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Jed HewsonJed Hewson

There has always been confusion surrounding the cloud, and its costcutting abilities, particularly in call centers.

A lot of providers pitch the cloud as being exactly the same product as on-premise, but for a fraction of the price. Although the cloud does reduce costs – and in some instances, dramatically so – it’s not as easy as simply plugging in the solution and cutting costs. There are expertise and investments involved.

The real business benefit of the cloud lies in its ability to provide scalability and flexibility. In the call center industry, the cloud provides the ability to adapt and scale up or down according to the demand. Because it’s a pay-per-use product, it allows them to respond to changes in the marketplace very quickly. It’s meant to cut costs – but that does not mean it is a cheap solution.

There are plenty of cloudbased products available online (some of which are free), but a true hosted solution should always include a component of service and full technical support. It’s particularly important in South Africa, where IT skills in the call center space are in short supply. If you start cutting away the service component to lower your costs, you are stripping away the most important element of the hosted platform. Even the best system that money can buy will experience problems. If something goes wrong, your hosted provider’s support is the one thing that will ensure that your call center stays up and running.

It’s tempting for small companies with a constrained budget to leap at the chance to get cloudware solutions at a very low price, but not if there is a trade-off between service and cost. Hosted solutions should be packaged with both technology and a full service element, and companies should be able to take full advantage of that service element at any time. Trying to cut costs to the bone will end up causing more harm than good for the industry as a whole, not to mention the individual call centers that might have nowhere to turn if their technology falls short for any reason.

About the author: , director of 1Stream