Why the cloud era has added a new layer of complexity to picking tech vendors – and how an independent partner can help.
By Steven Fricker, Chief Revenue Officer at Connect.
It was the arrival of the acronym XaaS that clinched it. After software, platform, desktop, workspace, contact centre and infrastructure had all been given the “as a service” treatment, XaaS was identified, presumably by the mathematically minded, as “anything as a service.”
Everything as a service.
Acronyms aside, the direction of travel is abundantly clear. Businesses – and consumers – are now increasingly moving away from buying physical products and instead opting to purchase cloud services. And in theory, this should be simpler for the customer: you don’t have to worry about hardware malfunction, managing updates and countless other challenges of the old IT delivery model. Just sign up with your chosen service provider(s) and let them do the heavy lifting.
But of course, in practice, it’s not quite so straightforward. In fact, when it comes to picking cloud service providers, especially in the contact centre space, the new model may even be more complex.
The death of specialists.
In the ‘old’ days, apart from the biggest of players, vendors were specialists. So businesses wanting a workforce optimisation (WFO), call recording, or customer relationship management (CRM) solution would seek a specialist provider of that technology. Part of the selection process would then be to find providers whose solutions could integrate with the core contact centre platform: a straightforward filter to get to your long list.
In a cloud era, those clear dividing lines have been erased. Every CCaaS vendor can offer WFO. Every CRM provider will tell you they can manage your calls for you – so you don’t need a contact centre. The analytics providers can handle multichannel interactions and use AI (as a service) to power chatbots and improve quality monitoring.
Simplicity for some.
For some customers, this is excellent news. It provides an opportunity to move to a single cloud provider for everything, minimising integration issues and the need to have multiple skill sets to manage multiple legacy platforms and reducing the number of supplier relationships you need to manage.
Confusion for others.
In reality, though, the most common consequence of the blurred boundaries between vendors and services is confusion. Which of the many as-a-service offerings can actually do the job you want and need? And if you don’t want to be tied to a single partner, with no leverage if the partner doesn’t innovate or deliver, how can you be sure that different vendors and solutions will really work together, to provide the integrated customer experience (CX) and seamless journeys that we all want?
Inevitably, there’s no single answer here: the right answer, or number of partners, will depend on your circumstances, your business and CX priorities, and potentially your existing on-premise technology that your teams are used to using.
The need for an independent perspective.
It’s a time, therefore, where some sound advice and guidance has never been more welcome.
At Connect, this is a role we find ourselves increasingly being asked to play. Because we offer independence and expert knowledge of the space, we’re able to help our clients make informed and insight-driven choices about cloud contact centre solutions.
That might start with advising you on your initial CCaaS strategy and picking the primary solution to reflect your CX environment – then recommending the best options for additional features and requirements. Or perhaps you have already chosen the core, and need some expert help to select the add-ons: do you stick with the main partner (as they will naturally recommend) or do you opt for a service from a vendor with more heritage in that space?
At your service.
With an extensive track record in delivering and supporting cloud contact centres, we have the experience to evaluate the claims different cloud service vendors may be making. What’s more, we also have the technical skills working with a huge range of cloud solutions to enable you to bring a multi-vendor solution together effectively, if that’s the best answer for you.
So if you’re finding yourself understandably confused – or simply unimpressed – by the endless competitive ‘bids’ from vendors to muscle in on their neighbours’ territory, let’s talk. Put another way, we’re at your service.