3 Ways Companies Can Go All-in on Their Cloud Transitions

While on-premises solutions used to be the default option for enterprise network security, the advent of secure cloud technology has created a shift. Today, every company should consider moving at least some of its contact center functions to the cloud to enjoy a few key benefits.

One of the main attractions of cloud computing on any level is its ability to be scaled up or down in response to business needs. Companies relying on cloud-based networks don't fall behind during peak periods, whether they occur weekly or even just a few times per year.

New features, functionality, and channels can be added as desired, and perhaps most attractive to large companies, a cloud contact center is billed as an operating expense instead of a capital expenditure. This makes budgeting easy, and there's no huge outlay of capital typical when installing or upgrading an on-premises contact center.

But with everything the cloud can provide, there's a lingering fear among companies of what might get lost in the shuffle. The trepidation is that a cloud transition would interrupt customer service availability to legacy systems and diminish the overall customer experience.

A hybrid method using cloud and premises-based systems soothes both those fears. On-site providers can maintain and improve 24/7 legacy system services, while other functions—mainly IT- and finance-related—can move to the cloud.

The High-Performance Hybrid

The hybrid approach can address many of the pain points plaguing the C-suite, particularly the ones involving the integration of cloud tech in contact centers. Companies trying to provide around-the-clock customer service face numerous obstacles in considering infrastructure transitions, from unforeseen complications and periods of downtime to the potential loss of legacy back-end solutions.

Ideally, companies could pick and choose which elements to transition to the cloud; that way, not everything is lost (or temporarily unavailable) during the transition, and legacy systems can stay live using on-premises solutions. This also placates executives who are reluctant to leave behind investments in contact center infrastructure while making more efficient use of limited IT and financial resources on a set schedule.

One of the final hurdles, however, revolves around trust. Not only are companies afraid to put all their eggs in one provider's basket, but they also find it difficult to believe the cloud contact center will match the features and functionality of the existing on-premises solution.

The good news is that companies can quite easily adopt a wait-and-see mentality. Before transitioning the entire contact center to the cloud, they can try it out with functions that aren't as critical to ensure they're satisfied with reliability. As long as companies do their homework before selecting a cloud provider, they can mitigate many of the risks associated with outsourcing infrastructure.

Keys to a Smooth Transition

Implementing cloud solutions on a large scale can feel like an intimidating undertaking, but following a few simple guidelines can help ensure success.

1. Take it one step at a time.

Especially for organizations reluctant to expose themselves to the risk of losing what they have, complete the transition in increments. With a few select components done at a time, companies can intelligently reduce the risk and uncertainty involved.

Adobe's transition from the Creative Suite to the Creative Cloud happened gradually, and when the company announced its plans, the stock price dropped 6 percent. It took only three months for it to fully recover, and after running the final iteration of the Creative Suite in parallel with the new Creative Cloud for about a year, Adobe moved everything to the cloud.

2. Timing is critical.

Time the transition to occur during off-peak periods when downtime has less of an impact. Creating a plan will help minimize issues, but it won't eliminate them entirely. Start by moving nonessential items to the cloud first and then transition email, data storage, and more essential applications during off-peak hours.

3. Pick your cloud provider wisely.

Go with a company with lots of experience in cloud transitions. When you've found the right one, ensure you have written guarantees when it comes to reliability and uptime.

Avoid providers with unreasonable severance penalties that make it excessively difficult to migrate to another provider. Data ownership policies also deserve close examination, as do security measures for data storage.

Moving services to the cloud used to be a means to gain a competitive advantage. Today, it is so ingrained in how companies do business that it's more likely a way to gain an equal footing.

The right cloud provider will make all the difference in helping you prepare a procedure for migrating to the cloud with as little risk as possible and all the rewards. For companies unprepared to fully commit to the cloud and leave their on-premises operations behind, a hybrid approach can provide the best of both worlds.

Steve Pollema oversees TeleTech's Customer Technology Services division. With more than 30 years of experience in systems integration and management consulting, he has significant client-focused experience in large-scale system development and maintenance, program management, and business planning and development. He previously worked at eLoyalty, Whittman-Hart, MarchFirst, and Accenture.