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.
Intradiem, founded in 1994, is a privately held company headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga. Intradiem is the provider of Intradiem Intraday Automation Suite, a software-as-a-service (SaaS)–based platform for optimizing intraday staffing, schedules, and queue/channel assignments. Intradiem sells primarily on a direct basis, except in the United Kingdom, where most sales are through partners. Intradiem’s target market is contact centers and back-office operating environments with 500-plus seats. Intradiem Intraday Automation is deployed in the cloud and also offered as a managed service.
NICE is a public company (NASDAQ: NICE) headquartered in Ra’anana, Israel. Founded in 1986, the company employs 4,800 people worldwide. NICE consists of two global business units: Enterprise, which encompasses contact centers, trading floors, branches, and back offices, and Actimize, which provides solutions to mitigate financial crime and risk and to monitor compliance. (NICE purchased inContact in November 2016; the newly acquired company is being operated independently of its parent.) The sweet spot for NICE WFM (IEX) is contact centers with 150 to 1,500 seats. This solution is offered as an on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid solution that can be purchased as an integrated component of NICE’s WFO suite or on a stand-alone basis. NICE WFM has out-of-the-box integrations to leading ACDs. NICE has also recently come to market with a new WFM solution called Evolve, a cloud-based solution for small and midsize contact centers.
Teleopti, founded in 1992 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, is a best-of-breed WFM vendor, recognized as a leading provider in Northern Europe. The company has 170 employees worldwide, including a growing presence in the United States and Canada. Teleopti targets contact centers and back-office operating environments with complex business requirements and work rules. Teleopti sells primarily on an indirect basis, and its target market is organizations with 100 to 3,000 seats. Teleopti WFM is offered on-premises and in the cloud via partners. Teleopti has out-of-the-box integrations to leading ACDs.
Verint Systems is a public company (NASDAQ: VRNT) founded in 1994 and headquartered in Melville, N.Y.; it has 5,000 employees worldwide. Verint is a global provider of customer engagement and WFO applications for contact center, back-office, and branch environments. It also offers solutions for enterprise security and intelligence, fraud, risk, and compliance. Verint sells on a direct and indirect basis in North America and the United Kingdom, and via a network of global partners in the rest of the world. Its sweet spot is contact centers and back-office environments with 400 to 2,000 seats. Verint offers on-premises, cloud-based, hybrid, or managed-service deployments, and it has out-of-the-box integrations to leading ACDs.
WorkFlex is a privately held company founded in 2009; it has 40 employees and is headquartered in Cincinnati. WorkFlex specializes in intraday workforce automation and optimization applications. It sells primarily on a direct basis in North America and Asia and indirectly through partnerships with vendors such as NICE and Genesys in other parts of the world. WorkFlex’s SaaS-based solutions are deployed in the cloud and are also offered as a managed service. WorkFlex’s sweet spot is contact centers with 400-plus seats.
There are many more WFM vendors in the market, and DMG has analyzed many of their solutions. If you are looking at a vendor that is not included in the article, please reach out to DMG and we’ll provide guidance.
WFM remains the most important productivity tool in contact centers and is increasingly valuable because it can help companies deliver a personalized customer experience. Enterprises need flexible and accurate WFM solutions, supported by best practices that position them to realize the greatest benefits and return on their investment. Companies are also looking for enterprise-wide WFM solutions that address the requirements of their back-office operating environments and branches (including retail stores). Interest in (and demand for) full-featured enterprise-level WFM solutions has never been greater, and vendors are waking up to the opportunity.
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.