Whether you’re a technophile or a technophobe, you’re in the technology business when you have responsibility for running one or more contact centers. And yet centers large and small are commonly under-resourced for using and applying technology. Too often, they lack analysts with in-depth system knowledge, and then blame the technology, vendors, IT, and other staff for their disappointing (if not frustrating) experiences.
The business analyst/technology liaison is a key role we consider in our contact center organizational support model. They make routine configuration changes (e.g., skill changes, routing changes, IVR tweaks) and assist with configuration of eMail, QM, VoC, etc. They act as the vendor liaison to keep up on technology improvements and opportunities, and learn how to get additional value out of technology. They are also a liaison with IT, including those responsible for telecom, network, contact center and enterprise applications, working on planning, implementation, and support. They may also assist other support functions such as Reporting & Analytics, Process Optimization & KM, and Workforce Planning and Management.
One option for sourcing this internal role is to promote or assign from within, which delivers a nice career path but is also likely to require investment in training and ramp-up time. Hiring from the outside may provide a faster path to a skilled and educated resource, but they must learn the unique characteristics, applications, and workflows of the center. A third option is to procure external contractor(s) or service(s), providing flexibility in the level of internal staffing required.
Looking at external sourcing options, the first stop is the cloud. Cloud solutions appeal to lessen the burden on IT for both implementation and ongoing support. The vendor provides basic maintenance, monitoring, issue resolution, technical business continuity/disaster recovery, etc. If IT won’t or can’t provide enough resources, it bolsters the case for the cloud. However, it is only effective with the right statement of work (SOW) for implementation, service level agreements (SLAs) for support and performance, and strong vendor management throughout the relationship.
Managed services relieve the burden on both internal groups (IT and CC). The vendor not only manages the technology operation and health (wherever it resides—cloud or premise), they provide day-to-day support for business changes and optimization. Some models include a resource from the vendor reporting on site and truly getting to know the business and the overall environment that the technology is a part of (including integration with other enterprise systems, call flows and work flows, etc.). With the right SLAs and oversight, managed services can deliver a new level of responsiveness and focus to optimize use and application of technology to business needs.
Technology is a crucial element for meeting business goals while managing an efficient and effective operation. If you don’t have the right resources in place to get the most value out of that resource, consider your options for remedying that situation.