Reality Check: WFO Solutions Must Be Rebuilt From the Ground Up
By Donna Fluss
A truly multitenant architecture—supporting cloud, on-premises, and hybrid solutions—is becoming a necessity.
Workforce optimization suites continue to evolve to keep pace with the needs of the market, and today that means innovations intended to align WFO suites with the ongoing digital transformation occurring in enterprises of all sizes. What vendors are discovering is this: Architecture matters.
Most WFO suites on the market have been cobbled together through acquisitions and partnerships, and vendors have not made the changes necessary to have a single and standard administration environment or to enable the flow of data between modules. It’s time for vendors to undertake a total rewrite of what are now 20- to 30-year-old architectures. This is a necessity in the era of agile development and especially for vendors that want to deliver a truly multitenant architecture to support public, private, and hybrid cloud deployment options.
FLEXIBLE DEPLOYMENT MODELS ARE A MUST
Most WFO solutions are now available in the cloud, although buyers should be aware that the path to the cloud varies among providers. For their part, WFO vendors should offer solutions for both public and private clouds as well as on premises. Companies might want to have a private cloud with just their own solutions, or realize the cost benefits from using a public cloud model.
In any case, WFO vendors need to rebuild their architecture from the ground up to take advantage of recent technological innovations for databases and integrations and make use of the many performance and reliability tools available from public cloud vendors such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. An even bigger challenge is the need to support different deployment models for the various modules in their WFO suites and allow customers to transition easily from one approach to another.
BUILDING ENTERPRISE WFO SUITES
For most of the past 30-plus years, WFO applications were intended for contact centers. Staff optimization is no longer an issue limited to contact centers; it’s a primary goal for most enterprises. Enterprises are looking for systems and best practices to help them improve the performance of all of their units, including their branches and back-office departments. They need solutions built to address the diverse needs of these departments, not retrofitted contact center modules. WFO vendors are starting to address these needs, and DMG expects to see continued innovation aimed at incorporating tools to handle the diverse and growing WFO needs of the broader enterprise. A new architecture can help in this regard, making it easier for WFO vendors to quickly add functionality to their suites. It also greatly reduces the cost of making system enhancements, which is important for WFO vendors’ ongoing viability and profitability.
EXPANDING THE PURPOSE OF WFO SUITES
As noted, WFO suites can help companies of all kinds, not just contact centers, optimize, analyze, and engage employees and customers. But vendors are not stopping there. The most recent innovation has been adding robotics to WFO solutions, bringing the vendors full circle to their original mission of optimization. The difference is that robotics can automate tasks and improve productivity and quality across suites while analyzing and engaging employees and customers at the same time.
These are good signs, because for the WFO sector to survive and thrive, it must transform. And the process is already under way. There is a great deal of work to do, and there is a lot at stake. WFO functionality is as essential as ever; most organizations recognize the need for these tools. The WFO vendors that will lead the market into the future are those that reinvent themselves and their solutions, starting with a new architecture that positions them to respond quickly to changing market needs. DMG expects to see major developments in the WFO sector during the next five years. Each vendor controls its own destiny, and it’s up to each of them to move ahead with the changes necessary to ensure the industry’s continued viability.
Donna Fluss is president of DMG Consulting. For more than two decades she has helped emerging and established companies develop and deliver outstanding customer experiences. A recognized visionary author and speaker, Fluss drives strategic transformation and innovation throughout the service industry. She provides strategic and practical counsel for enterprises, solution providers, and the investment community.