Signs You Need to Move WFM to the Cloud

Remember when Friday night almost always entailed heading to Blockbuster to pick out that weekend's movies? While certainly a firestorm of circumstances led to Blockbuster's demise, some of the conditions that led to its downfall were predictable: an unstable business model based on late return fees, changing customer interests and of course evolving technology.

Netflix, on the other hand, was just a fledgling DVD-by-mail company when those changes started to have a big impact on Blockbuster's revenue. After careful deliberation and several starts and failures, Netflix made the decision to enter the video streaming market in 2007, using still-brand-new streaming technology that would grow to dominate the home video market.

Netflix didn't stop there: Five years later, it moved all of its corporate operations to the cloud. The migration allowed the company – which has been called a top cloud innovator by Fortune magazine -- to expand video services to more than 130 new countries by tapping several AWS cloud regions and strengthening its worldwide infrastructure. The cloud also enabled Netflix to increase its service availability, a company executive told Computer Business Review.

"Cloud-first strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast-paced world," says Ed Anderson, research vice president at Gartner. "The market for cloud services has grown to such an extent that it is now a notable percentage of total IT spending, helping to create a new generation of start-ups and 'born in the cloud' providers."

Across industries, Gartner estimates that $1 trillion will be spent directly or indirectly on the shift to cloud computing by 2020. And within organizations, contact centers are moving to the cloud in increased numbers.  A recent survey by NICE of 500 contact centers of all sizes found that nearly 15 percent already use cloud-based WFM software, with another 22 percent stating they planned to move to a cloud-based solution within 6 to 24 months. The trend is clear: Large innovative contact centers are making the switch, but the cloud can also offer values to small contact centers, such as lower upfront and operational costs, and increased efficiency and flexibility.

Benefits of moving to the cloud

​A move to the cloud should be done at the right time for your business and with a clear plan that is suited to your investment level, technology stack and business goals. A few signs can help you determine whether moving your workforce management operations to the cloud is right for your contact center. 

  • You need to share data between multiple systems.
  • Manual data entry and data correlation eat up your workforce's productivity. Cloud-based tools offer APIs that connect your WFM solution to other applications in your organization, eliminating human error and freeing staff to spend more time on higher-value tasks.

  • ​Your employees work from home or in multiple locations.

    More than 40 percent of contact centers use homeworking. One of the key benefits of the cloud is that it can be accessed anytime, anywhere. It's ideal for work-from-home employees, multi-site operations that need to maintain shared standards and outsourced centers that report to far-off organizations.

  • ​​​ You want to minimize up-front and ongoing maintenance costs. 

    A cloud-based WFM solution saves money: When organizations using NICE WFM move to the cloud, they save 30 to 60 percent. Any Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculation that you use to compare on-premise WFM vs. cloud WFM must include maintenance costs in addition to up-front investment. One of the cloud's greatest benefits is that you don't have to make a costly capital investment or invest in additional IT staff for maintenance in addition to the actual cost of the maintenance itself – and maintenance doesn't come cheap: It's estimated that 80 percent of IT spending is on maintenance. With cloud-based WFM, upgrades can be automated, minimizing downtime and allowing your workforce to be more productive.

  • ​Your contact center needs increased flexibility.
  • As the modern contact center environment continues to evolve, workforce management must be able to respond agilely to immediate business goals. Cloud-based solutions are highly scalable: They can grow expand or scale down based on traffic, staffing and even robotization support.  Think of it like renting a home – if you need a larger or smaller rental space, you can move as needed. As your contact center's needs grow or shrink seasonally, cloud-based WFM can shift, too, allowing you to scale effectively in response to business needs.

The cloud offers a host of new opportunities for contact centers. Consider whether your organization's workforce management solution can benefit from increased efficiency and flexibility and lower upfront and operational costs to determine whether a move to the cloud is right for you.

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