WFM Solutions and Vendors Are Not All the Same
By Donna Fluss
The workforce management (WFM) market has hit an inflection point and is in the midst of a much-needed transition. After more than 40 years, a few WFM vendors are breaking out of the pack and introducing true innovation to the market by going beyond simply adding a few capabilities or a new user interface/user experience. The figure below displays the four categories of WFM vendors.
1. Market changers. These are the visionaries that are introducing new WFM or intraday management concepts and capabilities for front offices, contact centers, and branches.
2. Market performers. This group is composed of vendors that are investing in and enhancing their existing applications.
3. Market traditionalists. These are the providers that are maintaining their current product offerings.
4. Market niche players. This category consists of vendors that provide a targeted set of capabilities.
The WFM market is undergoing a wave of modernization, with some vendors finally introducing new technology, functionality, mathematics, and platforms. Market changers include intraday management providers that are developing new approaches and methods for WFM along with supporting software; an established vendor has acquired new algorithms that provide the foundation for a different approach. These innovators recognize the opportunity to vastly improve overall WFM performance and are making substantial investments, betting that many enterprises will transition to a new solution if it is significantly better than their existing one.
Prospects should find a WFM vendor and application that matches their culture and meets their functional requirements. Contact center, back-office, and branch WFM needs are becoming increasingly complex, but many companies still prefer basic WFM automation and capabilities. There are many WFM competitors and a wide variety of solutions to choose from. However, prospects must appreciate that there are growing differences among the WFM solutions, as every customer needs or wants something different.
WFM VENDOR BREAKDOWN
Annually, DMG undertakes an extensive analysis of leading and contending contact center/back-office WFM vendors. (DMG is a non-pay-for-play industry analyst/consulting firm and none of the vendors in DMG’s Workforce Management Product and Market Report or this article pay for inclusion.) Below are high-level company and product summaries of eight vendors and solutions that DMG suggests for consideration when making a WFM selection. Some of these are full WFM suites and others offer a limited set of capabilities, such as intraday management or back-office functionality.
ActiveOps, founded in 2005, is a privately held company based in the United Kingdom. The company, which has 103 employees, is a provider of back-office WFM optimization solutions and complementary consulting services. Workware is a cloud-based suite that provides the foundation for ActiveOps’s proprietary Active Operations Management (AOM) methodology for operations performance management and capacity planning. ActiveOps sells exclusively on a direct basis, targeting back-office operations with 200 to 1,000-plus seats.
Aspect Software, founded in 1973, is a global provider of customer interaction management and contact center and back-office workforce optimization (WFO) solutions. It also offers a purpose-built back-office WFO suite based on an OEM agreement with the U.K.-based eg solutions. Aspect, which employs 1,750 people and is headquartered in Phoenix, sells primarily on a direct basis, targeting environments with 50-plus seats. Aspect EQ Workforce Management can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud as an integrated component of Aspect’s WFO suite, or on a stand-alone basis. EQ Workforce Management comes standard with out-of-the-box integrations to leading automatic call distributors (ACDs) in the market.
Calabrio is a global provider of contact center WFO and analytics solutions. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company was founded in 2007 and has 260 employees. In September 2016 KKR, a global investment firm, acquired Calabrio; this will enable Calabrio to speed up development, increase sales/marketing, and expand its presence in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC). Calabrio’s sweet spot is contact centers with 50 to 1,500 seats. It sells primarily on an indirect basis but also has partnerships with Cisco and Five9. Calabrio Workforce Management is available on-premises, in the cloud, or as a hybrid solution. It is sold as an integrated component of the Calabrio ONE WFO suite and as a stand-alone solution that integrates to leading ACDs.