Contact center migration is the process of transitioning from on-site infrastructure to the cloud or a cloud hosting platform. It includes the migration of software, applications, services, platforms, and overall data from a traditional computing system to a new, cloud-based environment.
There are many reasons for migrating your contact center to the cloud. For example, you may want to make your company more equipped to handle a remote working culture, including the advantages and flexibility of widespread hiring it provides. More often than not, however, the reason for cloud migration is to take advantage of the improved cost-effectiveness and efficiency of off-site infrastructure.
For instance, although it is challenging to abandon an on-premises contact center, the costs associated with maintaining compliance can make it untenable.
Some other reasons for migration include:
- Scalability to meet changing business demands.
- Stability and business continuity via improved uptime and reliability.
- Increased ability to maintain a reliable remote workforce.
- To provide more robust customer engagement.
For a contact center migration to be successful, the plan should be multilayered and incorporate multiple perspectives. You may need to obtain C-suite buy-in, make operational changes, implement a new governance strategy, and plan for new ways of training staff.
The following steps highlight the paths, sequences, and workflows that should guide a successful contact center migration plan.
Step 1. Circulate a Contact Center Migration BRD
Migrating diverse users (such as operators, agents, and customers) to a cloud-based platform requires considerable coordination, thorough planning, and concerted effort. You need to create a strategy to plan and execute the migration.
One of the primary ways to facilitate this strategy is to have a business requirement document (BRD).
As its name implies, a business requirement document details what is needed for the business or project to succeed. It outlines the objectives and goals for the project, the desired expectations during its lifecycle, and the resources required to implement it.
In the case of a contact center migration, a BRD should entail how you plan to execute the migration, along with anticipated cutover timelines, if you have a staggered rollout plan that requires a transition period.
The BRD should outline the things your contact center already does well and how you intend to replicate and enhance them once you’ve migrated to the cloud. It should include key performance indicators (KPIs) that act as benchmarks and allow stakeholders to evaluate whether the cloud migration process can be deemed successful.
While it’s important to share this document across the organization to get buy-in from stakeholders and key decision-makers, circulating the BRD across the organization allows you to discover the needs of various departments in terms of equipment, functionality, and expectations. It also allows you to balance conflicting expectations and address the tradeoffs you must make early in the migration process.
Keep in mind that this step is meant to be iterative, with plenty of back-and-forth communication among relevant stakeholders. This is necessary for identifying and addressing potential problems early in the process. It is best to incorporate an effective communication strategy that keeps everyone abreast of the upcoming changes and what their impact will be.
Step 2. Match Requirements to a Type of Contact Center Solution
Choosing the right partner is vital in forging successful business enterprises. To do so successfully requires understanding your options and making a critical assessment.
With contact center migration, it can be challenging to determine suitable solutions for the requirements specified in your BRD. If your envisioned contact center is complicated, you may want to explore various options and avoid vendors who are tightly aligned with a specific solution or tied to one particular software.
The ideal type of contact center solution is platform agnostic and doesn’t create vendor lock-in due to exclusive partnerships. Preferably, you want a solution that offers you nimbleness and flexibility.
The most common migration options include contact center software such as UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS, which have emerged as the preferred model for contact centers to implement cloud-based communications. However, they each pertain to different communication needs.
UCaaS (unified communications as a service) is skewed towards internal communications within the call center. It merges popular-use communication methods like live chat, cloud-based telephony (VoIP), SMS, social media, file sharing, and video conferencing into a single interface or cloud-based platform.
By unifying all of these diverse tools, UCaaS provides the simplicity and flexibility of a single solution for inbound communications. For outbound communications, UCaaS also eliminates the need for contact center agents to switch frequently between platforms.
As a centralized communication hub, UCaaS is also ideal for a dispersed and remote workforce, providing the focal point that keeps a contact center workplace integrated.
CCaaS (contact center software) is driven by social media, live chat, VoIP phone services, social media, and CRM integrations. As such, it is best suited for external communications because it has the capacity for high volumes, both inbound and outbound.
In contrast with UCaaS, CCaaS is more optimized for an enhanced customer experience, while UCaaS is more adept at internal teamwork, collaboration, and cohesion.
On the other hand, CPaaS (communications platform as a service) is the fastest-growing option among the three, and its competitive advantage is its ability to offer real-time, customized services. Moreover, it is user-friendly and easy to set up since it’s a fully supported framework.
As a result, building CPaaS features into your cloud-based contact center doesn’t require you to deal with any backend infrastructure. Unlike traditional real-time communications (RTC), CPaaS provides the developmental framework to construct your own RTC features without having to do it from scratch.
CPaaS offers features like two-factor authentication, video conferencing, interactive voice responses (IVR), chatbots, SMS, and AI capabilities. Cloud-based contact centers may be particularly interested in CPaaS applications that can help them offer a video-enabled help desk.
Overall, the cloud offers lots of features to optimize the performance of contact centers, but you must assess your options and select a platform that aligns with your organization’s goals and business needs.
For instance, if your on-site contact center has a problem with callers experiencing long hold times, you can set a benchmark goal of reducing future hold times by 30% when you switch to the cloud. As a result, your migration plan might lead you to favor a solution that has excellent ACD (automatic call distribution) and IVR (interactive voice response) features.
Step 3. Pilot and Test Services for the Selected Solution
Rather than going full-throttle right away, it’s important to take baby steps when implementing a cloud migration plan. This means testing the basic aspects of a selected solution to ensure it works as expected.
It’s a good idea to have a project manager who will oversee the transition period. This is an exploration phase, so the manager must be agile, flexible, and willing to try new ideas if an initial approach isn’t working.
During the pilot, the project manager must ensure that any and all new integrations will handle the core functionality of the contact center ecosystem. This means monitoring and confirming that the proper workflows are in place to address customer needs at all of their interaction points, as well as ensuring that there are adequate services available for agents to do their jobs successfully.
For instance, you may need to test both that your authentication system is invoked before a payment authorization is issued and that your agents can pull up information from the customer relationship management (CRM) before updating the ticketing system.
To guide the pilot, the project manager should have a thorough checklist of the minimum features, settings, and functionality to be activated. Some of the questions they should be asking include:
- Have the required user permissions been adequately set up?
- Are the ports and network connections set up to work properly?
- Have you transferred and integrated the relevant third-party apps?
- Do your agents have real-time visibility across integrated systems?
This is only a small subset of items that could be on the checklist, but you get the idea.
Lastly, it may be a good idea to have agents test the new system and provide feedback. Just remember that you should be inviting feedback throughout the entire migration process, not just during the pilot stage.
Step 4. Project Implementation and Training
Onboarding new technology can be challenging, especially when you’re changing platforms and moving on from an existing system.
A phased delivery is ideal for reducing downtime, so schedule your move with a release timeline that prioritizes the features you need the most. This means migrating them first.
In this step, you may want to adopt the agile development method for deployment by using fast sprints to accelerate delivery. Additionally, you may also want to deploy robotic process automation (RPA) agents to assist in cross-over functions such as data migration. This is oftentimes better than having employees do manual data transfers due to the risk of clerical errors.
To ensure success, you should plan for an achievable timeline and train your staff to use the new cloud platform. Training is important to ensure your call center agents will adapt and handle the new system competently. You should make sure they understand the new platform and the new features that come with it before they have to start using it.
Step 5. Monitoring and analysis
The final step for contact center migration is to evaluate whether your key performance indicators are being realized. This helps with two things: first, it allows you to provide feedback to management on the overall state of the migration, and second, it helps you figure out if you need to make any adjustments.
In other words, you need to know whether the tactical and strategic goals you identified and proposed in your BRD at the start of the cloud migration journey are on target for being reached. Even with attained goals, there is always room for improvement, so continuing the monitoring process can lead to finding new ways to optimize positive outcomes.
In addition to quantifiable stats, feedback from staff and agents should also be part of the ongoing assessment and reassessment of the new system. Although their views may be subjective, they nonetheless provide an invaluable source of information.
If there are changes you need to incorporate, do so. Otherwise, if everything is going swimmingly, then just keep swimming.