Migrating the contact center to a cloud-based solution is a matter of “when,” not “if.” The traditional contact center, with dozens or even hundreds of agents fielding customer calls from the same facility, is becoming more and more difficult to justify.

The conversation about an on-premises vs. cloud contact center typically begins with cost, scalability and flexibility. In a traditional, on-premises contact center, organizations would have to purchase enough technology and capacity to accommodate peak call volume. During slower periods, these resources would sit there unused, while the organization continued to pay licensing costs. The capital expense of implementing this type of contact center is significant, while the ongoing costs are somewhat unpredictable.

A cloud contact center requires minimal hardware or software to purchase, manage and maintain. Organizations can add or remove agents, features, services and other resources based on current demand by simply adjusting agreements with their cloud provider. With a cloud contact center, you have the flexibility to scale up or down so you only pay for what you need. Access to cloud center services are paid in a predictable monthly fee.

In an on-premises contact center, organizations are responsible for securing their infrastructure, updating software, providing support and maintaining the entire contact center environment, as well as any redundant resources. Outside consultants are often needed to troubleshoot and correct issues. In a cloud contact center, the cloud provider manages, maintains, supports and secures infrastructure and offers built-in redundancy to protect against equipment or system failure. Software updates are handled by the provider, so you always have access to the most recent versions with the latest features.

The “anytime, anywhere” value proposition of the cloud applies to contact centers. While a severe weather event or equipment failure could conceivably shut down a traditional contact center, agents in a cloud contact center would be able to access their tools and communicate with customers from virtually any desktop or mobile device.

Cloud contact centers also make it possible to employ geographically dispersed agents and tap into a larger talent pool. Any agent from any location will have access to the same communication tools and services, as well as histories of all customer interactions, through a single interface. With Unified Communications-as-a-Service, there is no bouncing between applications or screens.

For smaller organizations, migration to a cloud contact center is relatively straightforward. Cloud solutions often replace multiple on-premises systems and can be used with minimal customization. Agents can be trained in a matter of days, allowing organizations to pilot and test a cloud solution with a limited number of agents. After workflows are adjusted, dashboards and reports are configured and services and features are optimized, all agents can begin using the system, usually in four to eight weeks.

For larger organizations, migration to a cloud contact center is far more complex. In the next post, we’ll discuss the migration challenges for enterprises and how to modernize the agent desktop with minimal disruption.