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1, July 2016

9 questions to ask before you sign that deal with your cloud service provider

So, after a lot of deliberation, research, and analysis, you have finally decided to move your contact center from your premises to the unknown (read: cloud)

Congratulations. The cloud solution indeed comes with a package of benefits. But it is bound to give you many a sleepless night before your decision is proven right

If you are finding it hard to trust the unseen, here are 9 pointers to help you make the right choice that will leave you with the satisfaction and peace of having made a future-proof investment.

1. What does the cloud solution entail?

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We have all been there and done that – caught in the perils of having multiple applications from multiple vendors., that is. In this age where customer interactions claim to be omnichannel – one step ahead of mere multichannel communication – have you pondered as to why it is hard to succeed in reality? With multiple platforms, multiple data sources, multiple integration mechanisms, disparate systems, it is quite difficult to build a seamless customer journey. With multiple cloud solution providers providing various options, now you have the choice to ask them

With multiple cloud solution providers providing various options, now you have the choice to ask them what applications entail the complete package; if they are modular by design and if those applications are relevant to your business. Surely, not all enterprises need a video solution but a chat solution is an unspoken mandate for certain industries today. A complete package makes it easier for you.

 2. How reliable is the solution?

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One of the major concerns of an on-premise solution was budget restrictions to build a complete DR solution, be it at the application level or even extending across geographies. This led to performance issues. Today, every cloud solution provider promises a certain ‘n’ number of nines uptime and has a published uptime guarantee. While that sounds good, it can also be a blanket statement. It does not clearly explain if it is so for all applications, and if not, if it is for the critical applications. Also, what are those critical applications and how is it for not so critical applications? Please ensure you break down questions for better clarity

3. How quickly can the solution scale?

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It was either insufficient or underutilized resources. In the case of on- premise solutions, we did not have a choice since we would not be able to predict and adapt to changing call volumes. But with the cloud, scalability on demand is a unique feature that must be explored. It is important to ask the process, time and conditions that apply for providing scalability on demand clearly to ensure we don’t run into last minute peak call conundrums.

4. Who is the vendor?

The skill set for being a vendor on specific solutions vs the skill-sets for being a cloud solution provider is different. It is thus important to ask about vendor’s expertise in management, security, integrations, references, local regional experience that ensures that the solution works together and not just specific applications

5. What is the vendor’s relationship with the OEM?

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The OEM platform is only as good as the expertise of the vendor handling the same. It is thus important to know the tier of partnership, the benefits, and limitations enjoyed by the vendor with the parent OEM

6. How customizable is the solution?

It is extremely imperative to know if the new cloud solution can integrate with some of your “cannot do away with” systems. Questions on options for customization, open APIs, standards tools and GUI arises at this stage.

7. How friendly are the user interfaces?

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Another aspect common to on-premise solutions is that there are separate interfaces for each application and the possibility of a combination of thick and thin clients. It is important to check the ease of user interface, check if it is a unified interface for all application thereby reducing your training costs and time; if there is a single sign-on option, clear understanding of access modes and privileges.

8. Is there a defined path for migrations and upgrades?

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One direct question would be to check if there is a well-defined path for migrations and upgrades, else your customers might be in for a rude downtime shock

9. How secure is the solution?

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The biggest concern when it comes to cloud solutions is about security. And it is indeed a valid concern. Make sure you check every doubt under policies on customer information security, tenanting, transaction security, data protection, and security certifications that the solutions claim to have

It is often questions that you fail to ask your vendors that lead to dissatisfaction and disgruntlement of your customers. Open discussions often open doors to clarity and a solution well defined with assumptions and dependencies well called up, responsibilities well defined and a service guaranteed to satisfy your customer.

Good luck on your cloud journey!


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