Recently I wrote that Genesys is transforming itself from a near-pure-play CTI/call routing vendor into an agent performance and customer experience management vendor. If you look at its parent company, Alcatel-Lucent, you can begin to understand why. Alcatel-Lucent has three basic businesses – voice networks, data networks and Genesys. Its 2010 results show that voice represents 48 percent of the business, data 21 percent and Genesys 31 percent; growth came from its data networks and Genesys units. Indeed, Genesys saved the day for the 2010 results with “a major turnaround” in the fourth quarter; otherwise one suspects 2010 would have been flat at best. Genesys’ success came not from its traditional communications businesses but from its newer intelligent workload distribution (iWD), workforce management optimization (WFO) and analytics services.
NICE Systems has announced its financial results for 2010, and they make impressive reading in what many consider a difficult market, for contact center systems. I’m not prone to quoting financial figures, but with revenues up to US$695 million (from US$589 million) and non-GAAP profit and margin up to US$451.9 million and 65%, respectively (from US$371.1 million and 63.1%), it certainly seems NICE’s customers are in safe hands. The company also is generating lots of cash, so potential competitors and acquisition targets should beware; this is where the surprise mentioned in my title comes in.
My latest research into contact center analytics shows how important it has become for companies to improve the way they monitor and assess the performance of their centers. In fact 41% said they could significantly improve the performance of their centers by using analytics, and 47% think they could improve somewhat. Their main requirements are to have more real-time operational analysis and metrics – that is, better insights into what is going on in their centers at the moment people need to know it and a more balanced set of metrics that mixes pure efficiency metrics (such as queue lengths and hold times) with effectiveness or outcome metrics such as first-call resolution, up-sales and customer retention rates; they also want capabilities that are simple to use but effective.
In the contact center market Genesys is synonymous with computer/telephony integration (CTI) and call routing. It was the first vendor to combine routing of calls to agents and using CTI to pop screens onto the agent’s desktop when the call was put through. Genesys has been adding products to its portfolio and now has expanded into what Ventana Research terms agent performance management (APM) and our benchmark research. Many vendors and other analyst firms use the term workforce optimization (WFO) to included applications such as call recording, quality monitoring, workforce management and agent-focused performance management and analytics. At Ventana Research we add call routing, training and coaching and compensation management to the standard WFO applications, hence APM. Our premise is that if you want to provide to customers the best possible experiences, you must do more than just have enough agents online to serve them; you also need to make sure that the call is routed to the right agent, that agents hone their skills to the highest level to resolve as many interactions as possible at the first attempt and that agents that achieve their goals are rewarded appropriately.