The Best Workforce Optimization/Engagement Management (WFO/WEM): The 2022 CRM Industry Leader Awards
Contact center analyst and consulting firm DMG Consulting in July reported that despite overall market maturity, many of the 36 leading vendors that sell workforce management suites to contact centers did a good job of marketing their products in 2021. These vendors generated contact center sales of $2.2 billion during 2021, an increase of $158.5 million, up 7.6 percent from $2.1 billion in 2020.
In the past few years, a new infusion of artificial intelligence is enhancing the capabilities of the individual applications, particularly in the areas of scheduling, forecasting, and demand planning.
And just as the applications benefit contact centers by improving the agent experience, so too can they benefit back-office and branch functions, which DMG says has the potential to be twice as large as the contact center WFO market.
In fact, by 2025, Gartner predicts that 45 percent of large enterprises with hourly workers and variable demand for labor will use automation to drive workforce scheduling decisions.
The Top Five
Alvaria, which formed last year following the merger of Aspect Software and Noble Systems, could now be considered one of the giants in the contact center industry. Its WFO/WEM capabilities are “very complete and comprehensive,” according to Dick Bucci, founder and chief analyst at Pelorus Associates. “As the first company to even launch a workforce scheduling solution, Alvaria has continued to lead the way in terms of features, functionality, and customer support,” he adds.
With a huge influx of capital following its purchase by Thoma Bravo in early 2021, Calabrio, which was already a strong WFO/WEM contender, gained a lot of market momentum. The deal, valued at approximately $1 billion, gave Calabrio the financial resources it needed “to change strategic direction from providing economical, highly functional, and reliable WFO solutions for midsize companies to more highly advanced products for the large enterprise market,” Bucci observes. And the company’s purchase of Swedish firm Teleopti in 2019 gave it a global footprint capable of supporting international companies of any size.
Genesys, which doesn’t have as long a standing in the WFO space as many of the other top vendors, has invested heavily in this area in the past few years, and analysts have noticed. John Ragsdale, vice president and research director at the Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA), says Genesys has transformed its customers with automated quality monitoring and a partner ecosystem that “constantly pushes the boundaries of innovation.”
Sheila McGee-Smith, founder and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics, doesn’t mince words when it comes to NICE, saying that it “delivers a great best-of-breed solution that works with any contact center solution” and adding that the vendor also “delivers the best suite of WEM solutions as part of a broader customer experience platform, CXone.” And the innovations keep coming. “There are no gaps in the NICE WFO product line,” Bucci says. “In fact, NICE has expanded the traditional WFO product family to includes suites for journey orchestration, automation, and CX analytics.” Bucci sees even more value coming to NICE customers “from the unification of analytics, performance management, and workforce management.”
Verint has probably been in the WFO/WEM space the longest, and its experience shows. “Verint’s portfolio for contact centers and back-office operations encompasses virtually every touchpoint of activity that stands between the customer and the enterprise,” Bucci says, noting that the company also distinguishes itself by addressing larger contact centers with up to 300 agents. “Verint’s key benefit today is its continuing support for both cloud and on-premises contact center solutions,” McGee-Smith says, noting that the company provides customers “consistent coverage from, for example, Avaya to Amazon Connect, as a company migrates.” The company has advanced its product even further recently with the addition of Verint Real-Time Agent Assist, which Ragsdale says “provides real-time voice analytics and quality monitoring, enabling faster feedback for support techs,” which facilitates real-time coaching.” Ray Wang, founder and chairman of Constellation Research, observes that Verint’s customers “love their core WFO and their ability to use AI to augment productivity and improve workforce engagement.”
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