Are Cloud Contact Center Offerings in Need of a Strategy Booster Shot?

Ken Landoline

Ken Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Although cloud-based contact center solutions have been popular for several years now, many companies that have not yet made the move from a premises-based to cloud-based solution are being held back by the lack of a solid business case analysis.
  • Vendors wishing to drive cloud-based customer service sales need to provide the materials and tools that drive a strong business case analysis, or stand to lose market share in the next few years.

Last week Aspect Software announced an aggressive upgrade program to stimulate the contact center market to move from dated premises-based automatic call distributors (ACDs) to its newer Aspect Hosted and Zipwire cloud-based customer care software solutions. The campaign, entitled “Ask a CFO,” is targeted directly at Aspect’s major contact center competitors – Avaya, Cisco, Genesys and Interactive Intelligence, which have been encroaching on Aspect’s installed base recently. The program provides discounted pricing, as well as the newly-developed Aspect Value Analyzer tool, to assist prospects in developing a cloud solution business case. Given the fact that Aspect is coming off a two-year corporate turnaround during which it changed out its executive team, redesigned its channel organization, reorganized its disparate family of offerings and added several new cloud-based products, this is an excellent strategic move. It is the perfect time to become more aggressive in seeking a larger portion of mind and market share that was lost during the company’s turnaround efforts.

The move got me wondering if the entire cloud contact center marketplace was in need of a major boost to energize the sales efforts of all vendors who may reaching a plateau in cloud offering sales this year. After all, cloud-based contact centers have been being pushed heavily over the last seven to eight years and we may be getting to the point where all customers who thought they wanted a new cloud-based customer service solution may have already made the move to the cloud or considered it and decided against it. In addition, the general consensus appears to be that cloud solutions, while generally believed to be less expensive in the first four to five years of the products service life, may prove to be more expensive over time to those companies which choose to keep their systems in place, without major upgrades for five years or more.

Since cloud solutions still offer some major benefits in several major segments of the market because of their low upfront costs, OpEx versus CapEx way of charging, and the potential reduction in enterprise IT headcount that is achievable, the cloud-based customer service/contact center market is about to catch a second wind, if managed effectively. Aspect is right on target with its Ask a CFO campaign because the business case is key to the premises-based versus cloud-based decision and each company’s business case is unique. Therefore, any assistance to be offered by the vendors of cloud-based solutions, such as Aspect’s Value Analyzer tool – which quantifies the economic benefits associated with migrating from legacy on-premises ACD contact centers to contemporary omni-channel cloud solutions – will be well received by prospects and existing clients. The only question in my mind is whether Aspect is stimulating the market for Aspect sales or for all vendors’ sales, in general. Either way, the customers and Aspect Software will come out ahead. However, if I were an Aspect competitor I would be thinking about my own cloud market stimulation program to protect my market share. If I were an enterprise seeking a new contact center solution I would be pressing my potential providers for business case assistance specific to my needs.

About Ken Landoline
As Principal Analyst within the Current Analysis Business Technology and Software group Ken Landoline tracks the enterprise unified communications and contact center (UCCC) markets.

One Response to Are Cloud Contact Center Offerings in Need of a Strategy Booster Shot?

  1. Hi Ken,

    I think there are more benefits from “cloud” solutions than traditional CPE live call processing costs. In particular, we can develop and manage self-service applications for mobile users (Mobile Apps) more easily in a “cloud” environment, as well as exploit the likes of WebRTC to flexibly and contextually “click-for-live assistance” options. This trend will significantly reduce the costs of traditional call center staffing, as well as increase mobile customer satisfaction by giving them more direct and flexible control over their business interactions.

    In addition, mobile customers can benefit from being more accessible for proactive “notifications” and “alerts” generated by business process applications (CEBP), which can speed up customer service interactions and, again, increase customer satisfaction.

    Not exactly sure how Aspect will support the move to what I call “Mobile Customer Care,” but all the legacy telephony-based contact center providers face the same challenges. What to offer as a “cloud” service and how to migrate a customer’s legacy technology “gracefully” to the new service environment.

    If you are interested in this perspective, you can read more at:
    http://www.ucstrategies.com/unified-communications-strategies-views/uc-is-key-for-the-shift-to-mobile-customer-interaction-services.aspx

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