More and more often, companies are replacing so-called on-premise systems (hereafter on-prem) with alternative cloud technologies. Cloud-based systems are also being used more and more frequently for the heart of customer service, the ACD system. With the pandemic, acceptance has once again increased significantly. If you too are faced with the decision of on-prem vs. cloud ACD, you should take enough time for the decision-making process to bring all decision-makers along, select the right solution/ the right partner, carefully plan the migration process and also anticipate the mostly sensible, necessary, organisational as well as process-related changes.
Cloud-based systems can be operated intuitively via a web browser. On the one hand, this enables the company’s own employees to work independently of location, for example at several locations or in a home office, and on the other hand, external units such as a customer service provider can be easily integrated. In addition, the cost structure of cloud solutions is oriented to individual needs: By flexibly scaling the licences, it is possible to expand from just a few employees to large teams without downtime and, conversely, to reduce licences in order to reduce costs.
Cloud solution providers also contractually commit to almost one hundred percent availability of the solution as well as a high service level of support. In addition, cloud solutions offer standards that are usually used several times and thus tested. Also, numerous interfaces to common CRM and other customer service solutions are usually already in use and additional requirements can be implemented quickly. Most ACD system providers now invest almost exclusively in the further development of their cloud-based solutions. As a result, it can now be assumed that the functional scope of the cloud-based solution has been greatly expanded in comparison to on-prem.
In contrast to on-prem solutions, which require internal IT resources for installation, maintenance and servicing, cloud-based systems reduce the burden on IT by outsourcing complex IT and security issues. The implementation of cloud solutions in one’s own infrastructure is usually quick to implement. The configuration of the cloud-based ACD can usually be configured without programming knowledge, so that a quick set-up and flexible adjustments of the processes are possible. In addition, cloud-based solutions are automatically updated on a regular basis and are therefore always up to date with the latest release.
Within the decision-making process on-prem vs. cloud-based ACD, it is important to involve all parties at an early stage. This prevents data protection and data security requirements, for example, from becoming a “showstopper” in the implementation project. The internal clarification of current and future requirements as well as the examination of the possible system/ system provider also takes time. In our experience, a so-called one-to-one replacement does not make sense in such a project and leads to potential optimisations not being used.
A critical success factor for the project is also an early clarification of the technical and economic framework conditions. This includes, for example, the bandwidth required to use the ACD system, the issue of investment protection and the depreciation period of the current on-prem solution, as well as the examination of the necessary interfaces to existing IT systems (e.g. ERP, CRM, knowledge management, workforces management). In this context, it is also important to decide whether “only” the current ACD should be replaced by a cloud-based solution or whether the telephone system (only employees who work with the ACD or the entire office telephony) should also be replaced.
In order for the introduction of a cloud-based ACD solution to actually contribute to improving customer interaction and optimising internal workflows, it is necessary that the optimisation approaches are developed in an early project phase and then consistently implemented in the migration. In this way, customer/ business partners, service and sales staff as well as the IT department can benefit from a cloud-based ACD solution.
It is often underestimated how complex the decision-making process is when introducing new technologies. So before the on-prem systems of customer services are replaced by cloud-based solutions, it makes sense to set up a milestone plan for the cloud migration. The necessary internal and external resources as well as the expected budget should also be planned at an early stage. These plans and the targets for the project must be agreed and approved with the management. In addition, relevant decision-makers such as employee representatives or data protection should be involved in the project at an early stage. This is important in order to have a “robust” mandate for the project.
If you follow these basic points in the decision-making process and be aware of the typical challenges, the time is ready to successfully move your ACD to the cloud.