When Amazon released its cloud-based contact center service, it was met with skepticism. Amazon Connect usually came up short in a feature-by-feature comparison with any of the existing leaders. That was a little over a year ago, and much has changed and continues to change when it comes to feature functionality, but we’ll get to that in a future blog. One of the most interesting things we’ve learned is about the infrastructure and how the public cloud transforms the contact center. This is the first in a series of blog posts in which we’ll share observations and lessons learned as we became an AWS Consulting Partner for Amazon Connect.
Comparing Amazon Connect to a traditional contact center solution running in a private cloud is like comparing apples to oranges. Amazon Connect is a fundamentally different way of approaching contact center technology. Some of this is because Amazon Connect runs on the public cloud, and some of it is because it specifically runs on Amazon’s public cloud infrastructure.
Let’s look at five differences between a private cloud-based contact center and Amazon Connect.
The traditional contact center consists of a conglomeration of technologies that are purchased and integrated at different times. As a result, organizations juggle an assortment of multi-year maintenance schedules that create technology lock-in and heavy dependencies. These deep integrations create a lot of technical work and put organizations in a weak negotiating position.
Amazon Connect changes this dynamic. There are no contracts, no minimum monthly fees, or upfront payments. You’re provided with a set of tools that are open and available to use whenever you’re ready. There’s no lock-in: no data lock-in, integration lock-in, or contract lock-in. Customers pay by the minute for Amazon Connect usage plus any associated telephony charges. This gives you the freedom and flexibility to adopt new tools and expand and enhance them at a pace dictated by the business—not another vendor.
In an on-premises implementation or private cloud, you must plan for demand spikes and build out the infrastructure accordingly. Because Amazon Connect runs on Amazon’s public cloud, there’s no hardware to deploy or manage. Plus, it’s available on-demand. This makes scalability a breeze.
You can quickly onboard tens of thousands of agents and scale back down without so much as talking to a salesperson, managing telephony circuits, or sending out an RFP. Amazon does ask that you notify them if you are going to have a significant jump in scale, but, this is a notification, not a negotiation.
Amazon Connect is an open platform, so you can integrate it with your other contact center technologies. But you can also take advantage of the AWS ecosystem to get more out of your customer and company data. In the traditional contact center, each system has its own module and reporting database, making it difficult to pull, compare, and analyze data. When you use Amazon Connect, you have access to all your data and the tools to make sense of it.
For example, you can use Amazon S3 to store call recordings and control the lifecycle of the data. You can process data in real-time with Amazon Kinesis and use CloudWatch to raise an alarm.
Because data and applications exist in silos in a private cloud, contact centers are challenged to deliver omnichannel customer service. Each touchpoint operates independently, with its own dataset. Amazon Connect breaks down the barriers between these touchpoints by eliminating the need to integrate separate data silos. All your data in Amazon Connect is available live across the entire environment.
Setting up a proof of concept in a private cloud can take months and require coordination across multiple departments – contact center operations, IT, procurement, etc. Amazon Connect is more straightforward. The graphical interface, which has a consistent look and feel across the AWS ecosystem, makes it easy to set up and manage. With no hardware or initial coding required, virtually anyone can fire up a basic proof of concept in less than a day. For more complex POCs, engaging an AWS Partner has never been easier. In fact, it’s so easy, there’s no reason not to try Amazon Connect.
Not long ago, companies balked at the idea of moving their contact center to the cloud. It was just too complex and too costly to move all the integrations. In the past year, that perception has changed. The contact center used to be the last thing you’d move to the cloud, but thanks to Amazon Connect, it can now be the first thing.
Contact us when you’re ready to make the move.