Independent Contact Center Consultants: Bridging Strategy, Technology and Operations Since 2004

A New Working Relationship for IT and the Contact Center

“Come gather ’round people, Wherever you roam…” Yes, folks. The times they are a-changin’ for contact center technology management. Here’s just a few of the reasons why:

  • IT has an increased burden on its time and resources driven by business needs… and most IT shops have not been able to staff up to handle the growing workload.
  • The center needs greater agility to respond to strategic, day-to-day, and “real-time” demands. They want to be more involved and want more control.
  • Technology stability and reliability issues force centers to insert themselves into technology support and management to ensure effective issue response and resolution as well as proactive problem avoidance.
  • Outsourced and hosted solutions add a new wrinkle to the IT-business relationship. The threat of “defection” increases IT’s eagerness to collaborate and find a way to meet everyone’s needs.
  • Technology support tools offer better ways to make changes without impacting core applications and systems.

new working relationship for IT and the contact centerWhether you are in IT/Telecom or hold a frontline leadership or support role in the contact center, it’s a new game with new roles to plan, implement, and support contact center technology effectively. It’s time to recognize those changes and work together to define processes and roles that will benefit the company and the customer.

Everybody wants – and needs – a voice in planning. Broad participation requires education through vendor forums, conferences and other events, webinars, papers, and more to make sure all the players know what’s possible with technology and what’s coming downstream. It also requires collaboration on strategic plans, tactical plans, budgets, requirements, and vendor evaluations.

While IT owns the core implementation roles (since it is technology, after all), contact center involvement continues to increase. Both support and line functions need to dive into the process. Implementation tasks include defining detailed requirements and specifications, and designing new ways to use technology (not just implement new technology doing the same old thing!). The contact center has a very important role in testing – functional, load, continuity/recovery, etc. – as well as piloting and refining, and defining and executing the best rollout strategy (across sites, groups, functions, etc.).

Support means more than troubleshooting. It also includes monitoring, ongoing testing, optimizing… and it again goes beyond IT. IT has the main role in the Network Operations Center (NOC), help desk, and operations support. But contact center support functions can now monitor performance, make changes (e.g., routing, prompts/messages, skills), create new reports and analysis, get involved in solving problems and making changes (whether technology-driven or business driven).

The launching point for tackling the organizational and process changes is a collaborative effort that defines roles/responsibilities and what works in your environment. Each company must define the nature of changes they are willing – or need – to make based on the issues they face today.

As a starting point for that exercise, I’d encourage you to read the full article that I wrote on this subject: IT and the Contact Center: Changing Together. Though change may be unsettling, I think your organization and the customers you support will be the better for it.