Advances in Analytics and Multi-Channel Capabilities Drive Progress In Workforce Optimization Software
Workforce Optimization (WFO) products continue to maintain their long-term status as one of the most sought-after commodities for improving contact center operation According to DMG Consulting’s tenth annual Workforce Optimization Product and Market Report
, WFO solutions have been a top performer for 14 years, with contact center WFO revenue increasing nearly 4% from $615.4 million in the first half of 2012 to $638.4 million in the first half of 2013. Growth is expected to rise to 9% in 2014, and 10% in 2015 and 2016.
Companies are becoming more focused on bringing outdated solutions up to speed, enabling organizations to enhance the way they interact with customers. When a business replaces its outdated telephony, contact center and CRM applications, it often upgrades WFO solutions at the same time. Contact center executives and managers have a broad array of options in choosing the right products and the most responsive partner to meet their current and future needs for improving the performance of both front-line agents and back-office personnel. Intelligent use of big data, analytics and multi-channel and social customer care capabilities have become increasingly important considerations in evaluating WFO platforms.
Forward-thinking WFO vendors are making significant investments in their products and future direction. Evolv, Inc.
, a leading provider of big data solutions, just introduced a new version of their Evolv
Workforce Optimization Cloud, which incorporates a predictive analytics application called Evolv Insights that combines with their Evolv
Selection hiring and assessment application. The software utilizes big data to deliver predictive analytics, machine learning and workforce science to operations and contact center leaders who need to optimize hiring and management throughout the employee lifecycle.
Utilizing aggregated data about employee characteristics and their performance, which can include elements such as scheduling adherence or sales metrics, management teams can get a comprehensive view of how their workforce is currently functioning. Even more importantly, leaders can discover what are the true factors driving performance and how these crucial elements can be optimized. For example, Evolv
Insights allows managers to model different scenarios for achieving operational goals and then apply “what-if” analysis to forecast the impact specific changes will have on achieving them. As a result, companies can proactively improve the quality, productivity and performance of their workforce to align with business goals.
“It’s like ‘Moneyball’ for corporate America,” said Carl Tsukahara, Executive VP of Marketing and Product for Evolv
. He was referring to Michael Lewis’ baseball/business best seller which dealt with how the 2003 Oakland A’s employed an analytical, evidence-based approach to build a competitive major league team despite being in the sport’s lower echelon of revenue production. “Companies can use big data and predictive analytics to find, organize, manage and train teams that can improve NPS and customer satisfaction ratings. Big data allows you to pick the right players with the capabilities to not only provide exceptional service, but effectively carry out cross-sell and upsell functions.”
solution sits on top of WFM systems such as NICE, Genesys and others. The predictive analytics application offers exceptionally powerful capabilities and ease of use. “It’s like having a PhD in a box,” said Tsukahara. “But it’s not a tool that requires users to have an MBA to realize its full benefits.” The solution has the capability to evaluate years of service data almost instantaneously and feed it into predictive analytics, while filtering out noise. This rapid data integration employs Hadoop-based technology to bring new levels of speed and scale to the process of data alignment and readiness. Organizations can glean insights at various degrees of granularity, allowing them to determine the causal factors that determine which individual employees will be top performers and get a clearer picture of issues that might contribute to attrition. The solution can provide usable data on pay scales for comparable positions in specific geographic regions, helping users make necessary adjustments to retain staff.
To deliver exceptional customer experiences, companies must be able to access the data that can help them understand where they are excelling and where they need to improve. Oklahoma-based OnviSource
is focusing on these needs with the recent rollout of its next-generation OnviCenter 7 platform, which is designed to capture the entire customer journey and provide unified WFO solutions for both front-line agents and back-office functions.
Enterprises, traditionally applying workforce optimization to their front office or contact centers, can now apply OnviCenter 7 WFO capabilities to their back-office functions in order to significantly reduce costs and improve customer transaction fulfillment by managing quality and productivity, process analytics and automation and effective workforce scheduling.
“More companies are realizing the importance of having the capability to evaluate back-office performance,” said Anita Hubbard, Executive Vice President for OnviSource
. “Often, there are two or three back-office people involved with customers for every front-line agent. If an order is not processed properly, it results in a negative customer experience no matter how well the initial contact was handled.”
Speech analytics and desktop analytics enable organizations to analyze each step and see how long transactions are taking. Screen capture lets managers see which individual back-office staffers are having problems and creates a training opportunity.
OnviCenter 7 also adds a series of new WFO applications, complementing its existing suite with enhanced multi-channel capabilities. Enterprises will be able capture and analyze customer interactions across multiple touch points including voice, emails, text, chat, social media and Voice of the Customer (VOC) surveys). Multichannel analytics for calls, desktops and other media will enable users to improve their quality and liability management, as well as offer business insights and intelligence.
Brian Severson, OnviSource
’s Vice President of Product Management also noted that people on the system will have added internal multiple channels of interest. “Employees and managers will have new interaction capabilities and will be able to look at common data on their own devices, creating opportunities for customization and optimization.”
The updated solution offers new user interfaces and dashboards as well as a single web interface. OnviCenter 7 solutions are available through premise-based software products, cloud services, outsourcing solutions, or any hybrid combination, which eases the path to acquisition and adoption. OnviSource
works with customers every step of the way. Hubbard summarizes the company’s philosophy, stating “We pride ourselves on providing the information and knowledge customers need to make an educated purchase decision. We also offer custom lifecycle assistance service, maintaining constant contact through procurement, installation and training.”
The ability to customize WFO solutions to meet an organization’s specific needs is a vital concern. TelStrat
, which started as a supplier of OEM products in 1993, released its first branded call recording solution in 2000. The company has continued to evolve and advance the product ever since, adding new features and broad-ranging platform compatibilities The TelStrat
Engage Contact Center Suite enables companies of all sizes to capture interactions with customers at every touch point, deliver visibility into current agent performance, and provide targeted training programs.
’s product for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) and contact centers of up to 250 seats, offers call recording and WFO on a single server. The solution enables users to select custom configurations of screen capture, agent evaluation, coaching and training, speech analytics, and workforce management.
Engage Enterprise is built to meet the needs of larger contact centers, corporate campuses and multi-site deployments without “one-size-fits-all” compromise. The solutions are custom tailored to match the specific deployment environment. It provides centralized management of recording and archiving capabilities as well as integration into sophisticated IT infrastructure with virtual servers. It also integrates with third-party CRM and other back-office solutions. Engage Enterprise is an integral part of regulatory compliance programs for PCI-DSS, HIPAA and others. While Engage Unity and Enterprise are premise-based solutions, TelStrat
offers Enterprise Cloud, which is mainly focused on SaaS hosted server providers and also optimized for public or private cloud deployments by contact center outsourcers as well as multi-tenant environments. The solution hosts speech analytics and enables calls to be recorded on the same server as the source of the voice.
According to TelStrat
COO Dan Carroll, 80% of TelStrat
deployments have been Engage Unity and 20% Enterprise Engage, but the latter has accounted for half of their revenue. The company is now placing greater emphasis on enterprise sales and sees long-term growth in the cloud arena. ”We consider ourselves more responsive than the larger players,” said Carroll. “We can have our solution up and running a several days as opposed to weeks or month. Our strength in service and support, coupled with our ability to customize our software to meet specific needs sets us apart.” TelStrat is on the verge of a significant announcement in which they will announce plans to tighten their applications to provide additional capabilities.