Changes to the economy, environment, laws and regulations, the world around us, views on work/life balance, and technology can all quickly impact business continuity. How contact center managers deal with these changes goes a long way towards supporting business continuity – essentially a company’s ability to deal with contextual changes and threats to the business.
Organizations that create processes for dealing with unplanned events rather than trying to manage each issue as it arises, stand to enjoy competitive advantages over those that are not built to adapt to their dynamic surroundings.
Contact centers play a key role in supporting customers as it is often the first line of defense. And in uncertain times, it’s vital contact centers have the ability to connect with customers without disruption. Fortunately, moving the contact center to the cloud can help organizations prepare for any eventuality.
Business continuity versus disaster recovery
The terms disaster recovery and business continuity are often used interchangeably. Although they are closely related, there is a distinct difference between the two.
Disaster recovery is more reactive and refers to having a plan in place for when things go wrong. Business continuity, on the other hand, involves making preparations to ensure a business continues to operate efficiently in the face of adversity.
In times of uncertainty, organizations of all sizes need to be more proactive to minimize risk. To this regard, the qualities of accessibility, flexibility, and scalability provided by cloud computing make planning for business continuity a whole lot easier.
Business continuity through cloud scalability and elasticity
In IT, capacity planning is the process of estimating the demand for hardware, software and connection resources over a specific amount of time.
Because cloud computing is an on-demand solution, businesses don’t need to take the risk of investing in expensive infrastructure to meet estimated demand. Instead, companies pay service providers as they go solely for the resources they use.
When you’re unsure in which direction the economy is heading or there are changes in the world around us, this ability to scale your contact center capacity up or down could prove invaluable.
For instance, if your company has the potential for future growth or needs at certain times, having cloud scalability means your contact center can be built up from a smaller core as demand increases. Equally, if your business hits hard times, cloud elasticity provides the means to scale down your capacity cost-effectively.
Unlike with traditional on-premises contact center technology, cloud solutions can easily scale with the elasticity that variations in demand require. When external factors make this necessary, contact center managers can easily adjust resources as and when required.
In the event of an emergency, inbound calls to the contact center could even be instantly rerouted to be answered by a custom made, AI-powered agent. This could enable the contact center to handle multiple calls simultaneously, easily managing any volume, even during large spikes.
Business continuity through working flexibility
There is strong evidence that allowing employees to work from home boosts productivity and loyalty. Added to that, unplanned events such as heavy snow, extended power outages and health concerns can impact an employee’s ability to get to their usual place of work.
Every organization needs to consider how it will operate if its employees need to work remotely. With cloud contact center technology, this is easily enabled since agents and managers can connect from any location with internet access. A real-time window into the entire operation means agents can be easily managed, service levels are assured anywhere in the world, the company is always using the latest version of the software and employees have full access to data for easy report generation.
As well as enabling business continuity and giving agents the flexibility of working from home, on-the-go or from multiple sites, it means contact center managers have the option of hiring from a wider talent pool.
This can lead to happier, more productive employees and a team that’s more flexible and scalable.
Business continuity and security
Due to the sheer volume of data flowing within and between organizations, businesses need to be fully aware of their responsibilities towards data storage compliance. To manage the growing complexity of data security in today’s information economy, several protection laws have either recently come into effect or will do so over the next couple of years. It’s your responsibility to ensure the cloud provider you choose is compliant and prepared for any changes to international privacy laws.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May 2018, is intended to strengthen and unify data protection for individuals within the European Union. Meanwhile, Privacy Shield, which was adapted in July 2016, is a framework for transferring personal data from the European Union to the United States.
Under these laws, organizations are fully accountable and responsible for the data they store. When moving your company to the cloud to take advantage of the business continuity-related benefits, this means you also need to make sure you are fully prepared for changes to international privacy laws.
It’s crucial that businesses understand the damage that failing to plan for disaster can have. In an age of uncertainty, taking your business continuity to the cloud can help ease disruptions caused by unplanned events.
Looking for a cloud-based contact center? Reach out to Vonage to learn how our technology can help.