A major market shift is happening. Support systems are moving to the cloud. Enterprises state increased flexibility, faster deployment times, minimal upfront expenditures, and reduced IT requirements as reasons for the shift.

The cloud is elastic. Hardware or software can be added or subtracted from the pool with no adverse impact on performance. Any number of users can log in to the systems or leave the systems without significant improvement or degradation in delivery. This flexibility does not in any way “freeze over” the customization capabilities that make the cloud support system applications so attractive.

The support systems can be deployed faster as there are no server rooms to be set up, no hardware procurements to be argued over, negotiated, purchased or installed. There is a reduced requirement for training of personnel who will man the support systems.

In 2008-09 CapEx concerns were top of the list in Support System projects. The cloud, today, precludes the need for upfront CapEx estimations. The budget line item is shifted to OpEx and this brings about a sea-change in the kind of approval process that needs to be put through for the project.

Finally, a reduced IT requirement allows the organization focus attention on its business. The support center staff can concentrate on the functions of the contact center and leave the contact center technology management to the cloud vendor. This has a significant impact on the number of people that have to be hired for IT and existing IT resources can be redeployed for other fruitful purposes. Consequently, there is a reduction in the kind and extent of specialized training that must be imparted to the trainees.

A recent Frost & Sullivan survey of communication system deployments in the cloud indicate that the process is accelerating. More and more organizations are seeing the benefits of moving to the cloud.  Among the organizations surveyed (2010) by Frost and Sullivan, 30% were already using Cloud based support and communication systems. 30% were planning to shift to cloud in the next 18 months and 40% stated that they had no immediate plans.

The market trend reveals that the economic climate is promoting the shift to the cloud.  New market entrants are espousing the cloud to reduce on costs and advantage themselves on latest developments in technology. Customers are also expecting speedy deployments and instant access to support mechanisms for the products and services they buy.

In short, both opportunistic and long term considerations are driving the adoption of the cloud for providing effective support systems to their customers.