Voice over IP

Cloud-based Contact Center: Advantages & Limitations

When many things are moving to the Cloud, why not the Contact Center/Call Center? As you may know, Contact Centers nowadays are IP-based and hence can be hosted in the Public Cloud and accessed via the Internet, at times along with the Telephony Switch. While agents/management personnel access their dashboards via the browser (or through a desktop/phone client), customers just make a call or send a message to the company, as usual.

In this post, let us look at some advantages and limitations of Cloud-based Contact Centers/Call Centers.

Advantages of Cloud-based Contact Centers:

  1. Lower initial cost as there is no need to invest in hardware/software upfront. Also, no need to worry about obsolescence of purchased components.
  2. No. of in-house staff required to run/maintain the Contact Center solution is less, and hence there can be cost savings there too.
  3. No need to over-provision the system, unlike an on-premise system which needs to be, based on the projected growth. In the Cloud-based Contact Center, customers can buy as many licenses as required at that time, and plan to scale up as and when required.
  4. Scalability: It is possible to increase the no. of agents/licenses instantly, whenever you want and as much as you may want. One can also decrease the number of agents, instantly, often using a self-service portal. This is good for seasonal variations in business or temporary/part-time staff.
  5. Remote working/Working from home is possible for agents, supervisors, and managers as Contact Center management applications are web-based, and can be accessed from anywhere. Reports can be accessed from mobile devices.
  6. Relatively quick implementation.
  7. Cloud provider hosts and manages the Contact Center & Routing; and at times Communications/Telephony & Applications too. Hence, specialized staff for these functions may not be required on-premise.
  8. Cloud Contact Center providers often guarantee availability; hence availability maybe better than Customer-hosted Contact Center solutions.
  9. Self-service portals are generally available to customers for scaling up/down and managing functions like routing, etc.
  10. Providers offer role-based access to managing Contact Center functions in the Cloud, for better accountability.
  11. Since Data Centers have dedicated staff for security and since they are compliant with major standards like HIPAA, PCI, SOC, etc. they claim that security is better than on-premise solutions.
  12. Applications, even if hosted on-premises, can integrate with Cloud-based Contact Centers through APIs.
  13. Adding Multi-tenancy and Multi-channel capabilities maybe easier with Cloud-based Contact centers as they are web-services based.
  14. Adding new channels in the future like social media, video calling, etc. is easier with Cloud-based Contact Centers.
  15. Calls can be allotted and recorded even if agents work from home.
  16. Upgradations are faster and less expensive.
  17. Hybrid implementations where Contact Center solution is hosted in the cloud and Telephony/Applications are hosted on-premises is possible with some vendors. Other vendors offer Private Cloud burstable to Public Cloud sort of implementations.

Limitations of Cloud-based Contact Centers:

  1. Although upgradations/adding new features are easier and quicker with Cloud-based Contact Center, they often come with extra cost/premium licenses.
  2. The Total Cost of Operations after 4-5 years is similar for both on-premise and Cloud-based Contact Center, in spite of the latter having no upfront equipment/software costs.
  3. Investments in existing Contact Center/Telephony Switches may have to be discarded if a company decides to switch over to Cloud-based Contact Center.
  4. Voice quality depends on the speed and quality of Internet connection. This is all the more applicable to agents working from home using low-speed/broadband connections.
  5. Disaster Recovery/Backup may not be under the direct control of the customer.
  6. Security level depends on the provider – both for the data and apps stored in the data center; and for the data/voice moving in and out of the data center from the customer/company. Customized security settings may not be available with all cloud providers.
  7. Data may be stolen when agents/supervisors are working from remote locations. There is a chance that third-party phishing/malware apps may be listening or stealing customer data without the knowledge of the agents, when they work using their personal computers.
  8. No dedicated/On-Site support to rely on during emergencies.
  9. Single Vendor Lock-in: Chances that you may have to buy all components and future upgrades from the same Cloud vendor is very high. That will limit your negotiation capabilities later on.
  10. Your ability to mix and match different components from different vendors based on your requirements/their strengths is limited to what is supported by the Cloud vendor, or outright impossible.
  11. Not all applications can be integrated with the Cloud-based Contact Center, especially custom applications developed in-house. Cloud providers can integrate their Contact Center solution only with standard applications, and the level of integration depends on their capability.


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