Technology is so easy to blame. For what? For not meeting metrics, keeping costs under control, delivering great service, driving enough revenue? The list goes on. Center leadership, staff, and support team members often exclaim, “If we only had …!” as they point at technology as the culprit. They don’t have what they need, don’t have the right vendor, or the darn things they do have just don’t work right. What is going on? After 40 years of contact center technology, is it really that bad? I think not.
I think the right resources can help you travel a better path. Too often people focus on the technology alone, whether applications and functionality from the business side, or hardware and software from the IT side. They feel disappointed and frustrated when solutions don’t live up to expectations. To drive value from the technology, look at the full life cycle from planning to implementation to support. Define – and fund – the resources you need to get it right each step along the way.
As shown in the following diagram, resource requirements vary with the technology life cycle:
Typical internal resources include:
- A Program Management Office (PMO) that aids in prioritizing projects and resources and is most often used for large scale projects or projects with interdependencies
- Project Managers (PMs) who assume responsibility for initiatives from planning through implementation
- Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from IT or the business who bring particular knowledge, experience, and focus to the effort
- The Network Operation Center (NOC) and Help Desk who’ll assume responsibility for the technology once it has gone into operation
Typical external resources include:
- Vendors, Partners, Distributors, and Value Added Resellers (VARs) who provide products as well as professional services and ongoing support
- Contractors to address unique needs or staffing gaps
- Consultants who lend a strategic perspective as well as their expertise and experience on the high risk or sensitive areas of the project
- Specialty service providers who fill niches like monitoring and testing, using specialized tools and expertise
Having been involved in countless projects, I’ve seen successful use of external resources, and pains and problems with a lack of the right people on the right tasks. Here are some specific examples of strong needs for professional services from outside with an independent view and some targeted expertise, tools, and resources:
- Building a business case: Independent resources bring insight and experience with no hidden agenda.
- Requirements and Evaluation: Since you don’t make certain purchases routinely, it’s useful to leverage experienced folks to structure a robust assessment process.
- Design: The experts know what your technology can do for you as well as how to to drive change in your organization.
- Testing services: Usability and load testing specialists can really put your system through its paces.
- Monitoring services: Specialized tools, dedicated “eyes on glass,” and alerting services ensure timely, proactive, and preemptive response.
- Optimization: Expert resources to help you do more with what you have and help you break the cycle of buying new stuff without commensurate benefits.
It’s not about the technology; it’s about how you drive value from it. Using resources wisely will help your next project succeed.
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