Direct CX Comparison – Cloud vs On-Premises
Guest blog By Stephen Ball, SVP Europe & Africa at Aspect Software
Businesses around the world are embracing digital transformation and its potential to enhance the customer experience, consolidate IT infrastructure and reduce operational expenditure. A key area is the contact centre and any associated engagement channels, with many organisations having already migrated to the cloud or planning a transition within the next two years.
According to a recent report by IDG, Cloud-Based Applications to Transform Customer Service, 46 per cent of businesses are already using cloud contact centre solutions, 33 percent are implementing cloud contact centre solutions and 17 per cent are planning to use cloud contact centre solutions within the next couple of years. The statistics reveal the fast pace of cloud adoption and suggests that companies who are not considering it as part of their long-term digital strategy could be left behind with an outdated and ineffective contact centre.
Moving the contact centre to an externally hosted cloud environment offers a flexible platform to streamline administrative procedures and human resourcing, with businesses of all sizes realising the rewards of migrating their customer relationship management (CRM) and workforce management (WFM) technology to a Contact-Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) model. By optimising resource allocation and automating forecasting and scheduling processes, this can lead to a significant boost in productivity and a considerable reduction in operational expenditure.
As the technology advances and grows in popularity, IT decision makers are having to consider whether their organisation should opt for on-premises infrastructure or a cloud hosted WFM solution, billed on a Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription model. Before making a decision, senior management need to weigh up the pros and cons of each approach to determine which one is best suited to their unique corporate strategy. Many organisations have invested a considerable amount of time, energy and money into expensive legacy equipment, the right software and dedicated teams of IT professionals to operate these systems, which explains why decision makers may be reluctant to move away from in favour of externally hosted cloud SaaS.
There are numerous benefits of hosting a contact centre in a cloud, but it may not be the right option for everyone as there are specific factors that will determine which model is best. First, let’s investigate some of the main differences between a cloud provider and hosting your own infrastructure on-premises:
Cloud SaaS model
The main advantages of a cloud-hosted WFM solution are around cost and convenience. After choosing a suitable provider, the software can be installed and configured in a very short period of time before being deployed across multiple sites, departments and locations simultaneously and with minimal disruption. After installation, the system can be activated immediately with the company simply charged a monthly subscription for the service
For this to work effectively, each area of deployment needs to have fast and reliable internet connectivity (ideally a high-quality connection with low latency) with a well-trained member of staff on-site who can oversee the process by liaising with the provider to ensure all settings, features and functions are properly configured. This greatly reduces the need for large in-house IT teams which can substantially reduce the operational costs associated with traditional contact centre and WFM solutions.
Additionally, any system maintenance, updating or troubleshooting issues will primarily be the responsibility of the service provider and therefore there is no need to have any equipment on-premises. This means that business owners do not have to worry about having enough physical space on-site to house the servers and racking required to run their applications and services.
A cloud WFM provider will usually offer flexible pricing options, so it is relatively simple to add new users, features and functionalities. These changes can usually be made with a simple adjustment to the monthly subscription package, but business owners should ensure they are asking the right questions about what is included in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and calculate the long-term pricing structure before making a decision.
Once there is a clear understanding of compliance, back-up, accessibility and data retention policies, it allows an organisation to estimate Return on Investment (ROI) and assess which arrangement would be best suited to their business requirements and budget.
There are a broad range of logistical and financial advantages to reducing on-premises legacy technology and migrating contact centre and WFM technology to the cloud. However, this set-up may not be ideal for everyone, and there are some key elements of an on-premises solution that are better suited to some organisations.
For example, users will have a greater level of control over the entire platform with the ability to edit features and functionalities. The highly customisable nature of an on-premises solution means it can be a better option for companies with specific HR processes, although this requires on-site installation and maintenance of hardware alongside regular software updates that would have to be carried out by in-house IT staff.
If the infrastructure is hosted on-premises and managed by a properly trained security professional, it will theoretically be more secure than a cloud offering, and potentially less susceptible to data breaches as it is not hosted in the public ecosystem alongside other companies’ data. It should also be noted that if the cloud provider suffers a technical failure then all connected services will go down and therefore outages may be more frequent. For an organisation that requires physical access to servers where data security is of the highest importance and can afford the high costs of ownership, an on-premises solution would be the best option.
Choosing the right solution
Although cloud contact centre and WFM solutions are seemingly more cost-effective, a strategic review of both cloud and on-premises should be undertaken before making the decision. Typically, small and medium sized companies are most enthusiastic about making the switch, as the small amount of on-site equipment should theoretically determine a relatively straightforward and low-cost migration process. By contrast, large organisations who have already invested a considerable amount of time and money in on-premises legacy equipment will be more reluctant to move away from this set-up. These companies will usually have powerful on-site data centres with highly customised systems and support teams that would be complex and expensive to replicate in a cloud environment.
Some companies decide that they need the best of both worlds and opt for a hybrid solution that combines on-premises hardware and cloud services. These innovative examples of Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) are typically best suited to large multinational organisations with big IT budgets and specific long-term digital strategy. Although the process can initially seem complex and confusing, having a comprehensive understanding of the core business objectives and seeking the advice of IT professionals is the best way to ensure the right decision is made.
Guest blog By Stephen Ball, SVP Europe & Africa at Aspect Software
Aspect offers a customer engagement platform that is powerful yet affordable, quick to implement, and easy to keep up-to-date. Including contact centre interaction management, workforce management and self-service capabilities, we designed it with a relentless focus on things like reducing effort, increasing usability, connecting disjointed interactions and processes, and simplifying management. And, we make it accessible to customers of all types and sizes in the cloud. Now, there’s no excuse for bad service.