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.
Therefore it seemed appropriate that Jacada, a longstanding supplier of applications for the contact center, entered the analytics market with its Insight product. This used existing capabilities to extract data from numerous business applications, not only to simplify the agent desktop but also to provide the input to Insight. At the time it wasn’t clear that this product hadn’t been developed in-house but was based on a third-party product Jacada had licensed. The more observant of you will have spotted that Insight is no longer referenced on the Jacada website and no longer supported. Apparently the licensing deal didn’t work out, leaving the vendor with no choice but to withdraw the product.
These things happen, but it is a timely reminder that when purchasing products you should carefully establish whether the solution is based on in-house developed and owned software or on a third party’s product. In the latter case, make sure to understand who is responsible for supporting the solutions you purchase and where you stand with regard to future use and support.
Keep in mind also that as more vendors move their solutions to the cloud, many are building solutions on a cloud-based development environment such as force.com from salesforce.com. It is equally important to acquire the same information regarding cloud-based solutions.
Fortunately for companies looking to improve performance by deploying contact center analytics, there are other vendors in the marketplace and more developing solutions. That said, we have to add that various acquisitions, such as Cisco buying Latigent and Genesys buying Informiam, have left only a few specialist, stand-alone solutions such as Enkata, HardMetrics, Merced Systems, Symmetrics and Upstream Works. In addition some suite vendors include analytics, among them inContact, Envision, NICE Systems, Verint and VPI.
I have been covering the contact center market for over seven years, and at last it seems that companies are beginning to see the benefit of analytics and adoption rates are climbing steadily. And vendors are responding – not just those mentioned above but also more specialist solutions based on desktop, speech, social media and text analytics. In these uncertain economic times my research shows that centers are still under cost pressures but now have the added task of raising customer satisfaction levels. To do both, executives, managers and agents all need better information. In my view analytics are the only way to get it. Has your company seen the light?
Richard Snow – VP & Research Director