The Best Workforce Optimization (WFO): The 2020 CRM Industry Leader Awards

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The Market

Pelorus Associates predicts that global demand for contact center and back-office workforce management solutions will reach $820 million in 2024, up from $605 million in 2019. Growth drivers include improving the customer experience, a preference for dealing with human agents, new technology, and cloud migration. This forecast is less bullish than the analyst’s 2018 report due to the impacts of COVID-19 on key markets, such as financial services and travel, as well as the slowing growth of the agent population.

Three vendors, Aspect Software, NICE Systems, and Verint Systems, continue to dominate the workforce optimization market with an aggregate market share of 77 percent, which is virtually unchanged since 2008 when the same three leaders claimed a 78 percent share of the market, Pelorus reports.

The Top Five

Aspect has been in the WFO market since its early days, and has, in all that time, created quite a niche for itself, especially among larger contact centers that require a lot of scalability, according to Dick Bucci, founder and chief analyst at Pelorus Associates. Its largest client reportedly has 65,000 seats. This year saw it partner with Intradiem, and a deal with Microsoft brought its Workforce Management to the Azure cloud, but its software is also architected for Amazon Web Services, which Bucci says makes it “unique among WFO vendors.”

Though certainly no stranger to the WFO market, Calabrio hasn’t made as much noise as some of its industry peers. “Calabrio has been quietly stirring things up in the WFO segment, making acquisitions and expanding globally,” says Paul Stockford, chief analyst at Saddletree Research. “They also just scored a major industry coup with Cisco choosing Calabrio ONE to be embedded in its contact center solutions.” Beyond that, Calabrio has signed partnership with USAN, UJET, and Twilio Flex, greatly expanding its market share. Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting, calls Calabrio “one of the fastest-growing WFO vendors in the last couple of years,” noting that its acquisition of Teleopti in June 2019 “quickly made them an international competitor.” Bucci also likes its business model: “Calabrio ONE boasts standard features and functionality that other vendors charge extra for or require an additional module,” he says.

NICE consistently ranks among the top vendors in WFO, largely fueled by strategic acquisitions that have paid off. But organically, too, “NICE is constantly pushing the WFO envelope,” says Stockford. “In the past few years, they have established a reputation for redefining WFO, challenging the market and expanding the boundaries of a comprehensive WFO solution.” Fluss agrees, pointing out that NICE offers a “full-featured” WFO product, with its workforce management component equipped with 46 algorithms and the ability for the system to select the best one.

Though not quite as much of a household name, OnviSource has competed in the WFO arena for about 15 years. In that time, it has advanced as an “innovative company, offering solutions not available through other WFO vendors,” according to Bucci. “OnviSource is focused on bringing the capabilities of artificial intelligence, automation, and analytics all together in its solutions.” Unlike the other industry heavyweights, OnviSource is uniquely “geared and priced for the midmarket and dedicated to customizing offerings to the needs of customers,” Fluss adds.

Verint Systems, meanwhile, has staked its claim as the preeminent WFO vendor, according to most analysts. “The Verint name is synonymous with WFO. They remain the gold standard of WFO and have the history to back it up,” Stockford asserts. Fluss agrees, stating that Verint’s WFO is “the most complete enterprise WFO solution, addressing the needs of the contact center, back office, and branch.” That also makes Verint attractive to Bucci, who says Verint “checks all the boxes for applications that comprise the modern WFO suite. Verint is no stranger to robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics, but uses these strategically where they add value.”

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