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Last year, I finally cut the cord and canceled my cable subscription in favor of streaming. While I was completely satisfied with my cable service, I could no longer justify the cost. I skipped the research phase and simply signed up for my cable provider’s lower-cost streaming service, assuming it was on par with other streaming services. Long story short, I was less than satisfied. Clearly, my cable provider was struggling to transition to streaming.
Similarly, as you begin your contact center’s inevitable move to the cloud, it’s tempting to simply follow your on-premises vendor there. But without proper due diligence, this can be a costly mistake. Here are five things to keep in mind before settling on a same-vendor cloud solution.
Moving to the cloud is a long-term investment; it’s vital to choose a cloud service provider that will not only meet today’s demands but can also demonstrate the market leadership, financial viability and track record required to meet your needs in the future. A mature cloud company has a depth of knowledge and operational experience that’s been developed over years of offering cloud services.
It’s important to know if your current vendor is a leader in the cloud; compare cloud vendors using industry analyst reports and customer review sites. And, of course, you should speak with other companies using the product you’re considering to get a feel for their satisfaction with the cloud solution.
There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Many vendors force you into a one-size-fits-all cloud approach. Yet, each organization has unique needs based on specific business requirements, timelines and desired outcomes. For instance, a public multitenant cloud environment might be a better fit for smaller or less technically adept organizations that want the benefits of the cloud without it becoming overwhelming. On the other hand, larger, more complex organizations might use a hybrid model of either a private or public cloud combined with some on-premises infrastructure. Larger enterprises also differ in scale, maturity and global reach.
Choose an Open Platform
Typically, a solution provider is only as good as the company it keeps. You should determine the following: which types of platform APIs are available to third-party developers, how open and extensible the technology platform is, whether the vendor supports industry-standard web services and if its capabilities can be enhanced, as needed when your business requirements change.
It’s also critical to know who the vendor’s technology and implementation partners are. The depth and breadth of a provider’s technology ecosystem and third-party solutions is a good test of their vision, level of technology innovation and investments, and the strength of their partner ecosystem. Look for a provider who works with a range of companies that add new capabilities and value to their products, are validated by customer references, and offer extension applications available through an open marketplace.
Be Mindful of Feature Gaps
Vendors that are late to the cloud are playing catch up on delivering functionality with on-premises solutions. While it would be a mistake to build a “like-for-like” solution in the cloud, it can be a shock to find out that the features you require aren’t yet available in the cloud solution. Working to close the feature gap negatively affects investments in developing innovations. And this creates a constant cycle of playing catch-up with market leaders. To compensate, vendors often deliver cloud innovation through partnerships. The downsides: added solution complexity, data integration struggles and product roadmaps that are out of the vendor’s control.
Look for a vendor with a broad portfolio of cloud services to satisfy the entire contact center market. This should include omnichannel support with the ability to add new channels easily, native workforce engagement management, and artificial intelligence solutions for sales and service.
Don’t Overlook Security and Compliance
Data security isn’t just confined to businesses with higher security protocols, such as those in the financial services, healthcare or government industries. Every business — regardless of its size and industry — must consider security and compliance when evaluating cloud solutions. A security breach not only puts customers at risk, but it also tarnishes a company’s reputation and costs significant amounts of money.
Choose a solution provider that’s obsessed with enterprise-level security and can demonstrate that commitment with essential certifications, such as SSAE18 Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type II, as well as those relevant to your industry like Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). If your business operates internationally, the service provider also should guarantee that they meet required international standards with accreditation like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
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