Positioning IT Teams for Success in the Shift to CCaaS

Cloud adoption fundamentally shifts how organizations deliver value to their customers. But it has also revolutionized the way companies operate. According to Future Business Insights, the global Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) market size was valued at $4.42 billion in 2022 and forecasts it will reach $16.43 billion by 2030. With cloud technology’s ability to reduce costs, create efficiencies and increase agility, it’s no wonder the migration from on-premises to the cloud has become an essential step for business leaders.

While the technical advantages are clear, the evolution to the cloud also dramatically affects IT cultures. Cloud technology, which is a more cost-effective and efficient form of computing, provides IT staff with access to services without having to manage or maintain the solution themselves.

When done correctly, the cloud can change staff agility, behaviors and perceptions. Companies that move to a cloud culture reportedly gain agility — not only in terms of simplifying their tech stack but also with increased levels of collaboration across IT and business teams. The cloud also better positions organizations to innovate. It’s a win-win for the entire organization.

In legacy models, IT is sometimes perceived as a barrier to innovation — and for good reason. With on-premise architectures, the level of technical debt carried from year to year can become a massive undertaking to manage. And, from an IT work-effort perspective, it often results in more work — unexpected code bugs, a need for software updates and patching. All of this leads to poor experiences and, even worse, lack of satisfaction with the service IT provides to its customers.

The reality is that constantly investing in managing legacy environments just to keep the lights on leaves little room for IT staff to allocate budget and time to train staff and collaborate with business leaders on new product introductions.

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Innovative tools and cloud-native architectures can alleviate day-to-day IT burdens while reigniting strategic and creative potential.

Yet, for many companies, making the transition to cloud contact center platform is one of their biggest challenges. Since IT services are often shared across business units, IT leaders also need to understand what the transition to the cloud means for the IT staff.

What are my current skills and gaps? Can this change be used to re-profile current staff? Will moving to the cloud cultivate a sense of empowerment? Once transitioned, will the IT organization have greater capacities?

Business leaders like the chief financial officer will want to be sure that the company can capture the full value of moving to the cloud. And, by doing so, they’ll improve the agility of their IT teams with the use of their most precious resource — their people.

The payoff of adopting a cloud culture can be great and the benefits to IT staff are many. Let’s look at a few advantages.

How IT Teams Benefit from the Cloud

Better strategic alignment. A cloud culture promotes greater IT alignment with business units. Instead of traditional on-premises load lines, IT can become an advocate of change — helping business leaders manage the speed, readiness, and risk of innovation and deployment. IT can not only help in the design of innovation, but the team can also assist with the change management needed for deployment.

Cloud adoption can help in transforming IT from a traditional cost center to a strategic asset that empowers the business with speed, productivity gains and cost savings. With greater agility — adopting iterative development approaches in a cloud-culture — IT can improve deployment times, respond to unexpected incidents in the network, improve the time to develop new applications and apply fixes. Most importantly, IT teams continuously develop, deliver, and improve software. All of this results in faster time to value.

Delivering operational cost savings. Cloud technology has little overhead, so IT only pays for the technical resources it needs when it requires them. Rather than investing in hardware, software, facilities, power and data center infrastructure expenses upfront, cloud allows the business to pay for only for what technology is needed — including the IT cloud expertise to manage it all. This approach differs from traditional on-prem architectures that require high capital expense upfront and over time.

Cloud, specifically an all-in-one CCaaS approach, offers the ability to consolidate the tech stack. This typically has a positive effect on cash flow and operational expenses. In fact, while every customer is different, Genesys cost analysis benchmark data shows that companies can reduce IT staff work efforts by 40-60% after transitioning to the cloud. The change Introduces greater IT work effort capacity back into the business, enabling IT leaders the opportunity to train, upskill and shift staff to other revenue-generating projects within the business.

Enabling IT flexibility and scale. While on-premises environments require a dedicated environment, cloud environments can be worked on anywhere. Since applications are hosted remotely in the cloud, IT staff can access them from anywhere — at any time. Teams that work from remote locations don’t need to be in a physical location.

As more IT organizations are shifting to remote and hybrid work environments, the flexibility has produced positive results for both IT management and staff alike, including increased staff collaboration, better productivity, improved employee satisfaction and better work-life balance. Also, with remote or hybrid work, businesses can cast a wider net when recruiting new employees since they’re no longer limited to local candidates. IT leaders can tap into a global talent pool — enabling the business to have a better chance of finding the best possible candidate for the job, especially in specific skill gap areas.

Empowering an efficient and talented workforce. With a change to a cloud work culture, IT resources become leaner and more efficient. It most cases, this frees up IT resources to focus on other work that’s critical to the business. And leadership can upskill staff from traditional data center roles to a new cloud culture that has focus on software development and support.

A successful change to cloud requires a culture shift that brings greater collaboration between multiple teams — sales, marketing, product, engineering, security, IT, operations and more. It also creates more opportunities to automate manual tasks that help achieve better business outcomes. This all has a positive impact on cash flows and operational expenses.

Greater automation and agility. Keeping up with increasing customer demand is already a taxing burden. And when IT staff are thrown into the mix for each update, it can lead to inefficiencies and delays that negatively affect the business. Traditionally, IT management was responsible for ensuring the IT tech stack is up to date with all the latest market and technological update requirements so that the business can remain competitive.

Providing resiliency is key when it comes to the business. So, for IT to be more resilient, switching to a cloud culture provides the benefit of automation to spot errors quickly and update software with the latest updates — and as business policy warrants, roll out the latest features. Continuous development and improvement are some of the strongest attributes of a cloud environment and IT culture. And by developing a cloud culture where routine tasks are automated, the business can react and respond quicker to changes with greater urgency — a game changer for many organizations.

Continuous innovation and experimentation. One of the most important advantages of the cloud is easy system creation and isolation. IT teams can test out innovative ideas and solutions with the business unit leaders prior to general availability.

With cloud, IT staff can create a development environment easily, letting the business experiment with different programs and services without worry that it will affect existing operations or data. IT management can rapidly direct innovation according to changing market conditions, competitive threats, and evolving customer requirements. Moreover, IT staff can configure systems in several ways to ensure maximum security and privacy when testing sensitive information.

It’s difficult and risky for a business to stand behind innovation if they require large upfront capital expenditures before they can prove themselves. With a cloud culture, the business can try a few innovative ideas to see which are most effective at generating new revenue.

Higher availability, reliability and security. The increased use of automation and cross-functional collaboration reduces complexity and errors which, in turn, improves the mean-time-to-resolve (MTTR) when incidents and outages occur. With a cloud culture, IT staff have better and more secure access to data and files. And the cloud makes it easier to get to systems, when needed. In the case of any disaster recovery situations, the cloud offers a high-availability model to keep systems running with little or no effect on performance.

Security is another consideration — especially in dealing with sensitive customer information, such as financial data. Data encryption, access controls, cybersecurity measures and regular technology updates play a significant role in securing business interests. Compliance to specific industry regulations is also critical for deployments, especially in finance, healthcare, and government sectors.

6 Best Practices for Overcoming Cloud Challenges within IT

Moving to a cloud culture won’t happen overnight. Changes to people may involve new roles that re-profile staff — from what was once done in a data center environment and competencies needed in hardware to new skills needed in software development and managing environments. For many, this transition will be hard.

A business must reimagine its IT workforce to improve the way things get done. Organizational planning involves auditing current skill gaps, upskilling talent, and undertaking change management steps to enable a successful transformation.

So how do leading companies prepare their IT resources to leverage the cloud so they can accelerate this journey? Every organization is different so there’s no single recipe for success. However, here are some best practices.

1. Start Your Transition Plan Early
Reduce risk by targeting a meaningful set of core capabilities that enable the transition to the cloud and that show a tangible benefit to the business. For instance, when moving to cloud, will the platform perform as expected? Will metrics like agent efficiency, effectiveness, and quality KPIs continue to be measured? Or will the business adopt new ones? Will the technology integrate with existing non-cloud back-end or third-party systems?

Understanding the impacts upfront will help to start the process of transition by highlighting what matters most. A typical approach is to identify goals in terms of both business needs and what the transition will bring or achieve.

Good outcomes are the result of good planning. Evaluating the current environment and its pain points operationally, as well as organizational requirements when it comes to scalability, functionality, channel integration, app integration, analytics and reporting will help teams understand what is required on Day 1 versus Day 90.

To accelerate plans, some customers shadow Genesys and its partners to train staff and/or augment their own IT skills, especially during implementation to accelerate knowledge transfer and reduce risk. In addition, many customers stand up a development environment that allows for rapid, hands-on learning so teams can learn and reapply the skills gained on next-step projects.

2. Set Realistic Targets

Cloud transformation is a journey — and changing the culture won’t happen overnight. It’s important for IT leaders to set themselves up for success with metrics that are realistic yet also meaningful to the business objectives.

A move to the cloud is an opportunity for businesses to embrace iterative and agile processes. For some organizations, this can be a dramatic learning curve in which the change is disruptive. Project metrics should recognize team progress, training levels achieved, document successes, publish milestones and uncover areas that require improvement. For example, “speed of deployment” cannot be recognized as a success without equal attention to the “quality of service” delivered.

Going fast — when a ton of fixes and rework is required — doesn’t help the business. Metrics need to drive smart automation decisions. It’s also important that the business recognizes that success is an iterative and continuous cycle.

Starting out, determine the metrics that can best serve as evidence that progress is being made. For example, many organizations baseline their current state with key metrics such as how often service updates are released, how many support tickets are raised after a new release or feature rollout, how long an application issue exists (on average) before it’s fixed, and what is the business impact of each issue.

Establishing a baseline set of metrics will provide a before-and-after assessment with a quantifiable way to measure the positive impact of the cloud approach for the business.

3. Educate and Upskill

Training and upskilling IT staff is essential. A transition to a cloud culture must achieve a couple of objectives. First, take inventory and assess IT skill levels for gaps. In devising a plan to train the IT workforce, an initial step is to identify specific IT skills gaps within their organization. To ensure IT teams build the right skills, consider the project initiatives planned for the next 12–24 months and what expertise and competencies the organization will need to accomplish them.

Once gaps are identified, formulate a future-focused skill development plan that addresses these needs, coupled with your cloud initiatives. One of the most effective approaches to begin a transformation to the cloud is to invest in comprehensive training that provides foundational and feature training for all staff.

This should also include deeper technical training that’s best suited for IT staff. That way, when teams engage, they’ll speak a common language and have a consistent understanding of the fundamentals so the business can transform the entire organization through faster decision-making with innovation that benefits end customers.

4. Continuously Learn

Successful IT management teams foster a culture of continuous learning and set educational goals that help cover gaps identified. To accelerate cloud training and upskill adoption, leading companies staff a core team of cloud experts within their organization to help scale proficiency to the entire IT organization.

We’ve observed that many organizations establish competency centers to complement formal training programs, helping to build on current practices while incorporating new ones. As core training needs emerge, IT staff will gain key insights to develop, deploy, test, fix and even roll-back recent changes when things go awry. Typically, a core curriculum should enable IT staff to quickly understand the basics, introducing more specialized training as business needs evolve.

As business needs evolve to modern technologies, their understanding of the basics will allow the business to build off core knowledge gained to identify specialization needs for specific skillsets in diverse areas, such as artificial intelligence, analytics and more.

Finally with accreditation, IT staff will enjoy technical development that is critical to their professional growth and development. Setting goals and KPIs for IT staff tied to performance, including hours or certification levels achieved, is also an important step to reinforce the business strategy and promote behaviors aligned with the company’s strategic objectives.

5. Experiment

Creating a cloud culture where experimentation is rewarded — especially when teams are trying to learn and can inspire the workforce. So much of what occurred in on-premises solutions supported a risk-averse culture, where experimentation was a costly endeavor.
In a cloud culture.

Experimentation is a must. It allows IT to try new things without a large-scale investment upfront. If an experiment doesn’t support business objectives, projects can be easily shut down. However, if successful, they could lead to a new disruptive approach that supports differentiation.

And while there must be a level of balance with experimentation, with governance and quality controls in place, the new cloud culture should reward these behaviors — especially when goals are achieved within project deadlines.

6. Participate in Community

Talk to other IT customers within and outside your industry segment. Many customers learn valuable insights from their peers. That’s why tapping into a larger community of users works so well in a cloud culture. The successes and failures of others can not only be inspiring but can also accelerate deployments.

IT leaders should share that perspective with their vendors – as it can help validate and inform. It also helps to consider many new ideas since no one wants to go through a new learning path alone. Community — with dev and user groups — can help develop and shape an IT’s organization strategy. And that leads to innovative ideas and techniques.

Shift to the Cloud and Empower Your Workforce

Organizations that achieve a successful transformation to the cloud do so by building their workforce’s skills and participating in events that enable empowerment. Top leaders recognize that the people they have today will be the same workforce they need for the future.

Companies that empower their workforce will modernize their IT organization faster — fulfilling their future needs for a successful cloud transformation journey by starting the process early, setting realistic targets, educating, and upskilling, encouraging continuous learning, fostering experimentation, and participating in community.

When done correctly, the shift to an IT cloud culture can have a positive impact on workforce agility, behaviors and perceptions within an organization. And that’s where IT becomes a real asset for the business.

Read this guide to learn how four leading brands migrated from legacy on-premises systems to the cloud to improve their customer experience, employee experience and bottom line.