2012: The end of the world or the start of a new cloud age?

2012, however, will be one for the books. It’s the start of an era that will prompt significant change to cloud-based technologies.
Written by Fred Côté, Kunnect, Contributor
Commentary -2012 might be associated with the Mayan end of the world prophecy, but it also signals the start of a new era – the cloud age.

Technology and outsourcing industry landscapes are expected to shift this year. Most noticeably, they’ll witness a strong transition to cloud computing.

Cloud-based technologies made a notable impact on the business community in the past five years. The sheer number of cloud providers even increased ten-fold in the last two years alone.

2012, however, will be one for the books. It’s the start of an era that will prompt significant change to cloud-based technologies.

Here’s what the technology and outsourcing industries should expect to see this year:

1. Job growth: 100,000 new jobs will be created in the call center and business process outsourcing (BPO) field. Two new proposed laws will prompt this job growth – the U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection act, which seeks to restore outsourced call center jobs, and the Veterans Job Bill, which will provide employers with tax credits for hiring veterans.

2. Revenue growth: The US call center and telemarketing industry will see $23 billion in revenue in 2012 - roughly $5 billion more than 2011 due to significant job growth. In 2011, there were 336,000 telemarketing employees. New initiatives like those set forth by Jobs4America are already creating new jobs.

3. Increased cloud adoption and ROI: 75 percent of companies will choose cloud subscriptions lasting more than one year. The adoption rate for cloud-based services is increasing dramatically. Consumer-based familiarization with the iPhone 4s’ iCloud will further support the cause for cloud-based solutions. Organizations are also witnessing ROI in the cloud, as evident in a CSC study showing that 82 percent of businesses adopting cloud services save money.

4. Increased acceptance of a new mobile workforce: The ‘at home’ remote agent call center workforce will see 30 percent growth. This will be due to the paradigm shift in employer perception in the productivity of this employment segment. In an economically critical time, companies will do whatever they can to increase productivity, grow revenues and control expenses.

5. Increased adoption of multi-channel solutions: 50 percent of all traditional BPO workers will be doing some form of multi-channel work. This implies that agents are doing more than just one form of client interaction like email, telemarketing or chat. This will be substantiated by the continued growth in companies adopting multi-channel CRM solutions and it will translate into companies buying new state-of-the-art hosted multi-channel solutions.”

6. Uptick in the number of global Internet users due to increased broadband and smartphone connectivity: There will be 2.5 billion global internet users by the end of 2012. As the availability of broadband and smartphone connectivity increases globally, this number will continue to grow at a rate of more than 20 percent annually. We crossed the 2 billion internet user platform in January 2011, as reported by ITU.”

The future of the technology and outsourcing business environment
The technology and outsourcing U.S. business environment is improving. One telltale sign is the impressive increase in demand for cloud-based telephony solutions from both offshore and U.S.-based firms.

In 2012 and beyond, the technology and outsourcing industries will see continued growth of the U.S. business environment. It will become more heavily reliant on optimization, cost reductions and increased efficiency - all deliverables of cloud-based solutions.

Fred Côté is president of Kunnect, an industry leader in cloud-based call center telephony solutions. He can be reached at fred@kunnect.com.

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