I just completed the 2011 CRM Customer Service Contact Center Magic Quadrant. It looks at the business applications that enable a customer service agent to interact with customers. The results from the past four months have opened up some interesting questions about the timing for Cloud-based SaaS (multi-tenant) applications in this area.
I’ll drill down into this in upcoming Gartner Research, but I would share this: the concept of Pace Layering that my colleagues like Yvonne Genovese and Val Sribar have been discussing at recent conferences resonates with my findings over the past months. The basic question for those IT leaders evaluating a refresh for the customer service desktop is: “Is now the time to make a big bet and leap to Cloud-based SaaS as the core of my desktop?”
The answer to the big question depends on the complexity and criticality of the environment, according to all references. If you can live with two maintenance windows of two to four hours, twice a Quarter, then maybe SaaS is for you. If you do not have to worry about integration with back end systems that manage processes for underwriting, mortgages, telecom OSS activity, fraud, or outage systems, for example, then SaaS is definitely your choice now.
Pace Layering suggests that SaaS for the majority of Customer Service Contact Centers is a viable option today, but not for those with sensitivity to the situations I listed above. I’ll dig more into this, as I’ve said, in research, but for now I’d be interested in your experiences. My sample size was only 400 Contact Centers, but it reached across 16 industries and four continents. I’d love to hear your story.