This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Cloud Computing Magazine.
For as much as the cloud is still emerging in business communications, its foundation is sound.Now that things like virtual server technology and flexible deployment options are commonly in use,organizations in growing numbers are successfully meeting key requirements for security and predictability as well as control.
Call it the cloud’s acceptance phase.The transformation to cloud-based solutions and associated mobile apps, smart devices, social networks and everything “cloud” is well underwayandpowering mainstream brands.However, businesses and consumers are still anxiousfor the cloud to become more “intelligent.”
Call that the cloud’s next phase,the intelligence phase. At the forefront are advanced applications – chat, presence, social media, mobilityand collaboration – converged and offered from the cloudto make customer care processesmore intelligentand custom tailored. In fact, cloud providers are now pushing hard tointroduce functionality designed to take the intelligence of these applications to a whole new level. A perfect example is real-time speech analytics.
Imagine this scenario in a contact center.An application spots keywords and phrases during a live call, and continuously updates a cumulative score for both the agent and the customer based on predetermined keyword lists and what’s said throughout the interaction. For all calls, supervisors track such scoresin real time, make more informed decisions on which calls need assistance, and are better able to keep customer satisfaction levels to a premium.
Along with speech analytics for customer care, there’s a greater market movement underway to introduce real-time/stream analytics for “big data”– to drive analytics “pervasively into the growing fabric of cloud solutions” as analysts at IDC (News - Alert) put it.
Interesting, too, that IDC is targeting entire industries forthe intelligence movement: financial services, healthcare, energy, and retail. These “intelligent industries” will be the result of IT platforms that are cloud-enabled, mobile, broadband-connected, social, and rich with contextual information. By exploiting the cloud, these sectors willincreasethe value of service deliverywith more intelligent mobile apps and by managing larger volumes of data intelligently.
It’s anyone’s guess just how far-reaching the cloud’s intelligence will be. The only certainty is that technology will continue evolving to make business and customer service processeseven more intelligent, to pave a more personal course of service for each customer.Are the interactions you have with customers as intelligent as they can be? If they aren’t, maybe it’s time to evaluate.This next phase of cloud-based business communications looks promising.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi