contact center routingFor years companies have been demanding operational stability and dependability from their contact center environments.  High availability with little-or-no downtime or outages.  Rock-solid Network Operations Centers (NOCs) with monitoring and incident escalations.  Disaster Recovery.  Business Continuity Planning.  Service Level Agreements (SLAs).  As companies have partnered for more of their services and infrastructure – whether it be hosted in the Cloud, Managed Services, or outsourced contact centers – they are demanding their partners ensure stability and reliability.

But at what cost??  Aside from the actual financial cost of maintaining this sort of reliability and redundancy, a hidden cost has also been its impact on the culture and working relationship between the business and their technology partners (which we’ll refer to as ‘IT,’ but could be an external technology partner too).  For instance, imagine the business needs to make some updates to the environment or call flow experience in response to changing customer expectations, market demands, or regulatory requirements.  The business describes the updates they need to IT, and IT provides an estimate of three-to-nine months to deploy those changes.

Business:  “Three-to-nine months??  To make one little change to the IVR prompting and routing call flow??”

IT: “Yeah, well, it’s not as simple as you think.  We need to understand the requirements, design it, implement it, integrate it, test it, roll it out slowly, and build in reporting so you can see the results.  You want it to be reliable and robust, don’t you??  We need to follow this process and take precautions to meet our SLAs with the business.”

Business: “But our business needs will have changed in three-to-nine months.  This update probably won’t even be relevant by that point!”

More often than not, the desired update gets canceled, watered down, or rolled out too late to be effective.  And the deployed system quickly becomes an outdated dinosaur.  It briefly met the business requirements at the time it was first built, but soon after became obsolete.  The updates required simply can’t be rolled out fast enough to meet the speed of business these days.  Sound familiar??

So what’s a business to do?  Demand some agility with your stability!  Just like you require performance criteria as part of your SLAs with your technology partners, you also need to bake in room for flexibility.  This can be accomplished by including as part of your requirements certain predefined parameters and control knobs, so the business can make timely updates themselves.  Now, let’s face it.  IT is going to get R-E-A-L-L-Y nervous about handing the controls over directly to a business person.  How can IT be held responsible for the system’s performance, if the business can just go in there and change anything willy-nilly at any time?  The solution is the business and IT need to agree ahead of time the sorts of things that the business will likely need to make changes to over time.

Based on that, IT needs to build a ‘library’ of parameters and business rules (that affect things like IVR treatments and routing strategies) in a language and interface that is user-friendly for their business partners.  The components of this library are modular, allowing the business to combine them together like Lego® blocks to construct the desired experience and business flow.  At the same time, IT builds in certain constraints on what the business is allowed to touch and change, and all parts are pre-tested ahead of time to ensure reliability.  The business is given some control, but not enough to actually hang themselves!  This of course won’t cover every foreseeable change.  But if at least some portion of what the business thinks they may need to change on a fairly frequent basis can be anticipated and baked in in advance, then this frees up IT resources to be more responsive to the truly unexpected and urgent situations when they do arise.

Creating this sort of agile and stable environment requires a contact center infrastructure platform and integrated tools that can support both the business and technology users’ individual requirements.  Genesys Conversation Manager – in conjunction with the broader Genesys suite – has been created specifically to address this need.

Lizanne Kaiser, Ph.D.

Lizanne Kaiser, Ph.D.

Dr. Kaiser is a Senior Principal Business Consultant at Genesys, specializing in business strategy, customer experience, design and usability for contact center and cross-channel interactions. She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Yale University.