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Why Contact Center Operations Can’t Be Ahead of the Curve

Isn’t it great to have a plan? Or a roadmap, even – or maybe a long-term strategy. Plans are great, aren’t they? Plotting where you are, where you are going – how you are going to get there. Then again, there’s all the little things that want to get in your way. The fire-fighting and the tactical moves, the forced upgrades and expansions, the jostling of priorities and deliverables – and the politics. Actually, come to think of it, plans are probably not all *that* great… if they’re not flexible. They’re also not all that good, if you’re into technologies and you ignore Moore’s Law.

What’s that..? Good question..!

The abridged version of Moore’s Law (c.1965) comes out as a short equation which shows the rate of progress for almost any component technology doubles every 2 years. Two times faster, smaller, lighter, more expansive, denser… you get the idea. The point is – if your IT or Contact Center strategic plans or roadmap extends beyond 2 years – well, you can see the point. And it’s not just Moore’s Law that can affect plans – it’s the whole technology landscape, too. Add to that, in the Contact Center sense, that new technologies will bring new methods of communicating – it makes the whole thing a bit of a melting pot, really.

Thinking back 20 or so years; how much easier it was to plan strategies within a Contact Center – it was “just” Voice. Combining strategies with IT was a match made in heaven. Just Inbound – Outbound – and perhaps an IVR. Bliss! But then came email …and sms …and web chat …and social media …and SIP …and video conferencing …and smartphones …and IaaS/SaaS/Cloud Services …and Virtual Services …and IoT …and Big Data… and… whatever next.

The point here is that Moore’s Law appears to be working harder and faster in telecommunications than it is in IT – through innovations and collaborations. As PBX/T1/E1 traditional telephony began to crumble under SIP, the barriers between telco and IT were torn down, paving the way for myriad Channels and Interactions. Almost like a flood of new information coming in from all sides. Of course, IT *can* keep up with Moore’s Law – all it has to do is “Provide”. Contact Centers, on the other hand, have to consider what will happen in those emerging Channels and Interactions – what to do with it all – and that is an entirely different proposition.

Here’s a refreshing thought for you – IT and Contact Center Operations are *not the same thing*. Shocking, isn’t it? But many people tend to blur that line. On the one hand you have an IT Service Provider, happy to supply a supporting Architecture, SOA Back-plane and Teraflops of data storage to a Service Company’s Contact Center infrastructure. But there is a massive divide between what IT can supply today – and what Contact Centers need, tomorrow. The speed at which the telecommunications landscape is moving (and don’t just think “voice” – think about every type of interaction) and the lurching, lumbering change processes which exist in IT are poles apart.

Of course, the blasé answer is to become “Agile”. But what does that actually mean, in terms of turnaround? To adopt an Agile approach means reacting to almost immediate requirements – and making sure you don’t make a mess of everything else. But there’s no strategic plan – it just… happens. Actually that’s not quite true. By creating small steps to expand technologies through an Agile approach, you are heading in the right direction. And, if you’re doing it right, then you will have IT by your side, rather than running after you!

Needless to note, if you partner with the right services organization and you take it one step at a time – you can make sure everyone is on the bus – and maybe beat Moore’s Law, too!