When it comes to taking on a large cloud migration, there can be a lot of apprehension. This is a reasonable way to feel. For businesses that have operated using on-premises models for decades, this type of large-scale project often includes many smaller projects and unexpected decisions that have the potential to derail an organization’s value realization in the cloud.
At TTEC Digital, we’ve helped countless organizations streamline their cloud migration and unlock valuable strategic, operational, and customer improvements. We also know the horror stories that lead clients to seek out assistance mid-migration.
To share what we’ve learned and help organizations to more confidently step into the cloud-first world, we’ve put together a short list of the most common mistakes we see and a few tips to help avoid the same pitfalls.
Mistake #1: Focusing on lift-and-shift and forgetting to consider value realization.
It can be easy to get laser-focused when planning for a cloud migration. There’s seemingly so much to do. Your top priority is getting your existing workflows up and running on new platforms, but what about re-evaluating the employee experience, customer experience, and operational performance of those existing interfaces, policies, and workflows? Do they still make sense, or would your business benefit from a change? The good news is migrating to the cloud always affords new opportunities to rethink the way you serve your customers and run your business.
We’ve seen many missed opportunities as IT feels the pressure to execute quickly. For example, the business often expects better dashboards and reporting capabilities to generate actionable — possibly real-time — customer and operational insights. When the time isn’t taken to do better than “lift and shift reporting,” it’s almost always a common point of friction. No matter the inspiration for the cloud migration, it’s important to build in the capacity and time to deliver the “value” of the project and establish an operating model for rapid improvement.
The Routing and Skilling Lift and Shift Trap
Another common “lift and shift” scenario occurs when a contact center falls victim to duplicating its routing and skilling logic. Sometimes routing and skilling tweaks during migration can help alleviate long queues, better prepare agents for successful conversations, and even empower agents to feel more engaged and more in control of their daily work.
Mistake #2: Ignoring the harsh reality of operating in a half-on, half-off ecosystem.
When organizations identify they must make a phased move to the cloud, there are a few challenges they should be aware of before road mapping their migration plans. While partial or slow migration might initially feel less daunting, it also forces your organization to be fluent in two different platforms and ecosystems. Often, the plan is that while cloud migration activity is ramping up in one area of the business it is ramping down in another so resources can keep up. But, in the interim, supporting both of these environments can lead to considerable technology support and business challenges.
If a hybrid premise/cloud ecosystem will be around for a long time, it’s important to think about what your on-premises decommission strategy will look like in detail and how it will be actively managed. A migration office should be paired with a transformation office—including IT, finance, CX/EX designers, architects, engineers, and operational SMEs. Balancing the weekly trade-offs between driving additional value realization and speed to the cloud is a team sport—and it requires collaboration to get just right.
Mistake #3: Not defining the criteria for what constitutes a “pilot” success.
In large organizations, a pilot migration can be a useful way to explore the implementation process and performance at a much smaller scale—with less potential for wholesale business disruption. But heading into a pilot hoping to “see what happens” is a recipe for disaster. Pilot programs need to be established with clear guardrails for what constitutes success and failure. More importantly, what are the follow-up steps that will take place once the pilot has been measured? If it is a success, how will further deployment proceed? If it is deemed a failure, does that send the implementation team back to the drawing board or are there clear steps that can be taken to remediate the most pressing issues?
Mistake #4: Underestimating the value of end-user training.
Some organizations assume that cloud migration is a back-office project that has minimal impact on employees and end customers. That’s hardly ever the case. Organizations need to have a change management plan to empower front office associates, the business, and IT leaders to carry out the desired actions and bring customers along for a great experience.
At TTEC Digital, we use several techniques to make this happen, but here are a couple of starting points. First, we ask our clients to set up internal ambassadors to champion the new platform, interfaces, and workflows. Secondly, we help organizations set up fully functional “experience simulators” that allow employees to come in and see how the new environment is going to function—before they begin to use it on their desktop during the go-live process. For additional support along the way, we create experiential, digital, and engaging training.
Mistake #5: Turning on new bells and whistles without first developing a strategy.
One capability that often comes with new cloud platforms is automation. Specifically, conversational AI combines natural language processing (NLP) with channel automation like chatbots, voice assistants, or an interactive voice recognition system to help customers through either a spoken or typed interface. It can be easy to immediately want to turn this feature on to give customers one more channel to engage with your brand. Here’s the catch: new channels for the sake of new channels may not produce the significant engagement impact you’re seeking. Consider how you’d like to use conversational AI within the contact escalation framework your organization already employs.
The key here is to have an automation strategy, roadmap, and ongoing operating cadence that combines automation with an experience that works for your customers, so they’ll adopt the channel. Building the bot is easy—but doing it by design, with appropriate escalations and workflow optimization requires business alignment and the right expertise.
Clearly, there’s a lot to think about when standing up a cloud-centric business. While these mistakes cover some of the most common challenges we see in cloud migrations, every project brings its own set of unique considerations.
That’s where having a strategic partner to help frame out your migration can bring immediate value to your deployment—allowing your team to achieve faster ROI, smoother associate transitions, and more memorable customer experiences in the cloud. With hundreds of cloud migrations under our belt and close partnerships with many of the leading cloud technology providers, TTEC Digital can help maximize your transition and allow you to hit the ground running in your new cloud environment.