Ask the Experts: How Do I Protect my Cloud Contact Center in a Disaster?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle discusses cloud contact center BCDR solutions and leveraging “people as a service” with Global Director of Sales Engineering John Charles of Serenova (formerly LiveOps Cloud). Find out more about adopting cloud-based hybrid blended backups and agents “as a service” to maintain contact center business continuity during a disaster from John and the Serenova team here:

Andrew: All right guys, time for another Ask the Experts session. I’ve asked to join us here in the studio John Charles, who is the Global Director of Sales Engineering for LiveOps. John, welcome man.
John: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.
Andrew: Absolutely. Great to have you in. I was going through this, and we’ve been having this conversation with partners and university attendees about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. We’ve talked a lot about how do you back up your data and secure your data, how do you restore your data. We’ve talked a lot about data and applications, even things around your voice services, and geographic redundancies and all that kind of stuff. It occurred to me that you guys have a really unique story when it comes to contact centers, specifically around people. Oftentimes, “people” is not a big enough part of the equation when we’re building a BCDR strategy. Talk about your unique ability as a company to spin up people, in essence, as a service—as resource for clients.
John: So LiveOps—we’re very unique in that we actually have two parts of our business. One, we can provide live bodies or agents to handle high call volume. We have a whole slew of customers that maybe don’t want to actually do that business. A good example of one of our customers is Beachbody. If you’re watching a P90X infomercial at midnight and you decide to call in, when you make that call in you’re actually talking to a LiveOps employee somewhere in the United States.
Conversely, we can also provide stock ware for those customers that do have their own agents, so we truly can provide a hybrid blended backup—or primary, for that matter—for any of our contacts and our customers using our agents or using our software.
Andrew: Interesting. So if I’ve got a company and I have a contact center as kind of a key part of my business workflow as a company, I can literally fail that contact center over to your agents that you would basically allow for me to hire on-demand for an hour, for a day, for some season. Am I correct?
John: That’s correct. The fact that all of our stock ware and the agents work off the same platform allows us to divert calls or pass calls to those at-home agents all within the same system. The beauty of this is it will actually handle the overflow work, but we’ll still be able to track it as one cloud contact center.
Andrew: Got it, got it. Twenty-thousand agents in the U.S. today.
John: That’s correct. Twenty-thousand at-home agents.
Andrew: That’s significant. There’s a couple of interesting applications here, right? If I’ve got a seasonal business where I need to be able spike up a bunch of agents during certain times of the year—that’s a very common request for LiveOps—but it’s also kind of in the disaster scenario, right? A part of the Eastern Seaboard is getting hammered with a hurricane or an ice storm. I can spin up agents in other parts of the country. Do you have examples of how that’s solving some real problems for businesses?
John: You actually helped me tell the story. When Hurricane Sandy came up the East Coast, we actually ran our platform in an active-active fashion. Meaning, from an agent perspective I may be talking to our Las Vegas data center or our New York data center. I don’t really control that, it’s just in the active-active fashion. As the hurricane was coming closer, we were moving traffic off of our New York data center over to Las Vegas. We actually planned for there to be some types of outages.
The one thing that we didn’t plan for is there was so much water where our data center was that the diesel generators actually ran out of fuel. At that point, the data center went completely down. The nice thing is that all of our customers and all of our traffic were moved over to Las Vegas. Vegas continued to run with no problems whatsoever. The really unique part of that is right after the hurricane, the Red Cross called up and said, “Hey, we’re going to do 12-12-12 telethon, but we’d actually like your agents to help to help us with that telethon.”
Not only did we have a down data center in New York, we had all of our traffic running off of our Las Vegas data center, and we also threw on another 3,500 agents just to handle that services event. Any time there’s a national disaster or any type of things like that we definitely work with the Red Cross as well as others to provide our services and help them out.
Andrew: Very cool. I love that. Another example is, let’s say a company has a large contact center deployed and it’s a premise-based legacy contact center, right? To be able to failover in that situation as well—where you can actually run your contact center that’s cloud-based in a pure standby mode, if you will, for agents that need to be able to go home and jump on. Am I correct?
John: That’s 100 percent correct. We have customers that, like you mention there, they already have the investment in the on-premise system and they literally just use us as an insurance policy, if you will, so if anything happens to they could continue to use our agents where they are or just send them home. It is very, very flexible and that’s the beauty of being true cloud.
Andrew: Got it. Very, very cool. For the partners listening here, the attendees listening: guys, if you’re building a BCDR strategy and you’re thinking though data and applications and geo-redundancy, heck, have the questions at hand about, “How do I protect my contact center,” and, “What can I tap into to leverage even ‘people’ resources, human resources that may be on standby to help me pick up the slack if I happen to lose a region of the country?” That could be very, very impactful for the business. John, thanks for jumping in, man. Great, great stuff.
John: Anytime. Thanks for your time.
Andrew: You bet. Guys, that’s John. He’s the Global Director of Sales Engineering for LiveOps, one of our go-to suppliers for cloud contact centers and an absolute player in the cloud contact center for your business continuity and disaster recovery strategy. Do check out LiveOps learning center here at the University. It’s chock full of tons of information about LiveOps and how they’re solving real problems for real companies in the cloud contact center space. Good selling.