10 Questions to Help You Identify the Ideal Private Cloud

Companies with contact centers are migrating to the cloud at an even faster pace than we previously noted in June. Many others are moving from the public cloud to the private cloud. And why not?

Today’s IT contact center environment demands agility to support industry trends like BYOD, server virtualization, social media, and fast-growing video usage. Contact center managers are demanding more from their cloud so they can continue to stay ahead of their customers’ communications demands and improve their organization’s competitive advantage.

Operating in a real-time, 24/7 world increasingly requires unified communications applications that utilize voice, video, e-mail, IM, presence, conferencing, and unified messaging to ensure your customers– both internal and external–have their needs serviced quickly.

Contact center agents are also increasingly required to help navigate online purchases, or deliver customer support in a multichannel environment.

For contact centers, the ideal private cloud can mean many things and come in different forms.

While cloud needs vary from company to company, the ideal cloud comes with a simple, dynamic environment that can easily support new devices and real-time applications. The best private cloud based collaboration solutions will offer these six key benefits:

#1: New applications are accessible and can be easily and quickly rolled out
#2: Reduced complexity and risks associated with technology transformation
#3: Enhance IT business impact, which enables shifting of skilled IT staff off daily management to long-term projects that advance core business success
#4: Maximize ROI for unified communications and collaboration features
#5: Deliver a consistent quality of experience, while maximizing performance and limiting retraining
#6: Provide tools for better end-user productivity anywhere, anytime, on any device

Offering great flexibility, private clouds can be dedicated on-premise, off-premise or can even be half-on and half-off.

For contact centers of large healthcare and finance companies, the private cloud offers the ability to maintain a large customer database at the enterprise where it can be controlled, while applications that can support and access the database can be hosted offsite at the contact center.

This hybrid configuration provides the best of both on-premise security and off-premise cloud flexibility. This model also can set up a simplified migration path to a full, private cloud infrastructure.

Moving from a traditional, on-premise solution to the cloud can become tricky in the case of large, complicated, customized applications, such as contact centers.

Lack of standards, bad heritage, poor flexibility and complex APIs can lead to extraordinarily complicated migrations. Challenging migrations require experienced, contact center-centric vendors to handle all of the porting, routing, setup, and dealing with customization of workflow, which can mean extensive rebuilds of application scripts and processes.

The best clouds–based on ITIL standards, active monitoring and service desk support–will support complex unified communications and diverse contact center environments, and multi-vendor equipment.

Realizing the benefits of a successful cloud migration require contact center managers to take a carefully thought out approach to evaluation; one that considers their current infrastructure and where they want to ultimately end up. Getting answers to these 10 questions is a good way to start:

#10: Does the vendor have the expertise and experience to build a technology transformation roadmap that evolves your current solution to leverage the cloud while minimizing current service disruption?

#9: Can the vendor’s standard, dedicated hosted solution–complete with voice, multimedia agent, off-site agent, and voicemail applications–meet the needs of various sizes of business (small, midsize and large)?

#8: Does the vendor’s expertise come with a common SIP-based communications core with an open, enterprise-wide, cloud-grade network infrastructure?

#7: Does the vendor’s architecture enable easy management and building of a contact center virtualization strategy, from the data center to the desktop?

#6: How easy is streamlining to ensure a great user experience with applications?

#5: Is there a standards-based approach to their private cloud that provides maximum flexibility and investment protection in a rapidly evolving cloud landscape?

#4: Does the vendor have enough experience with APIs and offer customization capabilities for easy integration and migration of your current customized solution to a cloud-based offering?

#3: Can the vendor candidate offer a turnkey approach that combines applications, servers, storage and networking and management components?

#2: Is deployment easy, with ready-to-use packages and single-call support?

#1: Can the private cloud solution service be customized to include remediation, multi-vendor equipment support, eBonding, custom billing, reporting and software upgrades?

What are your top 10 must haves in a private cloud vendor?

Follow me on Twitter at @Pat_Patterson_V

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