While only 16% of UK organisations have moved their contact centre-based communications software to the Cloud today, adoption is set to rise as manufacturers, retailers and district councils increasingly begin to set up facilities for the first time.
According to a survey among 100 chief executives in large businesses undertaken by Vanson Bourne on behalf of call centre communications software provider Interactive Intelligence, a further 22% planned to go down the Cloud route over the next 12 months. Another 25% intended to follow suit in the next five years, although 36% had no plans to ever make the move at all.
Richard Snow, vice president and head of contact centre research at Ventana Research, said: "We’re all used to ringing up banks and telcos, but increasingly people are also contacting retailers and manufacturers so they’re realising that they need to manage their ‘phone calls better."
Another place where adoption was growing was the public sector. "Contact centres already exist in county councils, but they’re also starting to become more prevalent in district and local councils too," Snow added.
The appeal of cloud services in this context was their "affordability and ease", he said. While such organisations could not necessarily justify the upfront costs of setting up a contact centre of between 25 and 50 seats using on-premise systems, Cloud offerings now made such a proposition cheaper and quicker.
But sectors such as financial services, retail and telecoms, which typically outsourced their large call centres to service providers or invested in on-premise equipment, were also intending to explore Cloud as an alternative when systems came to end-of-life.
"My feeling is that, because people typically write their investments off over a five and sometimes seven year period, it’s going to be that kind of length of time before they adopt," said Snow.
The most common inhibitors in moving to the Cloud, however, were security concerns (44%) and fears over lack of control (27%). Dave Paulding, Interactive Intelligence’s regional sales director for the UK, Middle East and Africa, said: "There are still fears about putting important customer data in a third party data centre and, for financial services and healthcare organisations, there are also legal regulations about handling that information, which is why there’s some pushback."
Other concerns related to the security of voice phone calls, with businesses worried that conversations would be monitored or eavesdropped upon, he added.