The cloud has created a revolution in the way applications are provided to businesses both large and small.
It’s easy to forget how far we have come in such a short time. A company of any size can now begin to use a highly scalable, robust application that can be accessed from anywhere in just a few minutes. Once they have begun to use it they will not need to worry about upgrades to get new features or maintenance of the back-end infrastructure, applications are available on-tap and for the most part they just work.
However, this is something of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and there are disadvantages to this. When buying a cloud service you will get a range of features that the provider thinks all their users need, but not necessarily the features you need. When it comes to adding custom features you are at the mercy of product managers who typically say, “no-one else wants it so we won’t do it”. Likewise, when it comes to getting rid of certain features that you don’t use or don’t want, you may not be able to; the product is provided ‘as-is’. And when it comes to certain cloud-related challenges such as the legal limitations on where data can be stored you may fall foul of your country’s legislation and find that you are not compliant.
So, the challenge is in how to strike the right balance between the scale, reliability and ease of use of a cloud solution and the desire to have custom features that give you the flexibility your business needs?
Well software is software, and underlying these shiny exteriors with their attractive user interfaces and occasional alarming colour schemes are applications that perform the tasks that contact centers need such as distributing phone calls, managing agents, reporting etc. and those applications can sit anywhere.
Many companies will consider making use of the impressive scale and reliability that is provided by companies such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure whilst retaining control of the nuts and bolts of their contact centre software. They are buying software but putting it into the cloud rather than buying a cloud service directly. With this approach there is:
- freedom regarding geographical location and technology platform
- opportunity to have feature sets that can be defined and interfaces that can be customised to suit specific needs
- no need to pay for features that are not in use
There are many definitions of The Cloud. Spending time understanding what The Cloud means to you and how you can get major benefits whilst retaining the flexibility that gives your business the competitive edge is a good strategy to employ.