AWS Adds Forecasting, Capacity Planning, and Scheduling in Amazon Connect

Amazon Web Services (AWS) today introduced Amazon Connect forecasting, capacity planning, and scheduling to help contact center managers predict customer service workloads, determine ideal staffing levels, and schedule agents accordingly.

Amazon Connect forecasting helps users determine future contact volume and average handle times. They can drag and drop related queues that can be configured in Amazon Connect into Forecast Groups and then use the "Create Forecasts" button on the Forecasts page to schedule forecasts for select Forecast Groups. Amazon Connect generates short-term and long-term forecasts for the Forecast Groups. The Forecasts page provides graphical and tabular views of the data, broken down by queue channel. Users can export forecasts in CSV format to use with external applications or to make precision changes to specific forecasted values and import it back to override the generated forecast and can publish the forecast to make it available for capacity planning and scheduling.

Amazon Connect capacity planning will help simplify long-term resource planning. Strategic capacity planners can run what-if scenarios with varying attrition rates, per channel service levels, average speed of answer targets, in-office or out-of-office shrinkages, maximum occupancy, overtime, and time off targets to determine staffing requirements for the next 12 months. Users create scenarios by clicking the Create A Scenario button from within the Planning Scenarios tab. The output of the capacity plan shows a week-by-week or month-by-month calculation of the forecast contact activity, required and available employees, and overtime or time off required to cover the gap between these two metrics. Users can supplement future shrinkage and available employee data via a CSV file import workflow or override capacity plans post generation to make precision adjustments before publishing them. Capacity plans can also be exported.

Artificial intelligence-powered agent scheduling simplifies generation of interval staffing and schedules for contact center agents. Users first define activities that agents would do during a shift, such as meeting or break, from within the Shift Activities tab, then define a Shift Profile .Once generated, they can view the generated schedules, failed constraints, interval level staffing metrics, and make adjustments to schedules. Once all schedule adjustments are complete, the scheduler can publish the schedules using the "Publish" button, and supervisors can make changes to the published schedules. Agents can access their individual schedules via Amazon Connect's agent application.

"Amazon Connect is now giving us a way to consolidate our processes for determining our contact center workload, staffing levels, and agent scheduling. This is incredibly powerful; it dramatically simplifies the current disjointed experiences into a unified platform for our managers and agents," said Bryan Carey, head of operations and analytics at Traeger Pellet Grills, an early adopter of the Amazon Connect capabilities, in a statement. "We have complete visibility to manage our workforce and optimize our contact center across both internal and outsourced partners, all within Amazon Connect. The machine-learning (ML) powered forecasting, capacity planning, and scheduling capabilities in Amazon Connect helped us improve our forecasts and staffing accuracy by over 5 percent. Our agents will now have a more consistent workload and more time for training, all while delighting our end-customers."