The Power of the cloud collective

The winning combination of cloud-based services

October 24, 2012

The winning combination of cloud-based services
By Bruce von Maltitz, director of 1Stream

The cost-cutting advantages of cloud computing are well-publicised and accepted. Which company wouldn’t relish the prospect of paying only for the services they use or adjusting consumption up and down according to business needs? Of course – it is not without its pitfalls.

Simply put, no single cloud provider can deliver all the cloud services a business might want to procure, which means that there is often a need to use multiple vendors. And these vendors, if they are attuned to the marketplace, have to make sure that all they are able to integrate and accommodate a variety of in- and outsourced systems and keep all the moving parts working together effectively.

Gartner has said that the various systems that support technology are becoming as important as the technology itself, predicting that mash-ups, joint projects and integration will dominate the market. After all, businesses are finding that they need the ability to speak to their customers and access information across a variety of technologies. We’ve already seen that time-constrained technologists are composing applications and programs through collaboration and mashups, as opposed to creating them from scratch. Collaboration in the cloud is particularly powerful.

We’ve seen the success of integrating our own platform from Interactive Intelligence with Salesforce.com. Part of the reason we chose to do this was because Salesforce is, in all likelihood, the most popular CRM product in the world – with trends companies predicting that they will have captured 25% of the market within the next five years. But mostly we decided to integrate because we believe in the power of using cloud-based CRM programmes.

For one thing, we want customers to buy into the concept of running at least part of their business in the cloud. If Salesforce doesn’t turn out to be what you need, you can switch it off at the end of the month and change it to something else. You can’t do that if you’ve made a huge upfront capital investment in a system. And for us, integration was virtually effortless. It was simply a matter of downloading a pre-packaged integration application from their app centre.

We want to create a world where companies run in the cloud – without expensive data centers, complex upgrades or on-premise software. All of this, of course, integrated with social channels like Twitter or Facebook that allow businesses to tap into the wisdom of the crowd and gain new insights into what their customers are thinking.

As cloud computing continues to gain momentum, buyers and providers of outsourced services have to take note of the actions they will have to continue to take in a world where the cloud business model continues to permeate all aspects of enterprise. It is important to choose the right solution and service delivery model, since it influences everything – basic set-up of the technology, operation, trouble-shooting, quality assurance and technology refreshes.

In the end, cloud services need to be understood, supported, deployed and managed by competent partners. By choosing a partner with a service-centric, consultative approach, customers can be sure that core issues such as their call routing and queues are set up with the help of the experts, reports deliver the best possible analysis for their business type and goals, and their system functions with optimal quality and productivity.
This again proves the argument for making use of a hosted cloud service platform that provides a single point of contact and an end-to-end solution that includes integration into company systems.
There are many ways in which to fail at the risky business of setting up and running a call centre. Partnering with the right platform provider is one way of ensuring you don’t fail before you’re even out of the gates.