Amazon Connect, the Deconstructed Contact Center
When Amazon released its contact center service, Amazon Connect, it was met with skepticism by some industry insiders because it didn’t have the features other solutions offer. After working with the cloud-based contact center service for a little over a year, we’ve seen firsthand the power of Amazon Connect in its simplicity. It’s not that the service isn’t ready for prime time, it’s just a fundamentally different way of solving a problem. Before contact center leaders can embrace Amazon Connect, they need to change how they think about contact center infrastructure.
Automatic Call Distributors (ACDs) have been around since the 1970s. Over the years, they have evolved to incorporate a rather large, rigid stack of products and functions that includes workforce management, quality management, IVR, CTI, automatic callback, and many more. Companies tend to buy and integrate these various heterogeneous contact center technologies at different times, resulting in several challenges.
Multi-year maintenance schedules that began at different times make it difficult to execute any significant changes to the technology stack. This paired with heavy dependencies results in technology lock-in, which further complicates future integrations. Meanwhile, data silos proliferate across the environment. Each system has its own module and reporting database, making it difficult to extract and analyze data—an increasingly important task as contact centers seek to measure key performance indicators.
These issues and challenges related to the ACD and bolted on systems are not easily solved. In fact, solving the problem would require tearing apart the contact center technology stack and starting over from the ground-up. That’s essentially what Amazon has done with Amazon Connect. By deconstructing the contact center, Amazon has reimagined the technology stack in its own way, enabling the cloud service provider to address these challenges head-on.
Admittedly, Amazon’s conception of the contact center looks very different from what we’re used to. In order to appreciate the value of Amazon Connect, we encourage organizations to disregard how they currently think about contact center technologies and redefine the contact center within the context of Amazon Connect.
Amazon Connect is essentially a core set of tools that organizations can build on and enhance when they’re ready. It provides basic ACD functionality with the flexibility to customize and add “contact flows” and other features to suit your business. There’s no need to wait for a provider’s update or new feature rollout. Because Amazon Connect is an open platform, you can build what you want, when you want it. Amazon Connect has tight integrations with Lex and Lambda, which allows you to customize your configuration in nearly limitless ways, using developer skills that are readily available.
Of course, Amazon Connect adopters can also leverage the native functionality of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) ecosystem. You can store recorded calls in Amazon S3 or use Pinpoint to reach out to your callers with additional information after their call is concluded.
Finally, with Amazon Connect, your data is your data to do with as you please. It’s easily accessible and reporting-friendly. You can export your data to third-party applications and services or use it within the AWS ecosystem. For example, you can export detailed contact data in real time to either a third-party data warehouse or Amazon Redshift using Amazon Kinesis Streams or Amazon Kinesis Firehose. You can ETL agent and contact data in real-time or in regular intervals, allowing you to leverage computing resources at off-peak times (think EC2 spot instances).
By deconstructing the contact center, Amazon has transformed the traditional technology stack with Amazon Connect’s simplicity. Amazon Connect gives contact center organizations the ability to more easily access and utilize their data, more easily integrate with other systems, and customize their technology stack—the very capabilities that were previously difficult to come by.
USAN is a pioneer in omnichannel communications and cloud deployments. Our sweet spot lies in combining design, integration and implementation services that convert rigid, siloed environments into dynamic business systems. With years of Amazon Web Services experience and as a certified AWS consulting partner, USAN provides a proven methodology for deploying Amazon Connect solutions.
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