Paul Stockford, Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research
3 minute read
By Paul Stockford, Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research
Posted in Customer Engagement
There's nothing particularly new about moving the contact center to the cloud in 2019. We've all heard the reasons why the move to the cloud is the right thing to do and, in some cases, we've heard the counter-arguments for keeping the contact center on good ol' terra firma.
The contact center cloud migration is a study in steady growth, with about half the North American market in the cloud following a steady upward trend over the past five years. Cloud migration is one of the market trends we've been tracking in our annual survey of contact center professionals, which Saddletree Research conducts each year in conjunction with the not-for-profit National Association of Call Centers (NACC).
We first asked our research participants about their cloud presence during our 2012 survey, the results of which were published in early 2013. At that time, we found only 9.2 percent of the market had any sort of cloud presence, hybrid or otherwise. Five percent of the market planned to make some sort of move to the cloud in 2014. Twenty-eight percent of our respondents waffled when it came to the cloud. They weren't in it, didn't have any solid plans to move to the cloud, but didn't rule out a move to the cloud at some point. The remaining 57.5 percent stated that they had no intention of ever moving to the cloud.
Fast forward to our 2019 survey of contact center professionals and the results of our survey question about cloud presence yielded the responses in Figure 1 below. Last year's results are also presented in this graph to provide some perspective on cloud migration growth.
Figure 1: Contact Center Cloud Presence: 2019
Source: Saddletree Research
What I found most interesting in comparing 2012 to 2019 is the percentage of the market with nothing in the cloud. Those who stated their intention to move to the cloud in the future, or were unsure about the move to the cloud back in 2012, seem to have made the move over the past seven years. The percentage of contact centers with no cloud presence has only changed by about ten percent -- a relatively insignificant change.
We were interested in better understanding the factors that are driving cloud growth, and what factors are preventing cloud migration -- so we asked. The overwhelming factor preventing the move to the contact center cloud, cited by 61.3 percent of our research participants, was security issues. While trepidation regarding data in the cloud is understandable, it is also important to remember that the most popular CRM software solutions are cloud products. I find some irony in the likelihood that many who object to the cloud contact center due to security concerns are probably already in the cloud with their CRM solution.
We also asked our research participants who were already in the cloud what motivated them to move their contact center to the cloud in the first place. We were expecting to hear the standard reasons touted by most vendors; e.g., cost savings, automatic upgrades, and ease of implementation. Instead, what we found was that practicality ruled the cloud decision process -- 77.2 percent of those in the cloud cited disaster recovery as their primary reason for moving to the cloud.
Disaster recovery is a challenge that is as old as the contact center industry itself, and the industry has answered the challenge over the years with solutions such as disk mirroring, failover servers, and offsite mainframes that could be loaded with backup tapes. Today, disaster recovery is inherent in the cloud as data can reside in servers at any location in the network and Recovery as a Service (RaaS) offers a strategy for securely storing and maintaining copies of records in a cloud-computing environment for rapid disaster recovery.
The contact center industry has always been an industry of practicality, mostly out of necessity. That hasn't changed and likely will not change in the future. As the contact center industry continues its inevitable migration to the cloud, practicality will continue to be an important driving factor.
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