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Emergence of Quality Management/Liability Recording Suites
for Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises

By Donna Fluss, founder and President of DMG Consulting LLC

Quality Management (QM)/Liability Recording (otherwise known as Workforce Optimization, or WFO) suites have been growing rapidly in both popularity and breadth of functionality in recent years. Given the traditional cost and complexity of these suites, many of the early adopters of capabilities beyond recording tended to be large (250+ seat) contact centers. Now that pattern is changing.

Sales to small and mid-sized enterprises are expected to be a significant trend for the WFO vendors in 2008. Many vendors, large and small, have shown interest in pursuing mid-market clients. SMEs are clearly an under-penetrated sector and represent a significant new opportunity for selling these products. All of the large vendors have re-introduced or enhanced their solutions and have created marketing collateral tailored to the mid-market. Newer contenders, including CallCopy, KnoahSoft, OnviSource, Telrex and Wygant/TDI, are actively pursuing small and mid-sized (SME) enterprises and contact centers.

QM/Recording Suite Components

The core elements and capabilities of a comprehensive QM/Recording suite are expanding. End users now expect a standard QM/Recording (WFO) suite to come standard with the following:

  • 100% recording (TDM and IP), with advanced retrieval and playback features
  • Ability to record voice and accompanying screens simultaneously
  • Capacity to handle multi-channel transactions - voice, email, chat and collaboration sessions
  • Computer telephony integration (CTI)
  • Software for identifying and analyzing agent performance and trends
  • Reporting (standard and ad hoc)
  • Pre-packaged capability for integration with many automatic call distributors (ACDs) and IVRs/speech recognition applications
  • Application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development tool kits (SDKs) to facilitate integration with Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and other servicing applications
  • A single standardized platform (technology stack) for the entire suite
  • A single database that maintains one copy of recorded calls
  • Support for TDM and IP recording using a single interface and the ability to migrate between the two without replacing the rest of the application
  • A portal-based framework for delivering information to stakeholders
  • Scorecards and dashboards
  • A services oriented architecture (SOA)
In 2007, two modules, Speech Analytics and Workforce Management, were increasingly regarded as core components of QM/Recording (WFO) suites. End users making acquisitions expected to see these modules in the suites, even if they were not yet ready to purchase them. Contact Center Performance Management is likely to be considered a standard module within the next 18 months.

QM/Recording (WFO) Suites

Source: DMG Consulting, November 2007

The Year of the Small/Mid-Sized Solution

For years, many of the leading QM/Recording (WFO) vendors said that they were interested in selling solutions to small and mid-sized companies; at one time or another, many of these vendors had offerings specifically designed for this segment. However, until recently, we have not seen the leading vendors make a serious commitment to small/mid-sized companies. This is because their sales models did not scale down efficiently and it was too expensive for them to sell to the low end of the contact center market. Therefore, this market segment was left wide open for smaller competitors, including ASC, HigherGround, TDI (formerly Wygant) and VPI.

2007 was the year of the small/mid-sized solution for the QM/Recording market, as we’ve seen a lot of effort being directed at the mid-market. A number of the more recent market entrants, specifically CallCopy, KnoahSoft, OnviSource and Telrex, have targeted and built a “right-sized” offering for small and mid-sized businesses. These smaller vendors are pursuing this market segment, even as they start to sell to larger enterprises. The QM/Recording (WFO) market leaders, Verint, NICE and Autonomy etalk, are also doing a better job of competing for mid-market deals. Verint is using its Mercom (acquired in 2006) partnerships, and NICE is also selling through partners to this market sector; Autonomy etalk, which has always pursued this market, continues its efforts. The difference between 2007 and previous years was a growing appreciation of the importance and lucrative opportunities available in the mid-sized market. This is reflected in how the larger vendors are gearing up to compete for these deals.

Conclusion

Small and mid-sized contact centers can make excellent use of many of the capabilities of a full-featured QM/Liability Recording suite. Until now, they have been held back by products on the market that were either too complex, too limited in functionality, or too expensive. The good news is that there is a new generation of feature-rich, right-sized and right-priced QM/Liability Recording suites designed for small and mid-sized contact centers. It is time for SME contact center managers who have not assessed these products in the last couple of years to take a careful look at the latest offerings.

About the Author
Donna Fluss is the founder and President of DMG Consulting LLC, a firm specializing in customer-focused business strategy, operations and technology services. Ms. Fluss is a recognized thought leader and innovator in contact center and real-time analytics. She is the author of The Real-Time Contact Center and many leading industry Reports including the 2007 Contact Center Performance Management Market Report, the 2007 Speech Analytics Market Report, the 2007 Surveying and Analytics Report and the annual Quality Management/Liability Recording Product and Market Report. Contact Ms. Fluss at donna.fluss@dmgconsult.com.