The cloud has transformed the contact center infrastructure market. It has energized a tired and dated on-premise market by introducing new competitors who are hungry for business and making major investments in their solutions. Despite the marketing, which makes many of the cloud-based contact center solutions sound as if they are functionally the same, there are substantial differences among many of them.
The cloud-based contact center infrastructure market has been active for more than 20 years, but it really took off in 2010 during the technology recession. What makes this market so exciting is that many of these solutions keep getting better. Market leaders are investing millions in their infrastructure to improve system delivery and reliability and to expand their footprint both domestically and internationally to make it easier for their customers to do business with them. A characteristic of a leading cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendor is their willingness to adopt technology and best practices that benefit themselves and their customers, as is the case for the growing use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
While investing to enhance their delivery channels, leading vendors are also making substantial investments to enhance and expand their functional capabilities. The cloud allows for speed, agility and flexibility, enabling vendors to deliver a continuous stream of enhancements to the market. For most of their 20 years, the cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendors have invested to reach feature parity with on-premise leaders. But now that this goal is in sight, DMG expects to see true innovation coming to market. Below is a list of some of the traditional and breakthrough areas in which leading cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendors are making investments.
- Investments to standardize and simplify system administration
- Total refresh of user interfaces to improve the user experience
- Single sign-on to improve agent productivity
- Improvements to integration frameworks to make it easier to integrate disparate systems
- Enhanced reporting to allow non-technical users to obtain the data they need
- Support for digital transformation by expanding channel support, including uninterrupted migration from one channel to the next
- Introduction of agent desktop solutions to enable agents to transition easily from one channel to the next
- Broadening of suites to incorporate workforce optimization (WFO) and customer relationship management (CRM) functionality
- Intelligent routing using data from third-party applications
These capabilities differentiate cloud-based contact center infrastructure solutions and enable users to deliver a personalized customer experience cost effectively.
- Customer journey analytics that go beyond the contact center into other areas of the company
- Robotic technology and robotic process analytics (RPA), which automates tasks in both front- and back-office operating environments, improving productivity and the customer experience
- Significant enhancement of voice self-service capabilities with the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based intelligent virtual agents (IVAs)
- Use of AI to enhance routing decisions
- Next-best action (NBA) and real-time guidance capabilities that enable agents to deliver a consistent and personalized customer experience in all channels
These are just a few of the more innovative capabilities in which leading vendors are investing to enhance their solutions and make them more beneficial for their enterprise customers.
The future of contact center technology is in the cloud, even though there will continue to be users of on-premise solutions for the foreseeable future. But companies looking for innovation will get it from cloud-based application providers because these vendors are investing in their future while the on-premise vendors are trying to hold onto the past.