Skip to content

What is the difference between WFM and WFO?


  Printer Friendly Format    

What is the difference between WFM and WFO?


A workforce optimization (WFO) suite is a collection of 10 – 11 functional modules that work together to help companies optimize the performance of their workforce. DMG defines a WFO suite as a “collection of integrated modules designed to capture, analyze and give managers the information required to evaluate the performance of their department and staff, and the perceptions, needs and wants of their customers and prospects.” A complete contact center WFO suite consists of the following 10 functional modules:

  1. Recording – audio and screen recording for quality assurance, regulatory or speech analytics
  2. Quality assurance/management – determines how well agents adhere to internal policies and procedures
  3. Workforce management (WFM) – forecasts and schedules agent staffing needs; may include long-term planning capabilities
  4. Agent coaching – tools to communicate with agents to assist them in improving their performance
  5. eLearning – learning management capabilities that assist in the creation, issuance and tracking of training courses
  6. Surveying – Web and IVR-based solutions for creating, issuing, tracking and analyzing customer feedback
  7. Performance management – helps align contact center activities with enterprise goals; also provides scorecards and dashboards to improve the performance of the contact center
  8. Speech analytics (post-call and real-time) – captures, structures and analyzes customer phone calls to identify the reasons for them and to gather insights
  9. Desktop analytics – captures, tracks and analyzes everything that happens on the agent desktop
  10. Text analytics – software used to extract information from unstructured text-based data
The 11th module is back-office WFO functionality, which is used to manage and optimize the performance of back-office and branch resources.
A WFM application is used by contact centers (as well as back offices and branches) to forecast the volume of interactions they can expect to receive, determine the right number of resources with the skills needed to handle the forecasted volume, and generate optimal staff schedules at a given service level. Workforce management applications should also come with an intra-day management module to manage unplanned variances, real-time adherence capabilities to track whether or not agents are doing what they are scheduled to do, and agent self-service functionality to empower the staff to manage their own schedules. The more complete WFM solutions also include modules for long-term strategic planning, budgeting and timekeeping/payroll. WFM solutions can be purchased on a stand-alone basis or as a component of a comprehensive workforce optimization (WFO) suite.