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Consumer demands for seamless contact across different customer touch points are challenging organisations to change, or be left to lag behind.   In fact, the solution requirements for omni-channel customer management will soon set a new benchmark. 

So says Paul Scott, Dimension Data’s Global Consulting Director, who believes many organisations have bowed to pressure to implement the fastest, lowest-cost multi-channel solutions.  Now, the cost of this approach has begun to bite, leaving them unable to support their customers’ future needs. 

According to Dimension Data’s 2013/14 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, fewer than one in five (19.6%) contact centre professionals believe that their multichannel routing application systems will be able to support their organisation’s future needs and growth in web chat, email and other real-time  alternatives to the phone. 

“Given the complexity of many legacy contact centre environments, we were not surprised that   integration, lack of flexibility and expensive upgrades are the top three most common problem areas identified by our annual contact centre survey participants as hindering their IT development,” says McNair.

Dimension Data surveyed 817 contact centres covering 11 business sectors in 79 countries across Asia Pacific, Australia, the Middle East & Africa, the Americas and Europe.

“Organisations have never before had so many technology challenges thrown at them – and the contact centre landscape is changing fast. Cloud based solutions could be the game changer and offer alternative purchasing options to IT solution design.  The research reveals that 65% of organisations already using hosted or cloud based technology solutions agree that this has provided access to new and enhanced functionality. Cloud was reported by 64.8% of the survey participants as having improved flexibility; and 77.6% agreed that it’s helped reduce cost-to-serve. 

“While the research findings present a compelling picture for new cloud solutions, the success of a technology initiative is often down to how it’s applied to the business issue, and how it’s been operationalised to ensure that the solution stays relevant to the business,” explains Scott.

“When moving to the cloud, it’s crucial to capture the operational delivery needs during the solution design phase – especially since 61.5% of the Benchmarking Report participants reported that IT architectures now form part of the wider enterprise infrastructure. This approach poses the risk that the contact centre’s interests may become more isolated as control is wrested elsewhere.

Already 40.3% (versus 30.4% in 2012) of respondents reported they have no, or only a limited involvement, in the design of business requirements for new technology solutions. For sourcing, as the enterprise-wide technology strategy’s become the norm, this figure is 48.0%.”

Scott reckons that the emergence of multichannel customer management is fuelling – and not curtailing – growth in the services sector. One in four (25.1%) participants said they expect to expand to a new facility, while 42.9% said they will be expanding within their existing facility.  “Organisations will need to develop solutions for omnichannel interactions that can be started on one channel can be continued on another. This isn’t a choice, but a necessity, and will further complicate contact centre challenges.  

“IT solutions, driven by the need for more dynamic commercial modelling and operational flexibility, will increasingly move to cloud.  Current users believe cloud is a real alternative to breaking down some of the traditional blockage points affecting contact centre technologies.  The big danger for now is non-action,” he concludes.

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