In previous articles I’ve reviewed the inevitable shift to cloud based contact centres and the business case that will ultimately lead to approving the projects.
The greatest challenge faced is post the business case and through to delivery.
The most important factor to plan for is that you haven’t just bought a faster or cheaper horse – you are buying a brand new capability which requires a change in behaviour from all involved in using and supporting the system. A successful project depends on several aspects:
- Relationship within IT between you and the Group responsible for customer sales and service technology
A successful project depends on a new way of working between IT infrastructure, IT Sales/Customer contact and the business.
It is typical that IT responsible for Customer contact (often using Salesforce) and IT infrastructure report to different VPs in the IT organisation. There can be tension between the groups as the customer contact IT group is pushing for innovation to support their business requirements where the IT infrastructure maintain a priority towards stability and service levels.
It is however a simple rule of business that revenue generation will always eventually win out and being seen to slow down progress only ends in reputational damage for IT infrastructure teams.
- Finding the right skills to help you deploy
Find the right skills to implement the project – it is incredibly difficult to find the right combination of Telephony/Web and customer contact skills within the current market and this is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future. Don’t be afraid to call this out as a risk throughout the project, it is not a unique challenge faced by your business.
- Your internal team skills and ambition
The challenge for IT infrastructure is the embrace the change. The business case will be positive which should allow a degree of flexibility to reform the existing teams. There are however a number of important steps to take:
You need to evaluate whether the current management of the traditional contact centre are bought into the transformation. If their heart is not in the project you need to make tough decisions quickly to find new management who don’t see the project as a threat but as an opportunity to be involved in a project that will help the business and enhance their career opportunities.
The same assessment needs to be made of the steady state team that will help deploy and support the platform once the transformation is complete. You should make clear from the beginning of the project that you want the existing team to use their current skill base and develop into web based and devops. You will support them with training and mentoring on the new systems. As with the management if the staff aren’t bought into the vision it is time to find new team members
- Get the right relationship with the cloud vendor
Cloud providers such as Amazon and Microsoft have considerable teams to support their sales and product development but the relationship between you and your cloud vendor is an important one to develop and sustain. The technology remains in its relative infancy and there are likely to be times where a good relationship between you and the vendor will help you unblock an issue. Getting into a blame game between you and the cloud vendor will not end well for anyone.
Once you have the right relationship between IT Sales and IT Infrastructure, the cloud vendor, the right deployment team and team members to support focus on building the relationship with the business units that will be utilising your new service.
Building a relationship with trust will support you all throughout the project. Cloud based contact centres are in their relative infancy and there will be bumps in the road.
I guarantee they will be most welcoming of IT coming to them as a partner in a transformation that facilitate improved customer experience.