Opening the aperture to combine cloud, data and automation strategies into a plan provides a crucial competitive advantage in today’s dynamic landscape.

[Image: Lumensoft Technologies for Unsplash]

By Jennifer Lee, chief strategy officer, and Paul Milloy, RP Director at Intradiem


nlike many other business functions, call centres have been

notoriously slow to move to the cloud. Complex and expensive technical infrastructures, as well as concerns about data privacy and control, have caused call-centre leaders to be (understandably) wary of full-scale cloud migrations. However, 2020’s rapid shift to remote work has forced leaders to rethink these views, and the shift to the cloud is officially on for the call-centre industry. As leaders outline their vision and plans for migration, there are two important pieces that cannot be overlooked: the data and automation strategies. The move to the cloud presents a unique moment in time, when organisations can gain significant competitive advantages by structuring their data and expanding automation capabilities within their technology portfolio. With “hyperautomation” – a term that first appeared in 2019 in Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020 list – Gartner predicts that organisations will reduce operational costs by 30% by combining hyper-automation technologies with redesigned operational processes by 2024. If your data and automation strategies are an afterthought to your cloud migration plans, you risk getting left behind. So how do you take the lead?


DATA STRATEGY A sound data strategy begins with data ownership – which starts with a thorough review of contract language to ensure your organisation owns its own data. Teams need to take the time necessary to set up a proper data architecture, to identify important customer data and how to best link it to business applications. Then, they can decide whether upgrades are needed to the infrastructure or any business application. A central warehousing system that serves as a hub for data to live and be accessed for analysis and business intelligence needs to be set up. Next, begin to proactively think about how your organisation can use data to uncover actionable insights to improve customer service and streamline operations. Translating your data strategy directly into your automation initiatives is the right order of operations to achieve real results.

HYPERAUTOMATION According to Gartner, hyper-automation is the orchestrated use of multiple tools and platforms inclusive of but not limited to AI, machine learning, event-driven software architecture, RPA, platform service software, decision process and/or task automation tools. Weaving this strategy into all aspects of your operations allows you to optimise service delivery models by building

better customer relationships, predicting needs and automating real-time actions like making payments and scheduling appointments. Deploying strategic hyperautomation allows call centres to leverage their data to operate flexibly, at scale and on an enterprise level. Many executives realise that automation is here to stay, but there’s a lot to be learned about how AI technologies can be applied to solve unique business problems, and knowing where to start can seem daunting. At times, AI, machine learning and other hyper-automation can seem like solutions searching for problems to solve. To ensure higher success rates with automation initiatives, call-centre leaders are wise to leverage technologies that have been purpose-built for their unique environments.

STRATEGIES Organisations that had a head start leveraging data, automation and cloud strategies for business continuity were successfully prepared for a disruptive event like COVID-19. British Gas is an example of an advanced organisation in this movement. Because it deployed its strategy in 2019, before the pandemic hit, it is well positioned to be flexible and maintain a high level of service. By incorporating automated processes such as sending proactive push notifications to pre-empt customer complaints or questions using big data and machine-learning algorithms, British Gas prevented a barrage of messages, maintained service levels, allowed employees to remain productive and manage higher-level tasks and improved the customer experience during a highly stressful time. The investment to get there and partnering with an expert proved to be key to their success. Companies must invest in the cloud by first restructuring data to see the bigger picture that primes the organisation for its automation journey. Data and cloud migration opens more automation opportunities, which ultimately improves call-centre operations and customer experience. Opening the aperture to combine cloud, data and automation strategies into a plan provides a crucial competitive advantage in today’s dynamic landscape.


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