPER:WHITE PAPER: MOVING TO THE CLOUD: TRUTH OR DARE? 8

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