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Earlier this year, Genesys commissioned IDC to conduct original research on a global scale to better understand the current state of cloud-based applications that deal specifically with the contact center and customer experience. While some of the findings were expected, other results were surprising. Here are my top five takeaways from the IDC research:
1. AI and New Technologies Make Sense in the Cloud
One of the primary questions in the survey asked which applications you’re planning to use in the cloud over the next 12 months. For mid-sized companies, artificial intelligence (AI) ranked first at 43%; chatbots ranked third at 40%. This isn’t surprising as organizations look to quickly trial then reap the benefits of these new technologies—without having to make long-term commitments or procure equipment or software.
2. Mid-Sized Companies and Larger Enterprises Think Differently
There are several instances within the research that show how mid-sized companies (300 seats or fewer, in this report) think differently about cloud and customer engagement applications than their much larger counterparts. For example, who makes purchasing decisions in each sector differs. Research shows that, for mid-sized companies, CIOs (51%), COOs (36%) and, most surprisingly, the Heads of the Contact Center (35%) are the key decisionmakers. By contrast, large enterprises allow the Heads of the Contact Center to make this type of purchase only 25% of the time.
The types of applications these companies will deploy in the next 12 months is another area with noticeable differences. Mid-sized companies across the board are looking to deploy customer engagement applications—from chatbots and messaging apps to more bread-and-butter capabilities like outbound and webchat—in the cloud this coming year. Graphic 5A in the report details this.
3. The Benefits of Cloud are Well-Known
I started working as a help desk agent at Digital Equipment Corp., and eventually made my way to sales and marketing roles in the contact center industry. I recall building my first sales presentation about the benefits of cloud around 2005: ability to scale, no hardware to maintain, increased agility, better disaster recovery and a pay-as-you-go pricing model. It’s validating to see that all these reasons, plus new ones like microservices, are now well-known and accepted.
4. Cloud Migrations Typically Aren’t Rip-and-Replace
In the IDC research, when people were asked about the customer engagement applications they plan to use in the next 12 months, 20 different categories came up in the report. Some were broad categories, such as omnichannel routing, which can be anything from email to webchat to social media interactions. Another one listed was messaging apps—there must be hundreds, if not thousands, of them by now. All that said, one of the unintended benefits of cloud is that these types of investments don’t require a rip-and-replace approach. If you want to try Facebook Messenger as a new channel, it’s certainly easier, faster, cheaper and less risky in cloud—you don’t have to procure, install and maintain the hardware to do so.
5. It’s Finally Time for Remote Agents
As a long-time remote worker, I was very excited to see the data in Figure 8 regarding at-home or remote agents. At first glance, the numbers seem too small to be significant; however, they hint to the start of a larger trend. Both mid-sized and enterprise customers stated that none of their agents (0%) work from home today. Because this is a global survey, 0% holds true across all regions. But when asked how many agents would work from home over the next 12 months, those percentages jump to 6% for large enterprise and 1% for small to mid-sized respondents.
On the other end of the spectrum, respondents who answered “None” for the number of remote employees now is 55% and 32% for large and mid-sized, respectively. In 12 months, those respondents said that “None” would rise to 2% and 0%. With 0% of mid-sized companies answering “None” for having at-home workers within the next 12 months, we could flip that around to mean that there will be at least one remote worker across every responding company. That’s impressive.
These are just a few points I took away from reading the report and digging into the data from the original IDC research. To read it yourself, download the IDC research report. And be sure to check out the regional addendums, too. Then let me know your top takeaways.
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