Telephony and Connectivity to the Cloud: Considering an All-in-One Contact Center Solution

By Mariann McDonagh and Mike Perry

As a contact center executive, telephony is critical to your business. If you’re moving – or thinking about moving – your contact center to the cloud, the last thing you need is a cobbled-together connectivity solution with telecom services from one vendor and cloud contact center software from another.

If you want to streamline your cloud connectivity solution, eliminate hassles, and spend more time on your core mission, consider an all-in-one cloud connectivity solution. A true all-in-one solution is pre-integrated, end-to-end, and provided and managed by a single vendor. It combines telephony, cloud infrastructure, and contact center software into one harmonic solution.

Avoid Communication and Implementation Headaches: Most cloud contact center software providers cannot provide and integrate a broad range of telephony solutions. Therefore, contact center executives must bring in multiple vendors to meet their telephony needs.

In this scenario, contact center executives serve as the go-between for software and telephony vendors. Not only must they manage multiple contracts and reporting systems, they must also act as a conduit between vendors from different worlds: Each vendor has an incomplete understanding of the other’s technologies, which were not designed up-front to be compatible. Communication issues are almost guaranteed.

Furthermore, the contact center executive must align vendors prior to building, connecting, and deploying a solution. He or she must coordinate and manage each phase of implementation, define roles and responsibilities, and keep each party accountable.

In short, the contact center executive and his or her team must duplicate work with multiple vendors. This can make for hassles, uncertainty, and time-consuming discussions. Even simple call routing can become difficult. And that’s just setting up the solution—it will only get more complex when problems arise and changes are needed.

There is a better way to address telephony and connectivity to the cloud. The following are key benefits of a true all-in-one solution.

Benefits of an All-In-One Cloud Connectivity Solution: A true all-in-one cloud connectivity solution helps optimize call center operations and eliminate deployment and management hassles.

  • Streamlined: One partner working for you means a single and open channel of communication. There’s no management between multiple vendors. You have one reporting system, one contract, and – perhaps most compelling – one partner to hold accountable.
  • Transparent: When you work with one partner that understands the nuances of your unique telecom solution as integrated with your cloud contact center, you and that partner have a clear view of your total solution, its architecture, and its performance.
  • Convenient: When you have one dedicated partner responsible for your solution, you have someone who listens and is responsive to requests.
  • Rapid deployment: A cloud connectivity partner with a pre-integrated carrier network means you’ll get up and running faster. Additionally, changes like adding or eliminating phone lines and locations will be easier and quicker.
  • Flexible: It’s important to find a partner able to combine a broad range of telephony options and accommodate any type of connectivity model working with any PBX system.
  • Objective: One relationship means one partner fully invested in your success, interested in finding what works best for you rather than selling a particular type of connectivity.

What to Look for in a Cloud Connectivity Partner: If you’re interested in pursuing a true all-in-one cloud connectivity solution, here are attributes to look for, beginning with an overview of what a complete solution should include.

A true all-in-one contact center solution includes telephony, cloud infrastructure, and cloud contact center software.

  • The global telecom infrastructure needs to be from an enterprise-class global carrier, with a full range of telephony options, provide switching and routing, and offer global, geographical, and toll-free numbers.
  • The cloud infrastructure must be secure and reliable, with a redundant network and platform, include international data centers, have network operator centers staffed 24×7, and provide a trust office with open access for all customers.
  • The cloud contact center software platform features should include interactive voice response (IVR), workforce optimization (WFO), cloud applications, CRM integrations, disaster recovery, multi-channel ACD, blended predictive dialer, reporting and analytics, workforce management (WFM), customer feedback tools, and quality monitoring.

Attributes of a Cloud Connectivity Solution

  • End-to-end connectivity: Security and quality are integrated at every point in the contact center’s telephony and IP connectivity.
  • Carrier-grade connectivity: Extensive telephony options are offered, including global inbound numbers, ISDN, PSTN, VoIP, MPLS, and SIP trunking in any
  • Broad international coverage: Agents may be located all over the world, with follow-the-sun routing available. The network has multiple, geographically-disperse POPs to reduce call latency and increase voice quality.
  • Pre-integrated technology: The carrier network and cloud software solution were built with one another in mind and optimized to work together from the start. Technologies are compatible, use the same protocols, and are ready to implement.
  • Redundancy and business continuity: The solution includes redundant fiber links, edge and core routers, firewalls, and VoIP hardware, as well as multiple ISP and diverse toll-free carrier routes. Multiple mirrored server centers function as both primary and backup locations so that call flows continue uninterrupted if there’s a problem. The vendor provides a documented disaster recovery plan to ensure business continuity.
  • Transparency and unified reporting: The vendor has a CSO (Chief Security Officer) and Trust Office and provides transparent online reporting. Unified reporting includes performance measures for telephony and cloud contact center software.
  • Expertise in telecom and cloud technologies: The vendor has in-depth expertise in both telecom and cloud technologies. He knows how to seamlessly integrate the technologies and has experience implementing telecom solutions while also serving telecom customers. The network infrastructure and architecture is robust and managed by the vendor’s own employees. Finally, the vendor is continually improving and upgrading to the latest technology.

Summary: As a contact center executive, your time is valuable and your priorities, many. If you’re contemplating moving your contact center to the cloud, consider a true all-in-one solution. Avoid the hassle of managing multiple vendors. Don’t become the go-between and struggle with implementation and management when you can focus on what you do best – delivering a superior customer experience, maximizing contact center performance, and growing your business.

It’s possible to simplify operations while staying on the leading edge. When you consider a true all-in-one cloud connectivity solution, you can build tomorrow’s contact center today.

Mariann McDonagh is the CMO at inContact.

[From Connection Magazine November 2013]

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