While many of the drivers of cloud migration are common across government and enterprise, each has a slightly different set of priorities.
Typically both are concerned about cost, risk, speed of innovation, and improving the customer experience — though the emphasis they place on each of these tends to differ.
Enterprises are naturally more concerned than public sector enterprises with innovations that drive top-line growth.
Government organisations, on the other hand, focus more on risk and data sovereignty.
These issues are covered in detail in a white paper from NEC called Cloud Migration and Contact Centre Solutions.
For enterprises the most commonly cited financial advantage of cloud is the reduction in capital expenses and total cost of ownership (TCO).
Cloud computing frees the business from needing to worry about building or operating a fully redundant service in data centres, hiring staff to manage it, or holding responsibility for major software upgrades. These costs and obligations are all borne by the software vendor.
Dale Ware, Account Director, Customer Engagement, NEC, says these costs could amount to 30 or 40 per cent of the initial purchase. “The set-up costs for cloud — and this is just indicative — would be half that because the infrastructure’s already preconfigured.”
The cost reductions are achieved as the effort is put into configurations and connectivity rather than building a full system from scratch, he suggested.
Cloud computing also makes it much faster to get moving so speed to value is also an important consideration, and a motivator.
“An on-premise set-up could take six months to install,” Ware says. Such systems require much more management — from annual reviews of software and hardware to the headache of upgrades.
Organisations also can reduce expenses through the consolidation of previously separate components into one package. The previous burst of innovation introduced concepts such as workforce optimisation, basic AI and standard analytics. Now the market has matured, these concepts can be bought as features in a suite rather than separate products, bringing down the total cost of ownership.
“You only pay for the types of functions you use. That is definitely a financial benefit,” Ware says.
For CIOs charged with maximising the return on the technology dollar, they can reduce operational costs further with a cloud system through easier analysis of contact centre volumes and performance. This includes responding to spikes in volume, increasing or decreasing staff for public holidays or just reducing the number of idle agents over a standard week.
Companies can modernise their practices by offering a ‘work from home’ capability — which is becoming the norm, and a necessity for attracting top talent to their workplace. Remote working capabilities also provide companies with that ability to call in a workforce on short notice should an event occur, without having to overcome any major logistic hurdles.
Easier workforce optimisation results in faster calls and a more satisfied customer, Ware says.
Organisations are also looking to reduce risk. This comes in many forms, not least of which is vendor lock-in at a time of rapid change among providers. If you had committed to an on-premises call centre vendor five to ten years ago, you are still sweating that purchase. Yet some major vendors have disappeared from Gartner’s quadrant reports in that time because they failed to invest in R&D and the cloud.
“As the market changes, will the vendor have the ability to change that solution to reflect new priorities, and lead in that space?” asks NEC Australia Senior Solutions Architect Riaan Van Zyl.
With the vendor taking on responsibility for managing upgrades in a cloud environment this removes another headache for the CIO and their team.
The upgrades happen invisibly in the background and are protected by fully backed-up and redundant systems. If this triggers more demand for CPUs, storage or bandwidth, the vendor increases its consumption within the cloud data centre.
Speed of innovation also accelerates thanks to a constant upgrade cycle which ensures the organisation is always on the most current version of the software.
For instance, if a new channel becomes available — such as taking inquiries via WeChat or WhatsApp — an organisation can turn on the service without having to think about integration issues, according to former chair of AusContact Australia and Data Synergy non-executive chairman, Michael Terry.
Reducing costs, reducing risks and faster speed of innovation — all ultimately underpin the fourth driver: improving customer experience.
The next wave of technologies such as AI-driven customer profiling will be much easier to test and roll out with cloud solutions that have extensive APIs.
With the importance of customer experience to sales, loyalty, and retention, it is little wonder that many organisations are already actively exploring how their journey to the cloud might begin. The only question is when.
About the author
Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit which produced the Cloud Migration and Contact Centre Solutions whitepaper for NEC. Corporate members such as NEC provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.