At VMworld 2016, we spoke with customers about how they are supporting digital business transformation (view our video interview above). Senior IT leaders, all describe a challenging but exciting multi-year journey, and all agree that technology is ever-more critical to business innovation, agility, and resilience. And they are embracing a customer-first approach. For end customers and employees alike, they want to make life and work easier, more convenient, more productive, and more fruitful.
Allied Global is expanding rapidly. In business since 2005, the company provides inbound marketing, outbound marketing, contact center, and business-process outsourcing services to a growing number of organizations. “Allied Global started in Guatemala with a single contact center and fewer than 50 employees,” says Manuel Gomez, the company’s technology and innovations director. “Today, we have more than 7,500 employees, with operations in Canada, U.S., Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras.”
That growth shows no sign of stopping soon. “Over the next 18 months, we anticipate growing to 20,000 employees,” Gomez says.
Expanding the IT Infrastructure
As Allied Global hires more employees to handle fast-rising customer demands, the company must scale out its infrastructure. “Initially, we had just one host and four virtual machines,” Gomez says. “Our top business priority is attending customers’ needs, and based on those needs we must be ready to grow at a moment’s notice.”
In some cases, Allied Global is the sole call center services provider for a customer. In other cases, the company might be one of several providers. Regardless, the company’s infrastructure must be able to deal with spikes in demand, which are typically seasonal. “Sometimes, our customers ask us to add 400 more agents in four weeks,” Gomez says. “We have to go through the process of setting up the agents’ workstations and bandwidth requirements and address all the required technical issues to make an agent operational in their seat.”
To accommodate these requirements, Gomez is embracing a hybrid cloud approach. A hybrid environment not only helps support long-term growth but also provides the agility to cope with short-term demands. “Over the past year, I’ve been reorganizing and restructuring our environment so we can take this step in including cloud services, internal cloud, and public clouds,” Gomez says. “In fact, we are going to be a direct-connect partner to one of the major cloud service providers for Central America and the Caribbean.”
The cloud also plays a key role in employee training. “Since all of our agents require training, we’re starting an e-learning training program,” Gomez says. “We are also providing technical training through vendors for their environments, such as networking, software, and virtualization.” Allied Global plans to deliver all e-learning training through the cloud.
Introducing New Business Models
The move to digital means Allied Global can handle not only the rising demand for call center services but also the introduction of new business models. “We have a very, very stable environment,” Gomez says. “Over the past year, we’ve taken the time to put all the tools in place so that we can oversee operations and have automatic alarms. We provide these services to our customers who only want the functionality of a network operations center or a security operations center.”