Connectivity holding back SA data centre switch to cloud

Connectivity challenges are preventing South African companies from fully grasping and integrating contact centres and cloud computing say experts.

According to Gartner, South African IT spending on data centre systems will grow by 1.2% this year to R8.1 million.

Hyper-cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google have also been moving into the cloud-based contact centre environment, offering the added benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation.

Jed Hewson, Director of 1Stream said that "In South Africa, connectivity is still a major factor hampering the adoption of cloud technology. Although the cost of data is falling, there is still some way to go."

According to Hewson, it is now widely acknowledged that contact centre cloud technology helps reduce costs by 30% to 40%". This also comes at a time when the "costly local legacy solutions" reach end of life.

The IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker, released in July, states that global spending on off-premises cloud IT infrastructure will grow at an annual compound rate of 11% to reach US$45.7bn by 2021.

"Technology constitutes the second biggest area of spend in any call centre (after staff) and as such, being able to reduce spend, manage people and processes better and provide better service to your customers, is ultimately what cloud enables," explained Hewson.

Increasing cloud adoption and growing investment in moving contact centres to the cloud is "partly driven by the demand for omni-channel where multiple channels of communication with customers" converge.

Gartner however expects that investment into data contact centres in South Africa will be almost stagnant at R8.1 million in 2018.

This is happening at a time when the traditional telephony platforms "cannot cope with the myriad of ways customers now expect to engage" as live webchat, social media and email are increasingly driving customer engagement with brands.

It is far more cost efficient to run these services via a cloud-based technology solution, which can integrate all channels into one reporting system to better serve the customer and manage the productivity of the employees.