There are a lot of opinions around Cloud Communications, but the reality is there are numerous considerations for you to review before taking a leap into this new communications model or CAAS (Communications As A Service).
Generally, there are three options. First, have all your calls redirected to centralized trunks at a hosted data center. The drawback here is you have no local operational control and security of your calls could be at risk. Also your WAN connection to the hosted site is your only connection to your communication system.
Second option is to keep your phone lines installed at your site and bridge calls back to the hosted site. While you keep your lines locally, you still have security risk with calls leaving your site and the need for larger WAN connections to support the calls. In addition if your provider has multiple software and hardware platforms to manage on your behalf, you risk not only the possibilities of service outages, but a breakdown of the working integration of the services with these varied components and you’re at the mercy of your provider to service them.
Third option provides the most checks and balances, but has its drawbacks as well. You can have access to your providers virtualized data center communication system and have a proxy and gateways installed at your site. Your provider may give you access to their CAAS contact center portal. In this scenario, your calls stay on site for better security, if the data center goes down, you will have the ability to make and receive calls and the portal provided will give you control over your systems administration and reporting.
Local control with CAAS also allows you to make a once capital, premise based solution now a monthly operational cost and provides a strong Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan. You can also provide similar functionality including Workforce Management, Call Recording, Customer Survey and Outbound Dialing.
However, you need to do your homework – review and potentially re-define your service model. For example, if you center is premise today and there are multiple custom applications and development work required to meet your customer’s needs, then CAAS might not provide the customization level you need in today’s customer service needs.
Here’s link to a checklist of things to consider provided by Interactive Intelligence. Check it out first to see what solution might be right for you. Avtex can also help you through this important decision process!