Calabrio is a vendor of workforce optimization software whose core product is Calabrio ONE. It includes the common workforce optimization applications: call recording, quality management, workforce management and analytics. The company is rated Hot in our 2015 Workforce Optimization Value Index, VR_WFO_VI_HotVendor_2015and its product suite is the highest rated in the Usability category. Since our assessment, each of the modules has undergone upgrades, Calabrio has introduced more cloud-based services, and its analytics has undergone extensive changes to support customer experience management. The aim of these enhancements is to provide a single view of the customer that includes customer interactions across all channels, help companies streamline processes through workflow and automation, support more users and provide more deployment options. The Calabrio ONE Cloud Edition supports the full suite in a multitenant environment and is scalable to support companies of all sizes. It also enables users to store data, such as call recordings, in cloud-based services such as Amazon Web Services. I have reviewed these enhancements and note the most significant changes.

Call Recording has been redeveloped and supports a wider range of browsers, making it accessible my more users. Quality Management now speeds up the quality assessment processes by routing items that need to be assessed to the most appropriate person using configuration capabilities in workflow. Its assessment forms are more flexible, and it has enhanced capabilities for one-on-one coaching. Workforce Management has new tools for creating schedules, which allow agents to create their own schedules that take into account their personal time constraints, intraday scheduling for flexibility to schedule shorter periods of time that take into account voluntary time off, overtime and tasks that flow over one or more days, and workflow that automates many of the administrative tasks associated with creating schedules, such as individuals trading schedules. System reporting has also been enhanced so that administrators and users have a more complete picture of how the whole platform is working.

In my assessment the most dramatic changes are in Calabrio Analytics. In past versions the product focused primarily on analysis and reporting of workforce optimization activities; now it has been extended to customer engagement. Through an expanded set of integration tools, the system can ingest both structured and unstructured data from business applications such as CRM, ERP, HR management and workforce optimization, as well as from communication channels such as audio, chat, email, instant messaging and social media. To process all these forms of data Calabrio has added analytics tools such as LVCSR for speech recognition and phonetic processing of audio, as well as text and desktop analytics. There also are more visualization capabilities included in prepackaged versions that support common business processes such as predictive vr_NGCE_15_supporting_multiple_channelscall scoring, marketing effectiveness, agent performance by net promoter scores and call flow analysis. As in the other modules, users can customize these and thus see the information they need in their preferred formats when they need it.

Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement finds that integration is the most widespread challenge (for 49% of companies) in supporting multiple channels of communication; each channel typically uses its own system. This research also shows interactions are handled by almost every business group within an organization, and each of these typically has its own system. To support companies in providing consistent, omnichannel experiences regardless of who handles the interaction, integration is the key. Calabrio retains tight integration between its applications and has increased integration with other vendors such as Avaya and Cisco; for example, ingesting survey data now can be integrated into quality management processes. This enables the suite of applications to share data, support processes that flow across business groups and processes, automate calculation of key metrics and allow users in one application to drill down to data managed by other applications, such as being able to see interaction data that was used to produce a quality score. Calabrio doesn’t solve all integration issues, but its improved analytics and integration capabilities help companies develop integrated workforce optimization processes and provide a wider view of how they handle customer interactions.

I recently wrote that the customer experience is critical to business success in today’s digital economy, but providing consistently superior experiences is not easy. It requires giving business groups and individuals share a single view of the customer, enabling actions to be based on a single set of rules, and training and motivating employees to handle interactions in ways that satisfy customers. Companies wanting to improve the people side of interaction handling should assess how Calabrio can help those efforts, and as they do so they should examine how its analytics capabilities can broaden their view of interactions and help improve the overall customer experience.


Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

Through a continuing program of acquisitions and internal development, NICE Systems has transitioned from being a vendor of workforce optimization systems to one focused on aspects of the customer experience, notably voice of the customer (VOC), customer engagement analytics and customer journey mapping. It is also moving to cloud-based services from products installed on customers’ premises and is taking a business-solution approach (providing previously integrated and configured products that address specific business issues) rather than general-purpose products. All of these changes are evident in its latest services, which link VOC, real-time journey mapping and predictive analytics to address common customer service and engagement issues. The foundation for these packages are products I have previously covered – Fizzback for multichannel customer surveying and feedback analysis and Causata for a big data analytics platform that includes predictive analytics capabilities – along with its own customer engagement analytics platform, which can link customer data from disparate sources. The result, for example, is that journey maps can show all interactions on all channels a customer uses to try to resolve issues, including the customer sentiment at each touch point and the outcome of the journey.

The key to NICE’s portfolio is its ability to collect and share data in real time, and to integrate its products to create specific packaged business solutions. Using these enables companies to determine which customers are engaging with them, on what channels, what the interactions are about, what the outcomes are, what was “said” by both parties during interactions, the customers’ sentiments during and after the interaction, and how well employees performed. With this information companies can be more proactive in serving customers during and after interactions.

NICE currently offers seven packages: two that span operational improvements, two for prioritizing business initiatives  and three aimed at improving return on investment (ROI) for customer engagement. The first of the two that support operational improvements allows companies to determine customer effort scores at different points in customer journeys and initiate proactive engagement to reduce the need for customers to contact them in the future or to make future engagement easier. The second determines the reason why customers are engaging and the customer sentiment to guide employees in handling current and future interactions.

The first package for prioritizing business initiatives allow companies to calculate customer value and use this to influence future actions (for example, making special offers to high-value customers), and the second tracks the journeys of dissatisfied customers to identify potential process improvements that might result in improved customer satisfaction and net promoter scores. The first of the three for improving ROI allows companies to track journeys across touch points and identify actions that increase customer effort and churn (for example, not fully explaining how a product works) and change processes to avoid such actions. The second produces more granular customer segments to help drive more focused customer service and engagement in the future. And the third maps customer sentiment at different points in the customer journey so processes and training can be changed to impact the flow and outcome of future interactions.

Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement vr_NGCE_15_supporting_multiple_channelsshows that many companies struggle to support multiple channels to extend their customer engagement: Nearly half have difficulty in integrating systems (49%), manage channels of engagement as silos (47%) and give customers inconsistent responses (33%). The NICE packages help companies identify where these issues are occurring and more importantly their consequences; for example, if one business group gives customers information that differs from what they receive through a self-service channel, this could generate a series of other interactions that reduce customer satisfaction and increase operational costs. The real-time journey maps show what customers are doing and the outcomes, analysis ties together process and people issues and can recommend action, and predictive capabilities identifies changes to be made before counterproductive actions occur again. Using data from many disparate sources companies can link actions to performance metrics and at the same time show the benefits of change; for example, it can show variations in net promoter scores by customer segment and suggest actions to be taken for different groups, and it can tie customer value changes to actions, thus indicating the future actions that are likely to achieve the best return. In applying technology to business what counts most is understanding the impacts of actions. These NICE packaged solutions enable users to develop insights they need to make changes, and I recommend that companies looking to improve the customer experience give them careful consideration.


Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

Twitter Updates

Ventana Research


  • 58,424 hits

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 76 other followers

%d bloggers like this: