5 decisions to make before migrating your contact center to the cloud

Those who migrate their contact center to the cloud are rediscovering that paradoxically, to go fast and far, you often must start by slowing down.

Migrating a contact center to the cloud provides instant benefits that no longer need to be demonstrated: cost reductions, easy activation of digital channels, 360-degree customer views, support for working in hybrid mode, access to previously inaccessible functionalities… These advantages are obtained quickly, almost immediately. To the point that it is easy to feel pressured to act quickly.

Speed and eagerness should not be confused

While the short-term benefits are significant, the true value of a new technology lies primarily in its contribution to business objectives. Moving your contact center to the cloud involves a series of decisions that will influence your long-term ability to achieve your strategic goals. By wanting to go too fast, we run the risk of making bad choices with lasting impacts on future performance.

Here are 5 important decisions to help you avoid this trap.

Decision 1: Define your objectives 

Migrating your contact center to the cloud is not a goal, it is a means. Before doing anything, the priority of priorities is therefore to define its objectives :

  • Reduce IT costs
  • Create an omnichannel customer experience
  • Develop an effortless customer experience
  • Create a 360-customer view
  • Improve contact center performance
  • Introducing new channels

It is not uncommon for many of these objectives to be pursued, but we must be clear about what we want to do. Also, on how success will be measured. For many organizations, migrating to the cloud is a first step towards their digital transformation and the creation of an omnichannel experience, that is seamless and simple.

For others, it’s a way to acquire tools they would never have had access to (e.g., chat, workforce management tools, interaction analytics). And here again, we must be clear about the expected results at the end of the project.

Defining the objectives of your migration project is the first step to making this change a success and reaping all the benefits.

Decision 2: Selecting your business features

Migrating your contact center to the cloud allows you to take advantage of simplified and instant updates as the publisher implements them. But it also often comes at the cost of less customization and greater standardization. Whether we like it or not, there is always some adaptation to the tool. Identifying and prioritizing needs is essential.

This exercise may seem simple at first but can quickly become complex. This is because contact centers have evolved a lot in recent years. They have become much more complex :

  • Adding channels (e.g. email, social media, chat, chatbots, SMS, etc.)
  • Evolution to Customer Experience Centers
  • Widespread remote work
  • Transformation into a profit center
  • Reduce simple interactions
  • Increased presence of data

Take the time to take a holistic and systemic look at your contact center. Ask yourself questions like these :

  • What vision do you have for your contact center?
  • What are its long-term business objectives?
  • What customer experience do you want to create? What are the barriers to this experience?
  • What channels do you have today? And tomorrow?
  • What are the operational needs and challenges?
  • What tasks do you want to automate?
  • What role do you want to give to agents?
  • What data do you use today? And tomorrow?

Implementing a technological solution always involves compromises. Being clear about your features should allow you to make compromises consciously.

Decision 3: Choosing a solution

Choosing a solution is a challenge for many teams. It’s easy not to know what the right solution is because there are so many on the market. Especially since they all seem to look alike at first! Not to mention the terminology that seems to be constantly evolving (CCAAS, UCAAS, PCAS… trying to have a clear definition… not easy!) and the fact that the industry is booming:

  • Entry of new players from outside the communications sector
  • Acquisition
  • Fusions
  • Bankruptcies

A common approach is to select market leaders using analyses such as Gartner dials. It has the advantage of being reassuring. It is helpful, but it cannot replace the work of analysis, evaluation, and selection. Those who make shortcuts to a rigorous procurement process including RFI, RFP, call for tenders, demonstrations, proof of concept, and rigorous negotiation… do so at their own risk.

In doing so, it is essential not to rely solely on the web pages of solution publishers, or what they tell you:

  • Can this solution integrate with your CRM? Ask for a demonstration.
  • Does it work? Will the feature be feasible in a production environment?

Remember that you are choosing a solution as much as a partner. Watch how they respond to your questions and requests. This will give you insight into your future relationship.

With cloud computing, technology providers have done everything possible to simplify and facilitate the adoption and migration process. That’s a good thing. But it doesn’t take away from the effort you have to put into choosing a solution that meets your needs.

Decision 4: Choosing your partners  

In “software as a service” (SaaS) mode, you choose both a solution and a partner. Migrating your contact center to the cloud requires mobilizing several areas of expertise :

  • Business and process knowledge
  • Technology skills
  • Solution Expertise

Not everyone has the expertise and resources required internally. In addition to the solution editor, it is not uncommon to have to bring in an integrator or even other technical or functional experts.

To choose them, basic checks are customary :

  • What is their experience with similar situations?
  • Do they have expertise in several solutions or just one?
  • What are their interests?

Whether choosing a solution or supporting your implementation, the expertise of these partners is essential to the success of your project. But they can’t replace your internal team. Too often, due to a lack of time, resources, or expertise, they are left to take full responsibility for the delivery of the solution, sometimes despite the requests they may make.

This is a significant risk, both for you and for them. No one wants a project that does not achieve its objectives, that drags on in time, or even stops abruptly. It’s bad for everyone. It would not occur to you to entrust the keys to your home for major renovations without regular updates to clarify your needs, make decisions and control the work. The same reasoning applies here.

Your partners need you to :

  • Translate your business reality into the required solution
  • Define and explain the business rules that apply
  • Make decisions and arbitrations
  • Validate the configured solution
  • Plan and manage change

Plan to build a strong internal team to work with your partners. Include at least the following roles :

  • An internal sponsor
  • A project manager
  • A business leader
  • One or more experts, depending on the features covered
  • Representatives of important stakeholders (e.g., employees, managers, compliance…)
  • Trainers

By ensuring the coordination of efforts and the convergence of respective interests, you give yourself the means to manage a significant risk of your project. 

Decision 5: Define your migration strategy 

A migration strategy that is often seen consists of a variation of the following two phases :

  1. Phase 1: Replacement of the current solution with the new cloud solution (“like for like”)
  2. Phase 2: Activation of the solution often consisting of:
    • Addition of features (e.g., WFM, QA…)
    • Channel additions (e.g., chat, emails…)

This strategy is optimized to migrate to the cloud as quickly as possible and enable as many features as possible of the chosen solution. But in most cases, it is not optimized to maximize the benefits for you.

Because phase 1 is often approached as a replacement phase with changes at the margin of the ways of doing things (according to the “like for like” approach).

This ensures rapid migration and delivers the cost reductions associated with the new solution. However, it also often postpones the delivery of benefits related to the optimizations of the current business model, for example:

  • Redesign and optimization of IVR and call routing strategies,
  • Better use of staff,
  • Improved customer experience on existing channels

Know how to define your migration strategy considering :

  • From the cost reduction you targeted and are related to the solution change
  • Possible benefits through the optimization and evolution of your business model
  • Costs of optimizing the solution if these are achieved after the fact


Here are 5 important decisions for a successful migration to the cloud :

  1. Setting your goals
  2. Define your needs
  3. Choose your solution
  4. Assembling a team of partners
  5. Plan your migration

It’s true, these five decisions have the initial effect of slowing down projects. But it’s to go faster afterward. Faster, but also further!

By Guillaume Delroeux

Guillaume is President and Leader in Customer Experience Practice at Promethée Consultants and helps organizations with Customer Relationship Centres make the most of their technologies to maximize their impact and create legendary customer experiences.