Mike Palmer at Spearline explains cloud automatic call distribution solutions.
Industries have embraced cloud computing enthusiastically, and for good reason. There was a time when every business had its very own data centre to house its critical applications and data in on-premise equipment.
Redundant power, UPS systems, diesel generators, network access from multiple providers entering buildings from different directions, fire suppression, and more were all major concerns of management.
With the advent of rackspace-for-hire and then carrier independent colocation centres, high-availability hosting was outsourced to specialists, allowing businesses to focus on their own specialties.
Hardware and its associated maintenance contracts, software and its licensing and maintenance requirements remained an operational burden, though the sense of “control” was very important to many IT professionals who were watching an infant cloud market develop before them.
As cloud concepts became an operational reality, businesses have recognized the flexibility on offer, and they have seen technology advances and robust service offerings which simply make great business sense.
In those technological advances is a game-changing shift in the communications world with UCaaS, CPaaS, and CCaaS services available in the cloud. Businesses are embracing cloud PBX solutions, and contact centres are investing in cloud automatic call distribution (ACD) systems and other key tools.
The big “migration” is a significant item in many project portfolios. While very exciting, this can be equally complicated as legacy systems, acquisitions, and more acts hinder a cleaner step forward.
Communications applications often have a “Bring Your Own Telco” (BYOT) option, whereby relationships with existing carriers can be maintained while a business transitions from an on-premise contact centre to the cloud.
This allows the business to establish SIP trunks over the public Internet and have a hybrid communications model, mixing traditional and cloud services.
ACD via cloud services is attractive to both small businesses and large enterprises. The ACD is a vital tool in the contact centre for managing hunt groups and call routing in ways that make the best use of resources and present the best customer experience. Supervision, monitoring, and CRM integration are key aspects most IT professionals will study closely.
With a cloud ACD solution, contact centres can scale up and down to meet demand flexibly. Unlike the on-premise scenario, there is little concern about scaling hardware and managing configurations to expand agent capacity.
When a cloud contact centre needs more resources, or wants to deploy some advanced feature-set, they do it. In addition to simple scalability, cloud technologies have developed with genuinely impressive service reliability, leveraging geographically distributed data centres.
Communications applications are real-time, and that means they are demanding. The flexibility that is possible with cloud computing introduces its own challenges in these real-time applications.
The year 2020 saw a sharp upturn in demand for cloud communications services as businesses worldwide quickly embraced home-office/teleworking due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These flexible working arrangements will likely stay with us to a large extent.
Today, the cloud ACD directs calls between contact centre nodes, across continents, and to an enormous volume and variety of home-office arrangements. In traditional telecommunications, the “last mile” has always been a focus for service delivery challenges.
In the era of cloud communications, the ACD itself may change geographical location with dynamic cloud behaviours, and call paths can be significantly altered.
With a “very” distributed workforce, the cloud ACD is now distributing calls to unique network arrangements at the agent level, instead of delivering to regional centres or nodes. The “last mile” is as challenging as ever.
Call quality and call reliability are critical customer experience points in today’s business environment and cannot be taken for granted. A phone call should simply connect, and once it does, the caller should not struggle with echo, delayed audio, background noise, and more.
Unfortunately, however, callers often cannot connect, or when they do, quality issues make conversation difficult. Proactive monitoring and testing can put the spotlight on problem areas that can be addressed methodically.