We are pleased to present this helpful article provided by our partners at 8×8.
Business cases are a vast, complex undertaking, but they all start with preparation. Like any team sport, good practice typically leads to a winning outcome. The same applies to building a business case for investing in cloud communications. To help you get started, here are five topics to consider when creating a business case for cloud communications that will win the day with your CFO:
1. Improve the customer experience.
Improving the customer experience starts with one of those assumptions: that you understand what the experience is today. Do you have visibility into all the communication touchpoints and the customer experience at each one? Can you quantify the impact of improving their experience? The research consistently shows that improving the experience has a positive effect—but, by how much? This is where the details underpinning the business case can get fuzzy.
Here are a few questions to consider when thinking through this topic:
- Would providing instant visibility of a complete staff directory help contact center agents to increase call handling capacity and reduce wait times without adding more staff?
- Does customer sentiment analysis across all the contact center calls enhance the experience and lower costs by focusing resources on those topics that deliver outcomes most relevant to customers?
- What value is added by instant IT resource utilization reports with crucial metrics?
- Can specific and relevant agent coaching using annotated recordings from their calls impact the customer experience?
- Would analytics and reporting that support balancing resources with activity levels drive efficiency gains, cost improvements, and enhanced customer experiences?
- What is the impact of automating high volume, routine calls?
2. Simplify management.
Often, organizations use multiple communication systems and related applications to provide staff with all the tools they need to engage customers and collaborate with colleagues. Managing this portfolio consumes much staff and IT team time, as people need to learn, stay current on, use, and maintain these systems. Could consolidating those applications to a single app be impactful? Additionally, a SaaS application should not require extensive training before users can start using it. Here are some considerations for these deployment, training, and adoption topics:
- Can existing phones be used, or are new desk phones required?
- Are softphones with a mobile app eliminating the need for physical phones?
- Can staff safely and securely use their mobile devices?
- How much time needs to be invested into onboarding new users?
- What’s the expected impact on the IT help desk to roll out the new cloud communications apps?
- Would a single application reduce the demands on IT staff?
- Would having one application that includes all communications channels increase staff productivity?
- Could consolidation of those individual subscriptions to a single subscription save costs?
3. Enable the transition to a “work anywhere” experience.
Recent research confirms that organizations are implementing hybrid workplace models. Organizations should look for solutions that work on any device with a consistent experience across softphone, PC/Mac, iOS and Android mobile applications, and IP handsets. These applications must also be able to work over both secure internet, public internet, home broadband, 3G, 4G, and 5G, as well as make use of mobile minutes for staff working in rural areas. Include an assessment of:
- What is the impact of adding cloud communications to the network? Will this over-the-top (OTT) service require additional network capacity?
- What’s the current video meetings solution that enables staff to engage with customers and other employees quickly? Can they do so spontaneously?
- What messaging capabilities are in place today to support digital channels, and how can they deliver better customer experiences?
- Can all staff work remotely, if needed, using their devices, yet always present their professional phone number?
- What impact would that have on staff productivity?
- How are communications for common areas handled today?
- Is international calling needed for each role?
- How long will you need to run both systems in parallel to enable a smooth transition
- What are those “overlap” costs?
4. Integrate with critical ICT platforms.
Many organizations effectively leveraged Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams to adjust to remote working quickly. However, using Teams also requires additional capabilities to collaborate with external parties, such as customers and business partners. Switchboard, contact center, and external digital communication channels, such as SMS and chat apps, should easily integrate with Microsoft Teams to ensure that it remains at the center of collaboration. Note that all integrations are not equal. For example, using a cloud-to-cloud integration with Microsoft should be favored over more basic direct routing, where traditional SIP trunking and potentially onpremises SBC’s would be required.
- What are your licensing costs to provide voiceservices for Microsoft Teams users?
- What are the cost implications of being able to use a Microsoft Teams certified integration partner?
- Would a platform with the ability to include both business communications and a contact center in a single integration save time and money from the outset?
5. Deliver a single security model.
Cloud communications platform providers must evidence Tier 1 data centers (more than one) where geographically redundant data traffic routing provides at least 99.999% uptime as part of a contractual SLA for business communications and contact center. Call quality SLAs must offer MOS levels of 3.0 or greater. Of course, security compliance and accreditations must be in place to ensure compliance with local and regional regulations around data privacy and security.
- What’s the cost of having to conduct multiple security audits to cover different applications?
- Does managing the security and complianc of a single provider deliver cost savings vs. managing multiple suppliers?
Many of the questions in these topic areas are often left out, or not given sufficient attention, as part of the evaluation. The result is a business case that only looks at infrastructure and related costs. There are also additional topics that may be relevant, depending on the ICT maturity of an organization, that include:
- Activity and Service Level Agreement implications
- Physical handset rationalization
- Environmental Impact
Going through the thought process ensures that you will produce a comprehensive evaluation of your current communications situation. In addition, it will give you confidence that regardless of the specific number, the business case decision has a solid analytical foundation.
We’ve called out 25 possible questions in these five areas. They are not exhaustive, but illustrative. It’s a large number of topics to consider. Business cases can be excruciatingly detailed, often with little incremental value. However, as long as the key areas are covered, the result is usually a directionally correct recommendation. That said, no one will typically go back and check on how you did anyway, especially if the solution is working well. Consolidated Technologies, Inc. will partner with you and leverage our experience and expertise from working with organizations of all sizes globally to create the appropriate evaluation and business case.