Workforce Optimization's Winners and Losers
Text analytics (TA). This is the killer app in the world of social customer care, as TA solutions structure and find insights in written interactions. The challenge: Social customer care has not yet caught on. But as the volume of social interactions increases, companies will need structured programs to address them. Since the base for TA is low, DMG expects to see strong growth in this segment, though it may not take off the way it should. DMG predicts the market will grow by 20 percent in 2015, 22 percent in 2016, and 25 percent in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Desktop analytics (DA). This broad grouping of capabilities captures everything employees do at their desktops; it also provides workflow and process automation functionality that can substantially improve the performance of both front- and back-office operating groups. DA is increasingly used in back offices to track employee work items. The user base for this relatively new analytical capability is low, which gives it great potential for growth. DMG expects the DA market to grow by 30 percent in 2015 and 2016, and by 25 percent in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Enterprise feedback management (EFM)/surveying. This segment has undergone extensive enhancement during the past few years, with the solutions increasingly used to engage customers and alter outcomes. Most EFM solutions are sold in the cloud, and many come with professional services to help organizations realize their benefits. DMG expects this sector to grow by 16 percent in 2015, 17 percent in 2016, and 18 percent in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
eLearning. Considered a part of WFO suites, eLearning does not attract a significant amount of investment dollars, and in fact many open-source eLearning tools are quite good, so it's hard to build a strong business case for it. DMG expects eLearning to continue to grow by 3 percent per year for the next five years.
Coaching. Though agents need continuous feedback, many enterprises are not willing to pay for this functionality, and vendors have been meeting their customers' needs by including coaching functionality in a variety of other applications. DMG does not expect any significant revenue growth in this category over the next five years.
Gamification. This emerging application, which allows organizations to institutionalize a reward-and-recognition process for their staff, is just starting to be considered a part of WFO suites. A growing number of organizations are willing to invest in gamification as long as it's not too expensive. Although the base for this segment is very low, DMG expects it to grow at 15 percent in 2015 and at 18 percent or more each year from 2016 through 2019.
Customer journey analytics (CJA). DMG expects CJA solutions to become essential, as these applications give visibility into all aspect of the customer life cycle. A few CJA solutions are on the market, and more are under development. A great deal of what is currently considered CJA is a technology platform combined with and supported by professional services. DMG expects the CJA market, which currently has very little revenue, to grow by at least 15 percent in 2015 and 2016, 18 percent in 2017, and 25 percent in 2018 and 2019.
The vast majority of WFO applications are sold as on-premises solutions, although EFM and CJA are almost all cloud-based. Leading WFO vendors claim that their customers want primarily on-premises solutions, but this is changing. There is growing demand for cloud-based WFM, and interest in other cloud-based solutions is picking up. As with many types of contact center applications, the hybrid deployment model—with some solutions on-premises and others in the cloud—will be the most common model going forward.
Donna Fluss (email@example.com) is founder and principal of DMG Consulting, a provider of contact center and analytics research, marketing analysis, and consulting.