UC&C | 11.19.2018

It’s Most Likely Time to Re-evaluate Your Communications Foundation

I talk to many IT leaders who are evaluating whether to move to the cloud, and if so, how quickly and using what decision criteria.

What’s driving these discussions? A variety of factors, but the main one is the need for IT to become more agile. They need to roll out services more quickly, update new features instantly, turn up new users in near real-time, and respond to increases in volumes of customer interactions by activating new service reps or boosting bandwidth.

The demand is coming not only from employees (internal “customers” of IT), but also from external customers. They expect customer experiences to be available through a variety of channels (voice, video, web chat, SMS, email, etc.). In addition, they expect that the details about their interactions follow them from channel to channel in real-time and historically. What’s more, they want everything mobile-enabled.

You May Also Like: Emerging Trends in Cloud UC Models by Nemertes Research – Complimentary Download

Meanwhile, executives responsible for customer success want analytics to help make better and faster decisions about each customer interaction, and regarding overall customer engagement strategy. They also want analytics for agent evaluations.

All these capabilities are dependent upon a flexible, agile communications foundation. IT leaders who have evaluated and then upgraded or replaced their communications infrastructure—both Contact Center (CC) Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC)—have found success with customer engagement, according to Nemertes 2018-19 Digital Customer Experience (DCX) study of nearly 700 global IT and business leaders.

As stated, that evaluation requires a close look at the providers and partners who offer UCC and CC products and services. The research shows 38% of organizations are hybrid, 33% are on-premises, and 29% are fully cloud (either single-server hosted or shared-server UCaaS). We anticipate there always will be a mix of the three, though the percentages likely will shift from year to year.

As IT leaders contemplate the longevity of their existing communications platform, they should consider the following factors in deciding whether to replace it:

  • How old is the existing system or service? If it’s more than three years old, it’s worth evaluating what else exists today, in terms of both technologies and providers. If it’s more than five years old, it’s probably time to replace or upgrade.
  • Are there plans to add a team collaboration service? If so, it’s time to evaluate how this service integrates with your internal UCC and CC strategy. Employees and customers will welcome the addition of new features and capabilities. They won’t welcome more complexity. The new services must be neatly and seamlessly integrated with their communications processes.
  • Are partners performing up to par? Technology channel partners and systems integrators have gone through a huge transformation of their own (or not), as customers have moved to the cloud. It’s crucial to evaluate whether the channel partners in use are keeping up with the times. Can they manage cloud, on-premises, or hybrid solutions? Do they have a solid analytics strategy of their own to help customers? Can they provide not only day 1, but day 2 support with proactive monitoring in any architecture? Getting answers to these questions is important in evaluating the go-forward strategy.

Download Nemertes Research latest report, “Emerging Trends in Cloud UC Models,” for the latest trends and recommendations on building a solid communications foundation.