Every business goes through periods of change—whether it’s planned or unplanned or driven by external or internal drivers, change will happen. And it can take various forms, like the introduction of new laws, a surge of competition, or the rollout of a new product. Regardless of the nature of the transformation, we live in an era of rapid and fundamental change. The success of a business is measured by how quickly it can react, which in part stems from the flexibility of its digital infrastructure.
The Cloud Ups Flexibility
What does your service delivery infrastructure look like? What will it look like next year? Five years from now? At a time when 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as significant as its products and services, understanding the flexibility of your environment is critically important. The reality is that the customer experience today is determined by the service delivery infrastructure, which works in conjunction with various applications to provide essential business services. What that experience looks like tomorrow is determined by how easily and quickly you can adjust when needed.
IT infrastructure built on a cloud platform is best able to adapt to the changing needs of an organization. Your business can scale up or scale down resources and provide flexibility as needed. A cloud-based customer contact center, for instance, can add agents during peak times, be updated quickly, and empower agents with complete customer views enhancing the customer experience, while reducing ongoing costs and optimizing agent efficacy and efficiency.
As a consumer of a service, you might wonder, “Why do I really care how that service is built?” If it works and does what I need it to do, that’s what’s most important. According to Cognizant, “For many of us, the notion of an ‘experience’ can seem completely nonsensical; we’re simply trying to pay our bill or change our flight or schedule an engineer as quickly and painlessly as possible. Our customer experience—most of the time—is hardly an experience at all.” Ensuring customer experiences continue to be “non-experiences” is the challenge for the IT manager, whether that’s in the design of a website or creation of a true omnichannel customer contact center. Flexibility is key to those effortless, seamless customer interactions.
Flexibility Is What Really Matters
Over time IT solutions can become complicated. If they are built as a wad of highly modified code or incorporate expensive-to-maintain premise solutions they can become fragile. Not fragile in the sense of reliability, although that is certainly possible, but fragile in the sense that the system can’t be easily updated.
What does that mean for your business? Down the road or even tomorrow, it can mean your ability to add features, integration points, security fixes, or changes of any sort can be painful and slow. This may force you to move off of your existing platform and suffer all the associated disruption of a move: retraining employees, system setup, testing, etc. If the system you’re on can’t keep up with innovations, your business can find itself in the undesirable position of being behind the competition. A cloud-based platform can minimize that fate.
Safeguarding Against Inevitable Changes
How can you tell if your digital infrastructure is going to keep up with the times? Speak with your service provider. Ask questions about how the service is architected, and with what technologies it’s built. If the answer doesn’t articulate the use of modern technologies (or too modern: read new, still in development, and untested by the market) that could mean the organization has a fragile architecture and may be unable to keep up with changes driven by the rapid innovation that transforms consumer behavior.
Question your managed services provider about how your system was built and what the underlying third-party software components are. Microservices are increasingly being used to ensure that a system is flexible and extensible. If your service provider is using them, it’s a great indication they will be able to keep up with the latest market demands. Much of the discovery on how your environment is built, as well as other elements of your digital infrastructure design, should come out in a good architecture discussion about how cloud infrastructure will help your organization be more flexible.
Due diligence now will ensure your success for years to come.