Part 1: Understanding the Dizzying Risk Calculus of CCaaS 

This blog post is the first in a 3-part series on overcoming the fears and risks associated with the weighty decision to migrate a contact center to the cloud. 

The “last bastion” of on-prem? 

The contact center has remained conspicuously slow to embrace cloud-based solutions, even as cloud adoption more generally continues to surge. As recently as last year, 90 percent of global organizations were still using on-premise contact center software, according to Gartner. And although many have expressed interest in cloud contact center-as-a-service (CCaaS) solutions, only a minority have actually pulled the trigger.  

Analysts have attributed this reluctance to a range of factors — chief among them apprehensions around cloud security and wasting existing investments in expensive legacy systems. But these considerations are by no means unique to the contact center; so why has the contact center remained, as one analyst put it, “one of the last bastions of on-prem technologies?” 

The real answer has as much to do with emotion as it does regulatory compliance or complex expense calculations. There’s a natural wariness that exists across contact center teams, often deeply entrenched (and duly warranted) from their experience on the front lines of high-stakes customer interaction. It’s this deep-seated aversion to risk and disruptive change, both personal and institutional, that has posed the biggest roadblock for CCaaS adoption.  

That is, until now.  

The risk of disruption vs. the risk of inaction 

In 2020 — amid the chaos of coronavirus and widespread economic uncertainty — the entire CCaaS risk calculus has been turned on its head with dizzying speed. The rush to move agents to work-from-home (WFH) status as well as chaotic spikes in interaction volume left contact centers exposed. Many were unable to spin remote workers up and down, constrained by on-prem contact center software, and so were unable to be there for their customers when it mattered most — as evidenced by the many customer service horror stories reported during the early weeks of the pandemic. 

Stark liabilities of legacy systems in the COVID-19 era have included: 

  • • Incapable of enabling a suitable WFH setup for your agents 
  • • Cloud solution may be forced on you if your office closes or changes location 
  • • Can’t handle demand spikes quickly and efficiently enough
    • Unable to offer a broad enough range of channels and deploy them fast enough  

For many, this seems to have been a wake-up call. The number of organizations preferring CCaaS as their preferred solution is now projected to quintuple to 50 percent by 2022, as organizations take initiative to improve their ability to adapt. And even that figure is beginning to appear conservative. 

In other words, over the past few months, the risks of inaction have outstripped the risks of change. But that doesn’t mean the risks of cloud transformation are no longer high. If you’re spearheading a move from on-prem to CCaaS, you’ve got a massive challenge on your hands. And people’s jobs — not to mention your organization’s reputation and customer experience — are still very much on the line. 

Taking the first step 

What’s the first step to ensuring a successful CCaaS migration? Grapple with the scope of the project, confront the stakes and take stock of all the challenges ahead. Ask yourself: What am I really up against here? What, specifically, are the risks? What is this really going to take — not just in terms of budget and personpower, but culturally and interpersonally? 

If your contact center is one of the many that’s managed to put off this kind of project for years — if not decades — then the prospect of popping open the hood may be a terrifying barrier in and of itself. The good news is you’re not alone. It’s a big jump. But it’s been done before, and it will be again. It’s always the first step that’s the most uncertain. 

Be sure to read Part 2, where we dive deeper than overall risk calculus of a move to the cloud and discuss facing the top fear that comes along with cloud transformation.