Innovation Drives Workforce Optimization Adoption

The workforce optimization market has always been unique as a technology sector due to the innovativeness of some vendors. While components of WFO suites are mature, they continue to evolve, and new capabilities are continuously being introduced. Recording, for example, a 35-year-plus IT sector, continues to undergo change, and is now moving in the direction of Session Initiation Protocol–based recording, called Session Initiation Protocol Recording (SIPRec).

Analytics is being injected into the quality assurance (QA) process, giving companies access to information they have always wanted and needed. Back-office WFO is an emerging suite of capabilities, still in its infancy, which has the potential to deliver on the unfulfilled promises of business process management.

Automatic call distributor (ACD) vendors are entering the turf of their WFO partners, at the request of enterprise customers who want to simplify their operating environments by reducing the number of vendors and integrations they have to manage. And WFO vendors have started to get into the contact center customer relationship management market. WFO vendors are expected to continue to make investments and acquisitions that will keep them highly relevant for years to come.

Analytics Will Be Part of Your Future

Analytics will play an essential role in the future of contact center QA, an essential business activity that gives companies visibility into customer insights and needs. In the new generation of analytics-enabled QA applications, speech and text analytics are used to review customer calls and written communications (emails, chat sessions, SMS, social media conversations, etc.) to identify the interactions that require management attention. Identified issues still need to be reviewed by a QA specialist or supervisor in order to screen out false positives, where a phrase or sentence is mistakenly categorized as an issue when, in fact, it is not. Once an issue is confirmed, the reviewer must decide what corrective action to take, as the purpose of a QA application is to improve agent performance, not simply identify mistakes.

Although analytics cannot currently automate the entire QA process, it enables companies to review most customer interactions, instead of just performing QA on three to 10 calls (1 percent to 3 percent of all agent interactions) per month. It's time for companies to migrate from traditional and outdated QA systems and processes to an approach enabled by technology.

Back-Office WFO

According to recent DMG Consulting research, there are three times as many back-office workers as front-office (contact center and customer service) employees. Companies need to optimize the performance of their back-office and branch resources, and nothing they have tried to date has done the job.

Back-office WFO solutions (a work distribution and allocation solution supported by workforce management, performance management, and quality control) have the potential to help these people-intensive organizations reduce their operating costs by 20 percent to 40 percent while dramatically improving quality and reducing work duplication. Innovative companies have started to invest in these back-office WFO suites, even though they are still in their infancy. The current back-office WFO solutions are on the right track, and their providers are investing in making them easier to deploy and use. DMG expects this to happen in the next two to four years, but the pace of innovation will be hastened by end-user demand.

Contact Center Infrastructure Vendors Challenge the Status Quo

The status quo of the WFO market is changing as more contact center infrastructure vendors, also known as ACD providers, come to market with their own WFO offerings. Many companies are making it clear that they want to purchase recording and other WFO applications directly from their ACD vendor in order to eliminate the need for integrations and reduce the number of vendors they need to interact with. However, the WFO suite vendors are not sitting passively on the sidelines; they are continuing to invest in research and development to keep their customers loyal and engaged.

Final Thoughts

The WFO market continues to be one of the most innovative in the contact center market. WFO suite vendors are investing to deliver new capabilities, and contact center infrastructure vendors are fighting to capture a growing percentage of WFO sales. The market is hot. The winners are the end users who benefit from investments and innovation in this dynamic market. This trend is expected to continue as long as end users continue to invest in the future. So if you need something you don't see, ask for it!