Quality management and recording suites capitalizing on shifting contact center market

Following a major transition period for the contact center market, expect quality management (QM) and recording vendors to come out on top, says Donna Fluss in her latest column. Winning vendors sell applications that facilitate this transition, have a rapid ROI, a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and improve the customer experience.


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The contact center market is undergoing a major transition – one that represents the biggest change in its 30-plus year history. After years of focusing on improved productivity above all else, contact centers are now opening up their operations to the rest of the enterprise by structuring and sharing unstructured contacts such as customer conversations, emails and chat sessions. Once structured, the information can not only be used...

by the contact center but fed into corporate analytics applications to enable all relevant constituencies -- the executive suite, sales, marketing, R&D, security, fraud and collections -- to take action that will both improve the enterprise's bottom line and the customer experience.

Winning contact center applications

Quality management (QM)/recording vendors that sell products that facilitate this transition, have a rapid ROI, a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and improve the customer experience, will do well during this transition. The quality management/liability recording market will continue to thrive during the next three to five years.

The QM/recording market has been an outstanding performer since 2003. In 2004, the market saw growth of 15.7% from the prior year, the best year in the market's history. The next year was another landmark year, breaking a billion dollars for the first time. The market increased its GAAP revenue by 10.3% to $1.025 billion.

This year has started out very strong with a number of vendors hitting record sales for the first half and giving positive guidance for the rest of the year. DMG Consulting estimates that by the end of 2006, the overall market will reach $1.122 billion, reflecting 9% to 10% growth, a very healthy rate for a large and maturing market. @25851

What are users buying?

DMG Consulting estimates that sales of VoIP-based recording will grow by 100% between 2005 and 2006 and by 70% in 2007. An increasing percentage of users are investing in IP-based recording solutions because of their increased flexibility.

Sales of QM applications are expected to increase by 12.5% in 2006 and 10% in 2007. QM applications growth is driven by continued penetration in large and very large contact centers, as well as by replacements of older solutions. Mid-size contact centers with 21 to 75 seats are also continuing to invest in QM solutions.

Contact center performance management applications are expected to see a substantial growth in sales -- 47.5% in 2006 and 27.5% in 2007. Growth is being driven by the need to align the goals of the contact center with those of the enterprise, which is essential as contact centers open up and begin sharing customer information.

The emerging speech analytics market will grow by 120% in 2006 and 100% in 2007. These applications structure contact center conversations and feed them into analytical applications to identify customer needs, wants and insights.

Sales of contact center coaching applications are expected to grow at a rate of 100% in 2006 and 80% in 2007. Coaching is an add-on to a QM application and a relatively easy up-sell for vendors, as the ROI and other benefits from these applications are high.

DMG Consulting predicts that sales of surveying applications will increase by 9% in 2006 and 10% in 2007. It is possible that improved solutions and workflow automation will help to further increase the adoption rate for surveying applications.

Premise-based vs. hosted offerings

Hosted QM/recording was introduced to the market in 2004, but real adoption came, albeit slowly, in 2005. Contact centers continue to show a preference for premise-based recording solutions, but adoption of hosted offerings is picking up as security issues are addressed and enterprises look for quick, easy, scalable and inexpensive ways to improve productivity, enhance the customer experience and reduce risks without internal technical resources.

The vendors

There are over 40 QM/recording vendors in the market which is great news for users purchasing or upgrading their systems. The leading QM/recording suite vendors, NICE, Witness, Verint and Etalk, dominate the market. Many other contenders also provide compelling solutions; these include CallCopy, Envision, Voice Print, Wygant and hosted vendor VirtualLogger. Additionally, a number of the contact center infrastructure vendors now provide QM/recording capabilities -- Aspect, CISCO, Interactive Intelligence, Nortel and CISCO technology partner SpanLink.

Final thoughts

Today QM/recording applications achieve their primary goal of improving productivity but go beyond that, helping to drive the transition to more open operating environments that share customer insights on a timely basis.

To learn more about leading and contending offerings in the QM/recording market, see DMG Consulting's 2006 – 2007 QM/Recording Product and Market Report, available at www.dmgconsult.com.

About the author
Donna Fluss is the founder and principal of DMG Consulting LLC, a firm specializing in customer-focused business strategy, operations and technology services for Global 2000 and emerging companies. Ms. Fluss is a recognized thought leader and innovator in CRM, contact center and real-time analytics. For over 23 years, she has helped end users build world-class differentiated contact centers and vendors develop high-value solutions for the market. She is the author of the book, "The Real-Time Contact Center" and many leading industry reports, including the 2006 Speech Analytics Market Report and the annual Quality Management/Liability Recording Product and Market Report.

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