WFM Budget Prep
Illustration by Toke Frello

Workforce Optimization (WFO) technology has been a hotbed of activity as buyers and users clamor for new tools and seek to get more out of what they already have. Workforce Management (WFM) and Quality Monitoring (QM) have achieved widespread deployment. Performance Management (PM), agent development, and analytics present the opportunity to not just schedule the right number of people and provide QM scores, but to truly optimize operations.Per DMG Consulting LLC, the market for WFO tools is rather fragmented. Verint and NICE account for nearly 60% of revenue with the balance split among 20+ competitors. Smaller WFO vendors tend to offer cloud solutions, sometimes as their only model. Their solutions are quick and easy to deploy withIT—e.g., injixo, Monet, KnoahSoft (acquired by Avaya), Envision, Uptivity (acquired byinContact), and others.Acquisitions have been on the rise as the major players seek to be the “go to” company for all contact center technology. Vendors like to say “one back to pat” (how positively optimistic!) but users generally say “one neck to choke.” Here are just a few examples of the market changes that have occurred as a result:

  • Aspect long ago acquired a variety of vendors and is seen by many in the market as very capable with its WFO suite. They are the strong #3 in market share behind the two big players, Verint and NICE, according to DMG.
  • Avaya, another leader in premise contact center technology (who partners with multiple WFO suppliers and offers Verint through an OEM agreement), purchased Knoahsoft, a primarily premise WFO solution with a significant installed base with Cisco, among others. Avaya is now offering cloud WFO options with the Knoahsoft product as well.
  • Genesys, yet another leader in both premise and cloud contact center technology, has both built (e.g., QM, WFM) and bought (e.g., cloud) its way to a very robust suite of tools. One specialty gap they filled was speech analytics, purchasing one of the niche vendors in this space, Utopy.
  • inContact, a cloud solution provider of core solutions (IVR, routing and reporting across media), had been partnering with Verint for WFO solutions. They still do. But they also bought Uptivity (formerly known as CallCopy) and offer that WFO alternative. Verint is more likely to show up in larger environments with more complex functional needs, but it will be interesting to watch how the Uptivity products evolve in this new home.
  • Interactive Intelligence (ININ) is a leader in both premise and cloud contact center technology solutions and has built out its own WFO suite, which it continues to enhance. They purchased a niche player, BayBridge, for long-term planning, which most people do outside of WFM due to limitations of the tools to accommodate various scenarios. The BayBridge tool was used with many WFM solutions and still could be, but is now squarely in the ININ fold.

Because WFO holds so much potential value and gets at the heart of targeted areas for improvement, it’s easy to see why these tools sit on the top of many “wish lists.” A good starting point is making the investment in time and effort to get more of existing technology. Almost every center with any WFO tool has that opportunity. Then identify the next priority on the wish list.

Buyers have to spend a significant amount of time planning for and selecting the right tool, as well as learning how to apply it effectively once purchased and implemented. Success themes are: put the right resources and processes in place to use the tools, get ongoing education (not just implementation training), leverage vendors and third party resources, and have a bias toward action. It’s an ongoing process to optimize a contact center workforce, even with a suite of slick, valuable tools.