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07 March 2013

By: Danny Singer

Blog #2: Prisoners in the sky

Danny-Informal

Cloud computing is here to stay. We keep hearing about the great advantages that it brings and indeed these are many and great. However, there seems to be a media blackout on the disadvantages of moving everything, including your call centre, into the cloud. Experience has taught us that in computing nothing is perfect and that evolution is powered by the endless toing and froing between alternative models so it is worth thinking for a moment about the downside of propelling your contact centre into the cloud.

cloudollarFirst and foremost, there is the cost of telephony. Putting your          
call centre technology in the cloud typically takes away your
freedom to shop around for the best deal for telephone minutes
by relinquishing the choice of lines to the cloud provider.

Something worth considering is the margin your cloud provider
will be applying  to this element of the service. An increase of a
fraction of a penny per call minute may not sound like much,
but over time and across many agent positions this can add up
to a significant cost hike.

In addition to that, depending on the architecture your cloud supplier provides, you may end up paying twice for each call that you make/take. Unless you are using SIP to connect to your provider (and that has its own cost implications if you want decent quality of service) you will pay for one "leg" to connect your agent to the cloud provider and then another "leg" from there to your customer. Again, it may not sound like much but it could double your telephony costs.

You also need to consider your data bandwidth. Your broadband connection is not likely to be enough to support the delivery of cloud applications to your agents' screens. If you simply use the public internet to do this, you also run the risk of inexplicable delayed screen pops and slow response times. Call centre applications are time critical. You may be prepared to wait for 10 seconds for a document to load if you do back office work, but in the call centre, this could prove disastrous.

There are many other considerations to take into account when considering the cloud in a call centre context. However, it is worth taking into account the freedom that you may be relinquishing when reaping all the obvious benefits of this move. For some this could prove a rather Faustian pact.