Gartner's latest evaluation of the contact center workforce optimization (WFO) market revealed a shifting dynamic.
Increasingly, organizations want to source their WFO suite from their contact center infrastructure vendors, according to the latest “Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Workforce Optimization.”
"If you look at the infrastructure vendors, pretty much all of them have WFO capability directly, they OEM someone else's or are looking to drive some sort of partnership," said Jim Davies, analyst with the Stamford, Conn.-based research firm and author of the report. "It's an interesting sort of shakeup in the marketplace. In most places they've viewed them as separate investments. Those days are starting to come to an end."
And the bias is toward the infrastructure vendors. Contact centers are looking for WFO capabilities (call recording, call monitoring, scheduling, coaching, e-learning) combined with Internet Protocol-based platforms that include interactive voice response and router and dialer capabilities.
"Most large organizations already have the bedrocks -- recording and workforce management," Davies said. "In greenfield sites they may buy the entire suite. If a company has those two bedrocks [as a] foundation, and one needs replacing, they tend to replace from the infrastructure vendor, but I'm not seeing people rip out existing investments."
Davies suggests contact centers making a change in their software stack think carefully.
"Anybody that's looking to upgrade any component of their WFO stack -- recording, scheduling -- the first place to start is with the infrastructure vendor. Sometimes the infrastructure vendor isn't mature enough yet. They're still working on partnerships or OEM and they'll need to go to best-of-breed, but that's not always the case."
The Magic Quadrant itself doesn’t differ significantly from the 2009 WFO Magic Quadrant. It lists Nice Systems and Verint Systems Inc. as leaders, Aspect Software as a challenger and Calabrio and Interactive Intelligence as niche players. There were no visionaries.
Gartner's Magic Quadrant methodology places vendors that meet its inclusion criteria into one of four quadrants – leaders, challengers, visionaries and niche players -- based on "completeness of vision" and "ability to execute."
However, while the list of WFO vendors is currently a short one, that could change in the next 12 months. The report lists a number of vendors making inroads to the market that could emerge in 2011, including Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc., LiveOps Inc., KnoahSoft Inc., CallCopy Inc., Voice Print International Inc., Envision Telephony Inc., Telrex, inContact Inc., and OnviSource Inc.
"The vendors in that space are maturing -- there's more integration between components, better analytics," Davies said.
In fact, there's been a fair amount of interest in speech analytics recently as it's become more reliable and accurate, he added.
It’s not just standalone WFO vendors and contact center infrastructure (CCI) vendors either; CRM suite vendors are beginning to move into the market as well.
"Those three building blocks are coming together," Davies said. "The bigger trend is CCI and WFO vendors. There are signs on the CRM side, but it's the early days for that. With the CRM vendors, there's much more of a desire to forge relationships. There's nothing concrete out there yet."