Cloud Contact Center Solutions Continue Upward Trajectory
SECURITY AND REGULATORY COMPLIANCE ARE KEY
As strong as this market and its solutions are, there is still room for improvement. The top reasons why companies have avoided using a cloud-based solution are security and regulatory compliance, two very different but often related issues. Businesses are literally under siege from hackers, fraudsters, and industrial spies intent on stealing secrets for a variety of nefarious purposes. At the same time, companies are facing a growing number of often confusing regulatory requirements, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) worldwide, the Data Protection Act in the United Kingdom, the BDSG federal data protection act in Germany, the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and many more.
Companies need systems that protect them from security breaches and keep them in compliance with these myriad regulations. They are also looking to the vendors to help clarify the regulations and to deliver the features they need to prove compliance. The more mature cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendors have a senior security officer to help them stay current with industry security and regulatory requirements and to work with clients to understand and meet their needs.
The argument that contact center solutions do not access or store personal consumer or customer data or protected health information, for example, might once have been valid, but it isn’t any longer. Contact center solutions access sensitive data when they use computer telephony integration to go into a CRM system or other customer data repository to access data to personalize and route a transaction. Additionally, even if the most sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers, account numbers, or credit/debit numbers, is redacted—which is rare—there is still a great deal of personal information in recordings stored in the cloud. Financial services and healthcare companies, in particular, are hypersensitive to these issues and are hoping the cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendors can provide tools and knowledge that allow them to mitigate their security risks and compliance concerns.
INNOVATION AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN CONTACT CENTERS
Purpose-built cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendors entered the market with their first-generation offerings more than 20 years ago. In the technology world, this makes these solutions dinosaurs, even though their technology and design are more current than those of many of the on-premises solutions. The cloud-based contact center vendors have invested millions of dollars in their solutions and the supporting networks and operations to run them. But the time has come for them to push the market forward with new and innovative designs, architecture, functionality, user interfaces, and best practices. Vendors that want to differentiate themselves as market leaders must move beyond functional parity with legacy on-premises contact center infrastructure. This is where artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language understanding, and analytics come in. The market leaders will begin a major round of innovation to build “smart” and personalized contact center and self-service solutions. They will also introduce next-gen user interfaces with vastly improved user experiences for administrators, managers, and agents. At the same time, to achieve and maintain a leadership position, these vendors must invest in marketing and sales to differentiate their offerings and messaging from the rest of the pack.
The cloud-based contact center infrastructure market is confronting its next set of major hurdles—architecture, functionality, innovation, AI, security, regulatory compliance and, of course, service reliability. Additionally, even the best solutions in the world cannot succeed without outstanding sales, marketing, and support. The vendors in the exciting and adaptable cloud-based contact center infrastructure market have what it takes to succeed, and this IT sector is going to look even better in 10 years.
Donna Fluss is president of DMG Consulting. For more than two decades she has helped emerging and established companies develop and deliver outstanding customer experiences. A recognized visionary author and speaker, Fluss drives strategic transformation and innovation throughout the service industry. She provides strategic and practical counsel for enterprises, solution providers, and the investment community.