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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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News & Articles

July 6, 2021 |

Contact Centers Go Cloud

Cloud-based contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) solutions are an appealing option for SMBs and a potential opportunity for channel pros.

THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC has underscored the value of basing contact center solutions in the cloud, where employees can access them at the office, from home, and anywhere else that’s needed.

When COVID-19 sent employees home and consumers online in early 2020, most large organizations had already transitioned to a contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) model, which is rapidly emerging as the next generation of customer support technology. Indeed, Gartner forecasts a 29% compound annual growth rate through 2024 for CCaaS, which already accounts for 90% of new contact center deployments, according to Steve Blood, a Gartner vice president and analyst.

Many small and medium-size businesses continue to struggle with legacy technology, however, which spells opportunity for channel pros. “”Premises-based contact center technologies were designed to work in the office, on the company network. It is much more difficult, and in some cases too difficult, to use this technology to work at home,”” explains Blood. As a result, SMBs have limited flexibility, scalability, and resiliency, which drives up their costs too.

CCaaS can help SMBs level the playing field with larger competitors. The cloud-based framework makes it easier to connect a workforce across various geographic locations, Blood notes, while rich APIs and SDKs add the flexibility to connect unified communications, CRM, service desk, and other third-party applications. Sophisticated real-time capabilities that improve customer support include CRM hand-off features, call recording, text and social media integration, and the ability to use chatbots and other AI tools.

Chris Nicoli

“”It greatly reduces the complexity of managing all the functions related to a center,”” says Chris Nicoli, president of Teltek Systems, a Westminster, Md., provider of telecom and CCaaS solutions.

And because the architecture for CCaaS is very similar to that of video meeting platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Cisco WebEx, customer service organizations can get their staff up and running on cloud platforms very quickly, Blood points out.

The OPEX pay-as-you-go model is attractive to many firms too, Nicoli says. It virtually eliminates technology upgrades and obsolescence, and allows SMBs to enter the space with a smaller up-front investment.

Moreover, the flexibility of CCaaS not only improves relationships between businesses and their customers, but allows companies to attract and retain better employees, Nicoli says. “”Companies can hire from anywhere and have workers anywhere. It changes the dynamics of how they operate a contact center.””

Putting CCaaS to Work

Not all CCaaS offerings are created equal, of course, so channel pros must be equipped to guide customers through the space, which can be complex and confusing, Nicoli says. “”You must understand what vendors offer, how to set up a call center, and how to match technologies with workflows,”” he explains. For example, a company might benefit by integrating and connecting various third-party offerings to enable certain types of workflows that the cloud contact center alone does not deliver.

Additionally, channel pros should investigate what service-level uptime the vendor promises and what recourse users have if and when there’s a disruption. This can be a disadvantage of CCaaS and a cause of concern for SMBs.

Finally, scrutinize the vendor’s business model before signing anything, Blood advises. “”Some offer a finder’s fee where partners receive a commission for introducing a new customer. This isn’t a good relationship. A true partner relationship will enable the channel partner to own the service proposition, sharing the monthly revenue with the CCaaS provider,”” he says.

Image: iStock

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