The old gatekeepers are stumbling. The momentum behind the change to the Cloud has caught them off-guard. That’s not to say that the Cloud is the right solution to every problem, but it is increasingly a solution for call centers that must decide how to allocate their resources in the future. Having said that, decision-makers must weight the advantages and disadvantages of Cloud-based contact centers and on-premise solutions.
On-premise call center software has been the default solution for years. It certainly does have its advantages. For organizations with an experienced and equipped IT department, the ability to manage the hardware and software directly can be a distinct asset. In cases where users are all in or near a central location, the proximity of the hardware to the users can mitigate issues with network connectivity and latency, which can eliminate some problems with voice quality. Finally, it’s easier to take an on-premise solution and combine it with other on-premise resources. These could include local storage, legacy systems, or solutions that require a direct connection to the hardware or network, such as Orecx.
If on-premise has these advantages, then there must be some disadvantages, too, otherwise the Cloud wouldn’t be getting such traction. It turns out there are:
- High initial cost. Hardware and software must be paid for up front, while many jurisdictions require the costs be amortized over a period of time. This is especially painful if the capacity is only required for certain periods, requiring you to have excess capacity sitting idle the rest of the time.
- Responsible for failing hardware/software. When hardware fails, as it does, you will be responsible for fixing/replacing the hardware, at your expense.
- Managing old hardware. As systems age, they are no longer able to keep up with performance and reliability standards. The hardware must be replaced. Once it is, disposal or recycling is your responsibility.
- Maintaining server room. In addition to the space required, cooling and power must be supplied in sufficient quantities.
- Managing power/cabling, other IT overhead. This is not usually an expense, but an additional headache that your IT staff must cope with from time to time as hardware is moved into and out of the server room.
Now the picture is getting a little clearer. Next time we’ll examine the Cloud in the same manner.