Is your head in the cloud?

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Recent feedback from CIOs of large companies gave an indication of the extent to which companies are considering outsourcing to the cloud environment. While there is an obvious distinction between core and non-core IT infrastructure and applications, companies are still considering each environment on a case-by-case basis.

Nebula, an independent IT advisory firm, has been holding discussions with vendors and large companies in the local market to understand the current approach to the IT "as a service' model.

Hosted contact centres represent one area where the value of outsourcing IT infrastructure is clearly being considered. However, consensus is lacking as to which industries and what size contact centres are suitable for consideration; nor do companies seem clear on which South African vendors are ideally positioned to provide and support hosted contact centre solutions for their particular industries and companyneeds.

While international adoption trends and business cases provide interesting references, decision makers are still unsure as to whether local market conditions are ready for this environment to be placed in the cloud. CIOs and business decision makers want the assurance that local vendors (and their partner relationships) have the maturity to provide a low-risk, value-adding alternative to their current deployments.

Leveraging off its market position as an independent advisor, Nebula conducted a review of providers and solution offerings in the hosted contact centre market earlier this year.

Nebula CEO Daniel Nel says, "The review of the hosted contact centre market marks our starting point to provide South African and pan-African companies with an independent perspective on leading telecommunications and related industry solutions. We hope that the market will be encouraged by the efforts to provide information on the availability and maturity of solution offerings.'

The review of hosted contact centres as a viable value proposition shows that buyers need to be clear on their anticipated direct and indirect benefits and under what conditions the "service rental approach' is financially beneficial. Additionally, buyers and suppliers need to have a clear understanding of the changes in roles and skills required for the support of a hosted contact centre, specifically when the contact centre function is intimately tied into cross-functional business processes and applications.

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