In 20 years of consulting and hundreds of projects, I have seen some typical scenarios play out in client environments, often based on the communication and collaboration – or lack thereof – between IT and the contact center. Stalemates ripe with finger pointing are common situations. IT stands in one corner declaring “tell me what you want to do.” Contact center leadership stands in the other corner, desperately seeking to know “what’s possible” with technology – whether it be what they have, or what their vendors or the market have to offer. The net result is a distinct lack of progress and frustration on both fronts.
The good news is that in the midst of all these challenges, both sides are sincere and want to end up in a good place. They just get stuck with this “chicken and egg” dilemma and the compounding issues. Which comes first – the requirements, or knowing what’s possible? These things have to happen in concert, and through iterations. And the two groups need to work together to deal with the realities of the environment.
The best approach is to form habits, a routine that ensures timely, ongoing collaboration and communication. Companies that put processes, resources, and reinforcement mechanisms in place are the ones that have the best use of technology, the greatest “bang for their buck,” and the best results in meeting the efficiency and effectiveness goals for IT and the center. Those that do it right use structured governance and clearly defined and understood processes for technology planning and pursuit, with both IT and the contact center as active participants. They leverage PMO or other groups as appropriate. They have routine, proactive communication and collaboration, not just reactive, budget-driven exercises.
One key to success is defining who will trigger the routines. Responsible parties ensure IT and the center build strategic plans together and review and adjust routinely (for example, biannually). They help each to look at the next 1-2 years at a minimum, perhaps looking out 3-5 years in environments where that makes sense. And they ensure that all are equipped to address the daily business needs and hot buttons that crop up in every center.
Another key to success is change management to make sure these habits and routines “stick”!
For more information, download The Chicken and the Egg: How IT and the Contact Center Succeed Together.