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As 2017 dawns, contact centers and business process outsourcers (BPOs) are in the position to reflect on what technology trends are going to be on the rise in the coming year. Being competitive requires not just taking advantage of emerging technologies, but also embracing the new business strategies that come with them. Leveraging technology trends can lead to strong competitive advantages by helping manage costs more effectively and opening the door to new business opportunities.
Underlying the constant cloud and tech trends is also the impact that compliance is having on the BPO and call center industry. With compliance requirements on the rise, along with demands on in-house compliance teams, the risks of failing to meet those demands have increased in many industry sectors. For some organizations, there is a need to keep all compliance-based activities in-house. However, leveraging a partner to assist with compliance requirements may be an alternative worth considering. This can relieve some of the pressure felt by IT departments to build applications or solutions and keeping those technologies current with the latest regulations.
Rising IT and operational costs can impact the profitability and productivity of your contact center, but with 2017 comes additional opportunities to say “yes” to even more potential customers, especially in highly-regulated industries like healthcare and financial services. Investing in costly on-premise infrastructure and maintenance seems clunky and old-fashioned. In 2017, we will see even more companies experiencing the cost and time savings of moving their contact system to the cloud. Those who are responsible for contact centers have plenty to look forward to in 2017, especially with the rapid development of cloud technology and workforce optimization (WFO) suites.
Here are our predictions for what cloud computing will do to the contact center industry in 2017.
The move to cloud-based contact centers has been gaining momentum and we don’t foresee that slowing down anytime soon.
The drivers behind this growth are the benefits of a cloud-based contact center which include streamlined workforce management and call center optimization. Moving to the cloud allows for:
In the past, we have traditionally thought of call centers as huge rooms full of people sitting at tiny cubicles, making and receiving calls. However, with cloud-based technologies, contact center employees can log in from any device, anywhere, remotely accessing everything they need to do their jobs.
This could lead to the gradual extinction of on-premises call center operations. BPOs and other contact center operators will be lured by the benefits of massive savings on real estate footprints, decreased hardware costs and savings on IT infrastructure – all made possible by cloud delivered desktops.
Lack of resources and expertise was listed by Rightscale as the #1 cloud challenge in 2016, followed by security concerns. Both of these issues will need to be addressed in 2017, potentially with more contact centers relying on outside cloud and security experts to be strong partners with the call center’s IT teams, freeing in-house teams to focus on assisting the call center’s core expertise: servicing more customers with higher quality standards.
Companies in the outsourcing or call center industry may find that activities impacted by compliance can be shared with partners, but before an organization decides to leverage technology partners, it should lay out the objectives and responsibilities that it wants to achieve. The decision to partner with an outside company to assist with compliance requirements may be driven by one or more of the challenges that compliance functions face, including:
Industries that deal with sensitive customer information on a daily basis need to make security the number one priority in any technology decision. Similarly, these industries will also be the quickest to adopt tools to assist with compliance standards. Tools that add on layers of security to PCI and HIPAA compliance can give these industries an added sense of comfort knowing that their customers’ information is safe, and they won’t be at risk of a breach.
Our “always-on” culture dictates responsiveness to customers and stakeholders – something that can’t be achieved if systems and tools are unavailable. Many organizations overlook agents’ desktops when building a comprehensive business continuity strategy. Have you considered your vulnerable endpoints?
Whether due to human error, operational failure or a true natural disaster, downtime can significantly impact profitability, employee productivity and brand reputation. Many cloud services offer the added assurance in the event of a disaster that your employees have access anywhere, from any device so business continuity and productivity aren’t impacted. According to Backbox, only about 35% of businesses have disaster recovery plans in place. If your org doesn’t have a DR plan, this may be a key goal for 2017.
We’re past the point of solving challenges by consuming more and more technology. Instead, 2017 will be about adopting tools that align people and technology in ways that empower adaption, productivity, satisfaction and positive change. The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. Help write that story by embracing new tech trends that uplift your organizations as a whole. Here’s to a prosperous 2017!
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