Data, especially big data, is growing at a rapid pace. It has reached a stage where enterprises aren’t able to function without it. But the only drawback they face with these piles of data is the large storage spaces they take up. This means a lot more infrastructure (read servers, databases/data warehouses). With a cloud service provider, it’s no more a hassle as enterprises are beginning to see the brighter side of this technology and are steering away from on-premise facilities.
While a cloud solution comes with a package of benefits, migration is a difficult process. It is bound to give you many sleepless nights before your decision is proven right. So, determine why you want to move your contact center to the cloud.
Now, to help you trust your move, here are nine questions you should ask your cloud service provider. This doesn’t just help you make the right choice but will also leave you with the satisfaction and peace of having made a future-proof investment.
But first, who is a cloud service provider?
They offer network services, infrastructure or business applications on the cloud. These services have replaced hardware storage spaces and are hosted in a data center that can be accessed using the Internet.
1. Is this the right cloud solution?
With multiple cloud service vendors providing various service offerings, you have the liberty to ask them what applications are included in the entire 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. Therefore, investing in a complete package makes it easier for you during scaling.
2. How reliable is the cloud?
One of the major concerns of an on-premise solution is its budget restrictions to build a complete Disaster Recovery (DR) solution, be it at the application level or even when extending across geographies. This led to performance issues.
Today, every cloud service provider promises an ‘n’ number of uptimes and has a published uptime guarantee. While this may sound good, it can also be a blanket statement. It does not clearly explain if it is for all applications, or just for the critical ones. Also, what are the critical applications and why doesn’t the uptime guarantee work on the others? Ensure you break down these questions for better clarity.
3. Is it scalable on demand?
In the case of on-premise solutions, it isn’t easy to predict and adapt to spikes in call volumes. Hence, enterprises either have insufficient or underutilized resources. But with the cloud, scalability on demand is a unique feature that must be explored. It is important to question and understand the process, time and conditions that apply to providing this functionality. This will help enterprises prevent last minute peak call conundrums.
4. What is the vendor’s expertise?
The skill sets required for a vendor of specific solutions vs that of a cloud service provider are different. For that reason, you should inquire about the vendor’s expertise in management, security, integrations, references, and local regional experience to ensure that the solution works together and not just on specific applications.
5. What is their relationship with the OEM?
The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) platform is only as good as the expertise of the vendor handling the same. And it’s essential for you to know the relationship/partnership level the vendor shares with the parent OEM, the benefits, and the limitations.
6. Is the cloud customizable?
It is imperative to know if the cloud solution can be integrated with all your critical “cannot do away with” systems. It is at this stage you should question the options for customization, open APIs, standards tools and GUI.
7. Are cloud applications user-friendly?
Most on-premise solutions have separate interfaces for each application and the possibility of a combination of thick and thin clients. Check the ease of user interface; if it is a unified interface for all applications. This could thereby reduce your training costs and time. For example, a single sign-on option could make a distinct demarcation of access modes and privileges.
8. What is the cloud upgrade plan and how secure is it?
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. Another big concern for cloud solutions is about the security. So, clarify every doubt under the policies on customer information security, tenanting, transaction security, data protection, and security certifications that the solution claims to have.
9. Can cloud applications be automated?
Automation is playing a big role in the way enterprises operate. Even though it is still a new concept, it is no surprise that it can be used in cloud technology too. But there are detailed questions you could ask your cloud service provider on the applications that can be automated, level of outside automation allowed, what functions can be automated and more.
While migrating to the cloud saves on infrastructure acquisition and maintenance, it should be based on your enterprise's needs and not on outside pressures. And often it is questions that you fail to ask your vendors that can also lead to dissatisfaction and disgruntlement of your customers. Therefore, careful planning and due diligence must be done before making the jump.
Good luck on your cloud journey!
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