The UCStrategies Experts share their expertise in bylined articles, opinion pieces, blogs, and podcasts, to define unified communications, educate you about unified communications technologies, and help you make informed decisions about unified communications solutions.
UCStrategies.com defines unified communications as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” The definition of unified communications narrows significantly when you can read and hear about real-world examples that other companies are implementing right now—and apply them to your situation.
This section offers learning tools to help you plan your unified communications implementation.
This section provides a practical, vendor-independent service to any Enterprise that is seeking the benefits of Unified Communications. How do you pull everything together to implement unified communications? Use the tools in this sequence to define unified communications for your business.
The Unified Communications industry changes daily. We keep track of it for you.
UCStrategies is an industry resource for unified communications enterprises, communications vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing unified communications arena.
A supplier of objective information on unified communications, UCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of unified communications since its inception.
Wearing my minimalist and existentialist hats, this would be the extent of my post in its entirety. The title says it all; if you truly cut to the chase, there’s nothing else that needs to be said. Once the cloud gains your trust, it’s all there – wherever there is – somewhere in the ether, and our technology worries will be over.
Not so fast – plus, I have a word count to hit – so I’ll take those hats off now and get to the topic at hand. The cloud has arguably been the biggest trend in technology this year, and many businesses cannot move fast enough to migrate their communications infrastructure there – wherever there is.
Hosted VoIP has been with us for years, so we do have proof-of-concept in terms of handling real-time communications. Recently we’ve been seeing cloud plans escalate to more comprehensive UC deployments, along with niche solutions such as the contact center. Clearly, the cloud has gained a new level of currency for communications applications, hence the title of this article. My specific focus is on the contact center opportunity, but first, I want to address a macro-level concern.
A big reason why trust is an issue with the cloud lies in its virtual nature, as well as the complexity of the underlying technology. It’s hard to trust something you don’t fully understand, and last week, Google made some bold news by showing the world what’s really behind the curtain. This Wizard of Oz moment provides much-needed transparency to make us more comfortable with the cloud, especially from a player of this magnitude. I urge you to explore what Google is sharing, and am confident this will boost your level of trust with the cloud concept.
Presuming you’ve gotten past this fundamental entry point, I’d like look at trust on a more human scale as it pertains to the contact center. In particular, I have three perspectives in mind for IT decision-makers.
In many ways, the contact center is the front door of your business, so the decision to follow this path is very strategic. The longer you have run your own contact center operation, the better you understand the requirements, so moving to the cloud requires careful consideration beyond cost savings. While your experience with other cloud-based applications will be a good indicator of the fit, you need to address elements that are specific to the contact center. Examples include the security and privacy of placing your customer data in the cloud, the reliability of the cloud to support real-time customer contact across multiple locations, and the cloud’s ability to scale as your contact center shifts from telecom-centric to multi-channel, multi-modal communication.
Once you have determined that the cloud is a viable option, finding the right provider comes next. Now the trust issues shift from the delivery model to the partner providing the applications. In terms of technology, you need to trust the partner’s expertise and ability to deliver. Key considerations include how much the contact center is a core competency to their business, the extent to which the underlying software and applications are theirs, their track record of providing cloud-based solutions, their financial stability, the ability to move to non-cloud options if expectations are not being met, and how easily their systems will integrate with yours. These are different types of trust, but all are essential for making the right choice.
This really comes down to the premise of the article, and if you trust the cloud and you trust the provider, you now have to think as an IT decision-maker about what is best for your business. You first need to determine how much of the contact center operation should be pushed out to the cloud – some, most, all? Then you must consider the timetable. You are likely in the best position to determine how fast you need to move, as well as how capable your cloud provider is in supporting this plan. Next, you must think about how this will impact your customers; will they accept a cloud-based service or will this drive them away? Most customers may never even know that you have moved to the cloud; but others will, and for them, their trust issues might trump yours. These are all examples of personal trust, and reflect how well you really understand the cloud opportunity for your contact center needs.
As noted, the cloud has proven viable for VoIP and UC, and this trend will certainly continue. Cloud economics are compelling, especially on a large scale, and as the track record strengthens in these core areas, the value of niche applications will become more evident. The contact center is one such application, and if the trust issues discussed herein can be addressed, there is a great opportunity ahead, not just for businesses looking for a better way to provide customer service, but also for those that have found legacy solutions too much of a barrier to offer this type of support.
To properly evaluate providers, you need to look for expertise in two areas – cloud communications platforms and the contact center space itself. While many providers have strength in one of these, few can truly address both. One company that falls into the latter group is Interactive Intelligence, based on its experience in the contact center industry, as well as with their cloud-based CaaS solution – Communications as a Service. The company may not be a household name, but is consistently recognized as a both a market leader and an innovator in the contact center space. Being a public company, Interactive Intelligence’s continued success and growth is even more transparent than what Google is sharing about their data centers. There certainly are larger contact center vendors and better-known cloud platforms, but if getting the best of both worlds is your basis for defining trust in the contact center, then Interactive Intelligence should be on your short list.
All Content Copyright © 2013 UCStrategies.com. All rights reserved.
Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?