Skip to Main Content

How to choose the right CCaaS platform: A Q&A with Robert Wakefield-Carl

CCaaS – or contact center as a service – platforms are anticipated to handle 470 trillion interactions in 2024, according to the Global CCaaS Market report. These interactions include chatbots, SMS, email, OTT messaging apps and more, and each one of these touchpoints represents an opportunity to enhance or detract from the customer experience. With such high stakes, choosing the right CCaaS platform can be a challenge for even the savviest tech buyers.

We sat down with Robert Wakefield-Carl, Senior Director, Innovation Architects at TTEC Digital, to get his insights on what business leaders should look for when choosing a CCaaS platform.

What is CCaaS?

Before we get into CCaaS attributes, we need to define exactly what it is we’re talking about. According to Wakefield-Carl, “CCaaS is a cloud-based contact center that provides companies with unfettered access to the ever-changing technology that the cloud offers.”

The CX publication, Tech Target, offers a similar definition: “Contact center as a service (CCaaS) is a framework that combines contact center hosting principles and cloud-based contact center infrastructure.”

The important point in both definitions is that CCaaS – when done well – combines the best CX practices found in traditional contact centers with the flexibility and innovation of the cloud.

According to Wakefield-Carl, one of the biggest advantages of CCaaS over on-premises contact centers is the infrastructure. “You are no longer responsible for infrastructure. You don’t have networks, firewalls, licensing and all the other administrative tasks at the server level to worry about,” he said.

The other big benefits of CCaaS are access to resources and extensibility. “With CCaaS you have nearly unlimited access to resources. You can extend your product to other web services without the aggravation and complication of integration with other platforms,” said Wakefield-Carl.

What to look for in a CCaaS platform

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for what CCaaS is and the types of advantages it can provide over on-premises contact center solutions, let’s get into what Wakefield-Carl says buyers should look for in a CCaaS platform.

Q: What should buyers keep in mind when choosing a CCaaS provider?

Robert Wakefield-Carl: First, you need to look at feature gaps between what you have now and what the cloud offers. Many of the cloud solutions are not as mature as some of the on-premises solutions. So, you may have had much richer features or more features on-premises and you may not see that parity in cloud for some of the products.

Second, you need to not only look at the breadth of features, but the depth of features. The depth is really important because many providers can say they have hundreds of features but when you really look at those features in depth, they’re quite limited. For example, everyone can say they have omnichannel routing but when you start really looking you might find Genesys has six different routing methods whereas another provider only has two. That’s important because you may need a fourth or fifth type of routing to fulfill your needs. Another example is WFM – workforce management. Most platform providers will say they have WFM, but that might be little more than an excel spreadsheet to keep track of users. They don’t have the depth in workforce management to compete with a company that specializes in WFM – like NICE iEX or Verint.

Third, you need to look at support. People think when you go to the cloud you can just turn it on and start using it and that’s not the case. You need a trusted partner to support you during the initial launch as well as afterward. With on-premises solutions you needed more break/fix support and server upgrades. Now with the cloud, you need people who can act as consultants to help you get the most out of the CCaaS, understand your business use cases and apply the programming to help you get the most out of the solution. And when you do have a problem, you want support engineers who will actually answer the phone and can quickly and expertly address all your problems rather than just take your information and pass it on to a specific department.

Trends in CCaaS

As with most technology today, CCaaS is feeling the effects of consolidation and generative AI. Here’s how Wakefield-Carl sees that playing out.

Q. What are some trends you’re seeing in the CCaaS space?

Robert Wakefield-Carl: CCaaS companies are filling in the gaps in their technology by purchasing other companies so that they can very quickly have the technology in place within their core platform. This will benefit consumers because they won’t have to go out and find their own solutions. We’re going to see more all-in-one CCaaS solutions. People don't want to go to 14 different vendors when there's a problem, and they don't want to have to replicate their users across platforms.

With generative AI, we’re going to see a lot more assistive technologies like agent assist, conversation summarization, next best action and guided workflows. We will see more AI-powered tools that help people do their jobs more efficiently and in less time. AI isn’t necessarily changing what agents do, but it’s making some of their tasks easier and faster.

Final thoughts on CCaaS

Like most technologies, CCaaS is not something you can set and forget. Wakefield-Carl stresses the importance of continuous optimization.

Q. What else should tech buyers know about CCaaS?

Robert Wakefield-Carl: With CCaaS you can’t jump around from subscription to subscription like you would with Netflix or Disney+. It’s a long-term investment where you need at least three to five years on the platform. You won’t be able to implement everything the product has to offer in the first year. Most CCaaS customers use about 20-40% of the product in the first year. TTEC Digital can consult to help you make use of the technology. Some vendors roll out 5-10 features every week. You can’t keep up with all those features so you need someone who understands which features are good for your business and can implement them for you. That’s where TTEC Digital comes in.

Want to push your ROI even further?

Explore use cases and insights on how next-generation automation can accelerate the ROI of contact center and CX investments.

Download the guide