In the first two installments of this series, we discussed myths that are used to dissuade companies from choosing cloud-based communications solutions. In the first blog we discussed the differences between public and private clouds and whether a cloud solution means a forklift upgrade. The second installment challenged myths related to security and reliability in the cloud. In this final piece, we look at whether cloud solutions imply a lack of control over company data and an inability to integrate with other installed applications.
With Cloud Solutions, Companies Lose Control
A commonly heard argument against choosing cloud-based communications services is that companies lose control of their operations – that they are at the mercy of the application provider for everything, from making day-to-day changes to configurations to an inability to control access to company data.
The first of these arguments could not be less true. One of the key advantages of cloud-based applications is the robust interfaces developed by providers to put control over day-to-day operations into the hands of functional managers. In fact, in discussions with companies that have “crossed the cloud chasm,” an oft-cited plus is the fact that required changes can be made without the need to involve IT management. When it comes to contact centers, this equates to giving supervisors and managers the ability to more closely manage their own centers – an advantage, not a detriment.
As for a loss of control over sensitive company data, most of the cloud-based contact center applications I am familiar with allow data, such as that used to pop screens for agents, to continue to reside in company databases on customer premises.
Cloud Applications Are Difficult to Integrate
Similar to the myth of lack of control, difficulty with integration is another “red herring” myth. I’ve been in technology long enough to remember the nightmare of protocol conversion that kept many IT efforts from being successful in the 80s and 90s. However attempting to compare those experiences to the cloud world of today is absurd.
In fact, it’s the currently deployed premises-based contact center solutions that require complex and expensive CTI integration. By comparison, the cloud-based applications of today were typically built using the latest web services technology, making them easier – not more difficult – to integrate with both premises-based and other cloud applications.
The Mythical Cloud
Over the past few weeks in three blogs we’ve explored different myths that are used to deter companies from thoughtfully considering whether a move to cloud-based communications applications makes sense for their business. Is the cloud right for every company for every application? Even the most pro-cloud among us would hesitate to answer that question in the affirmative.
But as companies struggle to better address consumer demands for better mobile access to customer care and improved social media communications with companies, there is a certain logic to believing that the cloud will be an important part of the answer.
Sheila McGee-Smith, the founder of McGee-Smith Analytics, is a leading communications industry analyst and strategic consultant focused on the contact center and enterprise communications markets. Her views on the market can also be found in her weekly blog on No Jitter and in real-time on Twitter @mcgeesmith.