CX Migration Secret #4: Same-Vendor Contact Center Upgrades are Like Icebergs

Icebergs are easy to understand: there is the part that we can see and the part that is hidden underwater. Often, the part hidden underwater is much larger than what is visible. It’s possible to safely navigate around them, if you understand the risk represented by the hidden portion, and plan and act accordingly. But ships typically try to avoid them altogether. When it comes to contact center technology, same-vendor upgrades are a lot like icebergs.

If you still rely on a contact center technology from a legacy vendor, you may be considering their upgrade offer—and on the surface, it may seem like the most obvious and straightforward option. But it’s best to proceed with caution: Same-vendor upgrades aren’t as simple as they sound. End-of-life upgrades come with hidden costs, complexity, and risks—and ultimately, may not deliver the capabilities or business value you need to support the business.

Before committing to an upgrade, take the time to investigate what that upgrade involves. For example, does it require hardware upgrades? If so, at what cost? What will you really get in terms of modern capabilities and continuing innovation to meet your customers’ needs? And, if your goal is to move to the cloud, is it truly an upgrade, or a complete migration that is required to achieve your desired objectives?

Here are three things to keep in mind, when considering a same-vendor contact center upgrade:

Costs

Ask your vendor what’s involved in the upgrade. A legacy upgrade will typically require new server hardware—which could add significant expense. Even mid-sized contact centers have seen hardware costs in excess of $200,000, just to bring their hardware current for the new contact center software. And that doesn’t include any third-party software that requires an upgrade at the same time.  Another area that is often overlooked is opportunity cost – will an upgrade help overcome any current customer experience limitations, or simply maintain the status quo?

Your vendor should offer a comprehensive assessment that helps identify potential gaps between current and future state. This not only reduces change requests after the fact but also provides a clear picture of the true costs involved. With a detailed plan in hand that includes all upgrade-related costs, you’re better equipped to carefully weigh those costs against the business value you’ll gain from the upgrade. And a value analysis should be part of the process. (More on the value in a moment.)

Risk and Complexity

Like hidden costs, there are also hidden risks and complexity involved with same vendor upgrades. One area many companies underestimate is potential pitfalls around functionality and compatibility.

Upgrading requires effort—and at the end of the day, the effort may not come with the necessary capabilities. Further, your team may struggle to deploy these upgrades, due to compatibility issues with third-party applications.

If your vendor is offering an “upgrade” to the cloud, be sure to clarify with them exactly what is involved and what cloud solution is being proposed. Does getting to the cloud with your vendor actually require a full replacement (migration)? What is the cloud solution’s maturity – is it proven, with at least three referenceable customers and public recognition of the solution by industry analysts and/or customer reviews?

Your vendor should be clear about the level of effort involved (upgrade or migration) and provide a detailed implementation plan for the project. If there is a migration to a cloud solution involved, that detailed plan should include how they will minimize risk and complexity, how they will smooth the transition with training and change management guidance, and how they will validate that you see the business results you expect post-migration.

Business Value

Will your upgrade deliver business value? Will you get new features and capabilities? If the upgrade only addresses security issues or bugs uncovered in prior releases, that’s a maintenance plan, rather than an upgrade.

If your upgrade won’t help you get to a future-ready state to consume new innovations, then you’re taking on costs, risk, and complexity while getting little value in return.

Your vendor should provide details about what functionality the upgrade will deliver, along with a detailed roadmap. And when you speak to those reference customers, be sure to ask about the measurable business improvements they’ve experienced since their upgrade.

There are other options

There’s always the temptation to defer—to avoid taking on the process of an upgrade right now. But delaying action on end-of-support products means dealing with the challenges of an un-supported solution and no safety net. Granted, there are cost, complexity, and risk with any upgrade or migration, but the important consideration is the tradeoff: If the business value you receive far outweighs the complexity and risk, then you’ve made the right choice. But if it doesn’t, why do it?

Like icebergs, same-vendor upgrades can be a lot more complicated than they seem. And may deliver marginal value for significant effort. So while you’re taking the time to investigate the upgrade options, consider that maybe it’s time to avoid them altogether, and modernize.

Find out how to start your successful migration and digital transformation. Join Genesys and Frost & Sullivan for the Virtual summit: Contact center modernization and the dangers of standing still

And stay tuned here for more CX Migration Secrets.

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