Employment Growth Accelerates; Up More Than 5% in a Year
With strong growth in May and significant upward revisions of April's number, IT employment crossed another milestone posting more than 5% growth year-over-year.
The number of IT jobs grew 0.27 percent sequentially last month to 4,449,200, according to TechServe Alliance, a collaboration of IT & Engineering Staffing and Solutions firms, clients, consultants and suppliers. With the upward revision in April's numbers from 0.24 to 0.53 percent, IT employment has grown by 5.43% since May 2012 adding almost 230,000 IT workers.
43% of US Contact Centers Now Offer a Web Chat Option to Customers
New research published by ContactBabel, contact center industry analysts, reveals that web chat (or instant messaging) is one of the fastest-growing technologies used by US contact centers. 43% of this year’s survey respondents offer web chat as a customer service channel, compared to only 15% five years ago, with volumes of web chat increasing by 125% over the same timescale.
Furthermore, 18% of respondents state that they intend to implement web chat over the next 12 months, the highest of any of the 13 contact center technologies surveyed in the report.
The report's author, Steve Morrell, commented:
"While web chat has been around for many years, we are seeing a definite increase in the use of this channel, which has huge potential. The real-time nature of web chat means it is akin to a voice conversation in immediacy, giving it an advantage over email. Multiple concurrent web chat sessions can be run, cutting cost per interaction, which means there are sound commercial reasons for businesses to support this channel.
“Survey respondents indicate that the cost of a web chat is roughly equivalent to that of an email – around $3.50 – which is less than half the cost of a typical phone call.
“Web chat is ideally suited to provide assisted service, in case where a customer has tried to use a website but cannot find the information that they are looking for. Customers do not have to break from the website in order to call a business, but can quickly and seamlessly move from self-service to assisted service, improving customer satisfaction, cutting call queues and closing more sales. Furthermore, the rise in smartphone usage means that customers will access websites through mobile devices more often, and will require an assisted service option in case the less feature-rich mobile website does not have what they require.”
"The US Contact Center Decision-Makers' Guide (6th edition - 2013)", is a major study of over 200 US contact center operations, looking at all areas of performance, investment, technology, HR and strategy. The study can be downloaded at www.contactbabel.com.
Twelve percent of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed recently expect to expand their IT teams in the third quarter of 2013, according to the just-released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report. This compares to 14 percent in the previous quarter. In addition, 56 percent plan to hire for open IT roles, 26 percent expect to put hiring plans on hold, and 6 percent plan to reduce their IT staff in the third quarter.
In the same survey, 85 percent of CIOs said they were somewhat or very confident about their companies' prospects for growth in the third quarter, and 63 percent felt somewhat or very confident in their firms' third-quarter investment in IT projects.
U.S. IT Hiring Forecast*
CIOs planning to add more staff to IT departments:
Q2 - 14%, Q3 - 12%
CIOs planning to hire only for open IT roles
Q2 - 61%, Q3 - 56%
CIOs planning to put IT hiring plans on hold
Q2 - 22%, Q3 - 26%
CIOs planning to reduce their IT staff
Q2 - 2%, Q3 - 6%
Don't know future hiring plans
Q2 - 1%, Q3 - 1%
*Numbers do not total 100 percent due to rounding.
The IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. The survey is based on more than 2,300 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies in 23 major metro areas with 100 or more employees. Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis and has been tracking IT hiring activity in the United States since 1995.
In terms of recruiting, 69 percent of CIOs said it's somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today. It is most difficult to find skilled talent in the functional areas of networking (18 percent), data/database management (14 percent) and help desk/technical support (13 percent).
Confidence in Business Growth and IT Investments
The survey results suggest that CIOs are optimistic about their companies' growth and IT investments: Eighty-five percent reported being somewhat or very confident in their companies' prospects for growth in the third quarter of 2013.
Sixty-three percent of CIOs also said they were somewhat or very confident that their firms would invest in IT projects in the third quarter of 2013.
Skills in Demand
Among the technology executives surveyed, 55 percent said that network administration and database management were the skill sets in greatest demand within their IT department. Desktop support followed closely, with 54 percent of the response.
Worldwide Software Market Forecast to Continue on Modest Growth Trajectory Through 2017, According to IDC
International Data Corporation (IDC) released the latest forecast from the Worldwide Semiannual Software Tracker. For 2012, the worldwide software market grew 3.6% year over year, less than half the growth rate experienced in 2010 and 2011. IDC believes these results mark the beginning of a more conservative period of growth. The forecast growth rate for 2013 is 5.7% while the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the 2012-2017 forecast period is 6.3%.
The collaborative applications software category is forecast to have the highest growth in the short term (2013). This category includes social software, which is growing from a lower revenue base. The collaborative applications category is also experiencing more cloud deployments than other categories and this represents new software investments. The structured data management software category is expected to show the strongest growth over the five-year forecast period with a 9.3% CAGR from 2012-2017, fueled by faster growth in the last 2-3 years of the forecast. Data management is at the core of the information-driven economy and will play a critical role in the implementation of Big Data and analytics.
On a regional basis, the emerging economies will experience stronger growth than in mature economies. The average 2012-2017 CAGR for Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Latin America, and Central Eastern, Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) is 8.8% while the average CAGR for the mature regions – North America, Western Europe, and Japan – is 5.0%. The emerging regions have been gaining almost 0.7% of market share every year since 2008 and they are expected to represent almost 19% of global software revenues in 2017.
Deloitte Consulting's 2013 Global Contact Center Survey Results
Contact centers continue to grow in size and strategic importance, creating a need for structured operations and processes and flexible technology to adapt to change. Deloitte Consulting LLP recently conducted a survey to help understand contact center industry leaders’ perspectives on both current and forward-looking topics across the dimensions of contact center strategy, operations, people and technology.
Key insights from the 2013 Contact Center Survey:
1) Contact centers continue to grow in size & strategic importance
77% of contact centers expect to maintain or grow in size in the next 12 - 24 months
Expansion plans are driven by the need to improve service and/or to support business growth
2) Location strategies continue to shift
36% of organizations are actively or planning to relocate contact center facilities
The United States is the location of choice for many relocation and/or growth plans
Access to labor is an important consideration for choosing a possible expansion location
3) Volume is growing across all channels
All contact channels expect volume growth in the next 12-24 months, with Email (46%) and Social Media (38%) anticipating the largest growth
Specific channel growth differentiates by industry and closely ties to industry-specific contact center maturity
4) Customer experience is a competitive differentiator
62% of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator
40% of organizations have dedicated customer experience resources
82% recognized “Accuracy and quality of information” as the most important customer experience attribute
5) Multi-channel contact centers are now expected
85% of respondent organizations support multi-channel customer interactions
Today, 33% of contact centers provide social media contact channels
92% of organizations that view customer experience as a differentiator offer multiple contact channels
6) The struggle to balance cost and quality continues
56% of organizations believe cost and quality management are equally important
Cost becomes more important in larger contact centers and contact center organizations with more outsourced and remote resources
7) Contact Center leaders balance multiple reporting relationships
Overall, there is a 50-50 split between single and multiple function reporting relationships for contact center leaders
However, nearly ¾ of contact center leaders have a multi-functional reporting relationship when contact centers span multiple regions
Contact center leaders report to Operations or Business Units most frequently
8) Call monitoring emerges to be the top customer feedback mechanism
55% of organizations believe “Call / Contact monitoring” to be the most effective way to gather customer feedback
Direct Customer Feedback via the web or email and Customer surveys continue to be a popular method for capturing customer feedback
Social media listening has not emerged for capturing customer feedback
9) Integrated reporting continues to grow in importance
62% of organizations have completely-or somewhat-integrated reporting and analytics
87% will either keep or extend the level of cross-channel integrated reporting and analytics