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The Transforming World of Workforce Optimization 

Workforce optimization (WFO) suites are undergoing a major transformation to align better with the needs of the digital economy. Changes are happening in many components of WFO suites. At the core application level, recording solutions are transitioning from hardware-based recorders to software-based solutions, to expand system capacity and eliminate the need to pay for and manage a large number of servers. Vendors are enhancing their quality management (QM) applications to convert them to omni-channel solutions that can handle inputs from phone and digital channels. Workforce management (WFM) solutions are being enhanced to better support back offices and branches. Vendors are also expanding their suites to include new capabilities, such as robotic process automation (RPA). These are just a few examples of the ongoing transformation of WFO suites.

Architecture and Deployment Models

It’s time for the vendors to rewrite their 20- to 30-year-old architectures and build solutions that are agile and multi-tenant. This is a necessity if vendors want solutions that are scalable, easy and cost-effective to maintain and enhance, and can support public, private and hybrid cloud deployment options. Most WFO solutions are available in the cloud, but buyers need to appreciate that cloud-based offerings vary greatly among the vendors. While DMG expects to see more enterprises purchase cloud-based solutions, WFO vendors still need to offer on-premise and cloud-based deployment options, allow their customers to select the appropriate model for each of their applications, and give them the flexibility to migrate from one model to another.

Enterprise WFO Suites

Contact centers have been the primary target audience for WFO suites for the most of the past 30+ years, but this is changing as companies look for ways to optimize, analyze and engage employees and customers in all touch points and channels throughout the customer journey. Companies want WFO solutions that are built to address the diverse needs of these enterprise departments, instead of retrofitted contact center WFO suites. Newer architectures give WFO vendors the agility to quickly and more easily innovate and add new functionality to their suites. They also greatly reduce the cost of making system enhancements, which is important for the vendors’ ongoing viability and profitability.

Expanding the Uses of WFO

WFO suites need to optimize, analyze and engage employees and customers, but the vendors are not stopping there. The most recent innovation has been to add robotics to WFO suites, which is bringing the solutions full circle to their original mission of performance optimization.

What’s Next for WFO?

WFO vendors have had a great run during the past 30 – 40 years, but it’s time for this market to transform. The process is underway, and there is a great deal of work to do, as a lot is at stake. Enterprises still need the functionality that WFO vendors sell as, most organizations agree that they require tools to help optimize, analyze and engage employees and customers. It’s time for

the WFO vendors to reinvent themselves and their solutions to respond to changing market needs. DMG expects to see changes in the WFO market during the next 5 years which will include major architectural and functional enhancements including AI. Each vendor controls their own destiny, and it’s up to them to make the necessary changes. Only those who choose to evolve will continue to thrive. For a detailed analysis of the performance of the WFO vendors, see DMG’s 2017 Workforce Optimization Mid-Year Market Share Report.

DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at