The Best Workforce Optimization (WFO): The 2021 CRM Industry Leader Awards

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The Market

DMG Consulting last year valued revenue for the global contact center workforce optimization market at $2.1 billion, up only slightly from 2019’s total. The primary drivers of the market during the past year were digital transformation and migration of contact center solutions to the cloud. Cloud/hosted/software-as-a-service (SaaS) revenue increased by 64.6 percent, from $492.2 million in 2019 to $810.0 million in 2020, far outpacing on-premises revenue.

The market is also narrowing for stand-alone WFO providers, according to DMG’s research, which notes that in the past five years companies have begun looking to their cloud-based infrastructure vendors as general contractors capable of providing fully integrated WFO suites. This is driving cloud-based contact center vendors to either acquire WFO solution providers or to build their own capabilities. CRM vendors are also expanding their offerings to include WFO capabilities.

The Top Five

Aspect Software carved out quite a niche for itself in the workforce optimization market, especially among larger contact centers that require a lot of scalability. Now following its merger in May with Noble Systems and a subsequent rebranding as Alvaria, the company is positioned for further market dominance. Large enterprise customers will especially see big benefits through innovations to come, but even more important, analysts expect the move to spur more acquisitions as vendors vie for customers and market share.

Fueled by an influx of cash following its acquisition by private equity firm Thoma Bravo in March, Calabrio is only expected to push more investment into its Calabrio One workforce engagement product line. But even before the Thoma Bravo deal, Calabrio had been enhancing Calabrio ONE to provide at-home or office-based agents with comprehensive self-service, predictive analytics, coaching, and reporting capabilities and connect workforce management (WFM) to quality management and analytics within a single suite. “Calabrio’s deep partnerships with both established and up-and-coming cloud-based contact center vendors have put the company in an excellent position to enable digital transformation with enterprises of all sizes,” said Mike Hoffmann, a principal at Thoma Bravo, in a statement at the time of the acquisition.

Genesys has taken full advantage of the cloud when it comes to workforce optimization solutions, with workforce engagement solutions firmly embedded in its Genesys Cloud CX and Genesys Multicloud CX products. Those products have made Genesys “a good single-vendor choice” for customers looking for complete contact center capabilities, according to Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics. Beyond that, “Genesys continues to invest in [artificial intelligence] and other capabilities to drive employee optimization and an improved customer experience,” says Rebecca Wettemann, principal at Valoir.

NICE consistently ranks among the top vendors in WFO, and with good reason. This year the company was particularly active in bringing its Enlighten artificial intelligence engine, real-time behavioral insights, and significantly improved guidance, recording, performance monitoring, coaching and other capabilities to its product suites. In addition to its complete suites, though, the company also this spring launched Agile Workforce Engagement Management (WEM), enabling organizations to virtually connect their employees under one roof irrespective of location and motivate and recognize employees. In general, NICE offers “great best-of-breed capabilities,” McGee-Smith says.

Though Verint Systems has undergone some significant reengineering in the past year, it is still one of the premier WFO vendors on the planet, according to most analysts. “Verint is still a leader and working to reframe its approach in the cloud,” McGee-Smith maintains. Verint’s industry leadership can be seen in the number of companies that have partnered with Verint to bring its WFM solutions to their own contact center offerings. These include Fuze and 8x8, both of which inked integration partnerships with Verint in just the past few months. “Joining forces with Verint enables us to further expand our workforce management offerings with market-leading solutions,” said Dave Sipes, CEO of 8x8, in a statement.

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