No Doubt About IVR in the Cloud

It’s been a few years now since the Cloud first appeared (not counting the Internet itself which is the largest public Cloud there is). Today, many businesses are in the Cloud, running some or all of their backend and frontend technologies that way. Call centers have been slow to make the move. Call center managers and IT both are worried. They’re worried about performance. About reliability. About control.

They’re worried about all those things.

But they’re wrong.

Reliability and Performance

Do you use Salesforce? Welcome to the Cloud. Need to ask Siri something? Cloud again. Xerox Remote Print? Pinterest? OnStar? Cloud, cloud, cloud.

In fact, if you’ve made a hotel reservation, ordered a product, subscribed to a service through online or mobile media: it’s pretty certain that you’ve been up in the Cloud a few times. Even if the transaction itself wasn’t in the Cloud, it’s likely some part of the backend management of your data—storage, analytics and so on—was. In other words, you know the cloud is reliable and you know it performs . . . because you’ve personally tested it time and again. How can you tell which services are Cloud based and which aren’t? Basically, you can’t. And neither can your customers.

Control

As far as using the system there’s absolutely no loss of control for your call center and IVR managers. They still have round-the-clock ability to set up menus, place promotions, add or remove extensions and users, change passwords—everything that they do now they’ll do when you’re in the Cloud

IT departments worry about a loss of control too. Some of that’s just territorial, but most of their concerns are valid . . . and unfounded. With a quality Cloud infrastructure, IT maintains as much control over the system as they want. They can control configuration, handle integrations, monitor security, manage updates: everything they choose to do with their IVR. But, with only very few exceptions, they don’t choose to. They find that lifting the burden of managing IVR off their shoulders frees their schedule and allows them to focus on higher priority issues.

Infrastructure

I’d like you to share that last point I made—about priorities—with your company’s Chief IVR Engineer. What’s that: no such animal where you work? I didn’t think so. That’s the reality of an in-house infrastructure. IVR is just one thing that the IT team has to worry about. And—compared to analytics engines, transaction servers or storage systems—it’s not a first priority.

When your IVR is in the Cloud, it’s your provider’s only priority—it’s the only thing they manage. That doesn’t stop at round-the-clock monitoring. It extends to reliability. Our Cloud (as an example of best practices) is always fully redundant for each customer, with multiple IVRs located in geographically remote data centers to ensure uptime and prevent catastrophe. When an update is launched, it’s applied to your IVR instantly—whether it’s performance improvements or new features. That doesn’t often happen in-house, where an IVR refresh is rarely at the top of a support team’s priority list. And since I bring it up, support is better too (to begin with, its quality is enforced through an SLA). When there’s an issue that needs support you get to the right person the first time you call: no trouble ticket tango.

You Pay Less to Be in the Cloud

The Cloud is cheaper than on premise systems, both in terms of actual cost to implement and in terms of ongoing support. Everybody knows that. It’s not a lack of ROI that stops people from transitioning to Cloud IVR. It’s the other things I’ve mentioned—uncertainty about reliability, fear of losing control, anxiety about security—that hold people back. I haven’t tried to spell out the whole story here—that would be a good exploration in a major article not a blog post. Instead I wanted to make only the simplest of points.

People worry about the Cloud.

And they’re wrong.