Top 4 Factors for Evaluating a CCaaS Platform

To gain the most value from customer experience (CX) transformation initiatives, businesses are moving from outdated on-premises systems to flexible cloud-based Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions. But major differences among top platforms impact business outcomes, the decision process can get bogged down.

Here are four core criteria and points of comparison of a CCaaS platform helps sort out your choices and reduce any hesitancy to avoid more technical debt and missed opportunities for customer satisfaction.  

1. Cloud Native vs. Bolted Together

Born in the cloud or “cloud native” indicates that the platform was developed in a modern cloud environment, using the same architectural principles for all its components. You’ll find this approach with many well-known brands, especially in the B2C space, such as Facebook, whose platforms were built the same way from Day One.

Now cloud native has become a necessity for B2B in this era of artificial intelligence (AI), with distinct advantages that give businesses the agility to quickly adapt to market dynamics and support both customer demand and employee needs.

Built on open standards and technologies, a cloud native platform enables greater interoperability with other systems, more flexibility, and easier integration with various systems and services. It’s also transparent in terms of code, security practices and development processes. This supports collaboration among users and developers, as they’re able to build, test and deploy new applications and services rapidly using a variety of tools and technologies.

Bolted Together Without a Common Code Base

Over the years, many enterprise cloud platform providers acquired different technologies and bolted them together. They take parts of legacy, on-premises platforms and re-architect and rebuild them to support cloud systems. Cloud platforms that aren’t built as a total infrastructure limit the potential value you’ll gain — and how quickly you’ll make those gains — because of all those different technologies.

A bolted-together design is more time-consuming to implement and manage, adding complexity to ecosystems, and slowing time to value as it requires more resources. And that complexity has costs associated with it. For example, you’ll unnecessarily increase the costs of retaining customers and supporting growth with over-provisioned resources and an inefficient architecture.

Born in the cloud offers a powerful innovation pipeline that renders the concept of product releases a thing of the past. With its common code base, businesses benefit from the continuous delivery of innovation across all areas of the business, including digital, AI and workforce engagement. These innovations contribute to differentiated and great customer experiences because you can respond faster to market changes, security challenges, customer needs and cost pressures.

2. All-in-One vs. Integrating Point Solutions

A unified platform seamlessly integrates voice, digital channels and workforce engagement management into a single, easy-to-use solution that’s more efficient and valuable to your business. It reduces complex and hidden costs because there aren’t additional fees for every capability needed as business grows.

All your teams benefit from cost savings. By eliminating multiple complex systems integration  projects, an all-in-one platform frees technical resources from ongoing updates and other maintenance tasks, also reducing the risks of human error.

Managing all aspects of customer service operations in one place enables flexibility. It’s easier to create customer interactions based on complete access to all data, as well as integrated tools that use that customer data to surface insights at the right moment. This real-time capability makes it easier for agents to deliver optimal customer service. It also supports supervisors who can effectively manage agent performance and offer training opportunities to continually improve service.  

An all-in-one platform should include extensibility with many APIs. These APIs enable easy integration with other systems and tools — and easy customization. Look for critical APIs that support GDPR compliance, and your voice systems and billing systems. This built-in adaptability helps businesses take full advantage of the innovation potential of the all-in-one design.

Challenges of Integrating Individual Point Solutions

When a business needs specific functionality that’s not included with a platform, it must integrate add-on point solutions. The limited feature set of the platform is an early warning of a general lack of adaptability and agility — even when they address specific business needs.

  • Complexity: Non-native solutions come with unique maintenance requirements, adding technical complexity and creating a drain on limited resources.
  • Unpredictable costs: Multiple integrations include new pricing systems. Costs, such as those related to voice in high-volume environments, become unpredictable. Extra expenses during peak seasons can vary from month to month, wreaking havoc on budgets.
  • Connectivity and reliability: New integrations bring their own issues, such as unproven reliability, different ways of handling functions that change expectations and an uncertain impact on customer engagements.

Essential business systems that are consolidated on a single platform streamline operations, reducing technical debt and overall costs, with less risk to the employee and customer experience.

3. Native AI Integration vs. Plug-Ins

AI fosters innovation and offers a competitive edge by enabling faster development of new features. On a platform designed with native, embedded AI, you’ll have specific customer service use cases that set you up for quick success, such as real-time insights, automation and personalized experiences.

Getting the most out of AI requires real-time access to all sources of data, no matter the format or channel of origin. Doing that requires platform integration with many channels and solutions — and not isolated and independent solutions serving each channel. That plug-in approach can result in gaps or slowdowns to customers and therefore, your business outcomes.

Native AI integration enables businesses to operationalize data in a way that makes it instantly useful. For example, the ability to make data-driven decisions in real time lets you give customers faster and better targeted services no matter how they engage, enhancing their sense of a channel-less experience. This data also empowers employees who are provided with the context they need to deliver those positive experiences. These capabilities are core to effective AI-powered experience orchestration, which enables you understand, measure and optimize every step of a journey.  

Alternatively, relying on a plug-in, general-purpose AI platform incurs several costs due to third-party investments. It’s more than monetary. There’s the time it takes to evaluate other providers and solutions, manage the relationships, and evaluate the potential security risk to data. Native integrations bypass these costs and risks entirely, saving your team time and potential headaches. 

Overall, native AI integration transforms cloud platforms into more responsive, adaptive and intelligent systems, which is crucial for modern business success. This includes providing personalized and predictive services so that you can design customer journeys that align with business goals.

Experience Orchestration Made Easy

Experience orchestration helps businesses reduce the cost of operations and increase customer loyalty for long-term growth. It does this by creating efficient, effective and empathetic customer and employee experiences. When built on a cloud-native platform, experience orchestration is powered by conversational, predictive and generative AI. This enables the automation, augmentation and continuous optimization of previously static and inefficient experiences.

With the flexibility to tailor customer service interactions and optimize journeys, each touchpoint can align with a brand’s identity and customer expectations. It’s advanced orchestration for real-world business challenges.

4. Trust the Platform and the Provider

When you’re choosing a cloud platform provider based on business outcomes you want to achieve, there’s also important elements of trust to consider.

The platform must securely manage and store sensitive data from multiple sources, ensure uptime and availability, and protect against cyber threats. This ensures data integrity, compliance with regulations, and proof of reliable performance, all of which are essential for maintaining business continuity, customer confidence and overall operational success.

But trust goes beyond the technology. It’s also about the quality of expertise and how well the vendor’s staff and partners work with your teams to fill the skills gaps required for success. Overall confidence in the cloud contact center vendor and their ability to support you reduces risk at every point in your implementation.

The building blocks of a trusted relationship include:

  • Public validation: What are others saying publicly? Industry recognition and adherence to standards is important, as well as public reviews from satisfied customers and the support services they received. A proven track record of customer success might include rapid value realization, indicating a focus on driving customer success.
  • Top-notch expertise: Professional services organizations can be lifesavers. Their role in providing technical and advisory consulting helps businesses navigate complex deployments and achieve customer experience goals. This expertise should be available and active during onboarding, deployment and optimization.
  • Transparent, fair and flexible pricing options: Today, complex pricing structures are often a red flag. For example, voice service usage charges might vary dramatically between inbound, outbound, audio and web interactions – with separate charges for the communication service.
  • Sustainability practices: These are growing in importance to consumers. Look for vendor rankings on the industry-standard CDP Management Sustainability scorecard to validate a commitment to creating a positive impact on the environment, and alignment with your corporate values.
  • AI ethics: Perhaps most important to trustworthiness, your platform vendor should follow strict guidelines that safeguard businesses when applying AI – including adherence to data standards and addressing bias in designing, developing and deploying solutions. Transparency gives insight into how algorithms are applied, enabling comprehension of operational impacts while maintaining control over the outcomes.

Implementation of a cloud platform requires a partner you can trust and lean on throughout your adoption lifecycle. Take the time to thoroughly evaluate all the elements of a trustworthy partner.

Find a CCaaS Platform to Meet Your Goals

Ask a lot of your cloud platform. It can and should support the operational initiatives and goals that will give you a competitive advantage. Once you’ve evaluated the contenders based on these essential top-level factors, take a deep dive into specific platform capabilities.

Learn how the Genesys Cloud™ platform allows you to ease administration, minimize your tech footprint and empower your teams to stay ahead of evolving markets — and the competition. Request a demo today to see for yourself.