Scott Prater, VP of Technology, PPT Solutions
It’s no secret that businesses today either have already significantly migrated to the cloud, are in the middle of a cloud migration, or are developing their cloud strategy. When talking with contact center operational or business executives, I always ask if they have migrated any of their applications to the cloud. If the answer is yes, I generally hear one of two answers: “Yeah, I migrated to the cloud” (followed by a frown) or “Yay! I migrated to the cloud” (followed by a smile). So why the disparity in enthusiasm?
Remember that I am asking this question of a business or operational contact center executive, not someone on the IT side of the business. If you ask this question of an IT executive, you will generally get a positive answer. IT executives usually drive cloud strategies to reduce cost or improve reliability for core IT infrastructure such as network, storage, computing power, or database. Given these are all core IT competencies, these migrations generally go pretty well as IT is the driver of both the before and after state.
In contrast, the contact center business executive often is the driver of a cloud migration for contact center applications to enhance their business capabilities by adding additional features that aren’t available in their current premise based infrastructure such as multi-channel, mobility, and social media capabilities in a single, easy to administer cloud based platform. Since the premise based infrastructure goes away, IT support responsibilities are reduced or eliminated. Integrations to other systems where IT once had ownership often also are done by the cloud vendors which further removes the IT role once the cloud migration is complete. This shift in the relationship and how it is handled is the fundamental reason for the enthusiasm gap I mentioned earlier.
" The contact center business executive often is the driver of a cloud migration for contact center applications "
Given that the partnership between IT and business operations can often already be a strained relationship, the communication, partnership, and definition of roles and responsibilities in a cloud based contact center application environment often aren’t well defined or executed. IT is washing its hands of responsibility since their headcount and infrastructure are being eliminated and the business operations group doesn’t have the necessary IT knowledge to understand what is still required from IT both during and after the migration.
To bridge this gap, the most successful models I see are where the contact center business operations group creates the role of a Business Technical Office or Business Transformation Office (BTO) to guide them during the cloud migration. This can be a single person or group of people with hybrid skills on both the business operations side as well as the information technology side who have experience with contact center cloud migrations. The BTO serves as a trusted advisor to business operations from project initiation to shortly after completion. It is generally a bridge organization filled by consultants to ensure the transition to the future cloud based application state. The BTO ensures that the roles between the business and IT are well defined and assist the business in taking on what is often enhanced responsibility for administration of the new contact center platform given these platforms are designed to allow for administration and programming by people with minimal IT skills. It also serves to guide the business in measuring, tuning, and optimizing the solution once deployed to ensure the business objectives that drove the move to the cloud initially are achieved.
In short, as a contact center operational or business executive, leverage the BTO model for your contact center cloud migration to ensure you say “Yay!, I migrated to the cloud.”