Enterprise Contact Center deployments require strong, structured project management throughout the project life-cycle, from defining the business requirements to extending beyond service delivery. In addition, such a project should not be a stand-alone initiative – it should be part of an enterprise-wide business transformation supported at the highest levels of the hospital’s leadership.

Here are some of the challenges that IT and business managers will need to address:

1. Infrastructure readiness:

Enterprise Contact Center Solutions run on top of a robust and a highly available Network and Voice over IP infrastructure. IT managers need to conduct a comprehensive assessment, compatibility, and Fit/Gap analysis from the wire to the desktop to ensure a successful deployment.

2. Micro-departments:

Hospitals include dozens of distinct practices that range from Primary Care to Cancer Centers, from Dental care to Psychiatry, and from Dermatology to Rehab to name a few. In addition, each of these practices contains several support functions, including appointments and referrals, insurance, and financial services among others. In many cases, each of these micro-departments is staffed with a single employee who has a specific skill set. In order to optimize the return on investment, business process innovations may be required to realize the full benefits of such technology.

3. Skills and training:

IT managers need to conduct a training and skill assessment to determine the ability of the existing system administrators to support the new solutions. In addition, they should consider augmenting their support organization’s capabilities by hiring experienced personnel and partnering with IT services providers as they ramp their capabilities. Likewise, customer service managers need to ensure that agents and supervisors receive adequate training in all aspects of the new solution, including agents and supervisors desktop interfaces, reporting, call monitoring, and recording, among others.

4. Support model:

The centralized support and the decentralized service proposition that Contact Centers offer may require rewriting the IT support processes to allow enterprise-wide personnel to handle support inquiries rather than dedicated staff at each location or practice.

5. Initial implementation cost:

The assessment, design, implementation, and support of a Contact Center solution carries a significant cost for any size hospital. It includes equipment, licenses, maintenance, professional services, and end-user and system administrator training costs. While hospitals can, and should, opt for a phased rollout, much of the deployment cost will be incurred before the first Contact Center goes live. The implementation of a contact center solutions requires careful budget planning and understanding of the return on investment model.

How controllable are these challenges in your environment? What have you done to overcome them? What other challenges do you expect?