Envision sells an integrated product suite that supports the three core areas for operating a contact center: customer management, agent management and interaction management. The latest addition to the suite, SpeechMiner, enables businesses to begin making full use of recorded calls, which in combination with other information should help business become more customer-centric. Ventana Research believes that maturing contact center technology like that from Envision will help organizations improve the efficiency of their operations.
Managing the performance of a contact center is a complex task because it involves two sets of people - customers and agents - who often have directly opposing objectives. Customers want their call answered immediately, they want to deal with an agent who can resolve their issue during the first time call, and they are not overly concerned with how long it takes as long as they get what they want. Agents, for their part, want to satisfy their bosses. This requires them to meet metrics that focus on efficiency, not necessarily their effectiveness in satisfying the customer. The situation is aggravated further by the inexperience of most agents - our research shows that 54 percent have less than two years' experience - and the absence of helpful technology at their desktops.
Envision's Performance Suite offers workforce management, quality monitoring, e-learning and business intelligence to supports the processes on which contact center success depends. That success requires having the right number of skilled agents available to answer when customers call. The Envision Workforce Management module allows businesses to forecast how many and what kind of agents are required and when, based on historical call patterns, to track targeted service levels and to extract statistics specific to the particular center. It can determine the most efficient schedules based on criteria such as traffic volumes, service level goals, cost estimates and agent information including holidays, breaks, lunches, scheduled coaching sessions, shifts, skill types, seniority and planned time off. It also supports what-if analysis that allows the business to balance agents' preferences and business needs.
The next step in achieving success is to monitor how well the agents actually perform. Envision Quality Monitoring allows businesses to record customer interactions either on demand or according to preconfigured rules, while at the same time capturing information about the application screens agents use to resolve the interactions. Using preconfigured forms, supervisors can review the interactions to assess agent performance and identify training needs. Reporting tools can identify trends and specific "hot spots" that can be addressed through training, process improvement and/or system changes.
Lack of training per se does not seem to be a problem. Our research shows that nearly half of agents receive up to six training days per year, and 32 percent receive more than 10 days. The issue is providing the right kind of training, at the time of need. Envision eLearning allows businesses to deliver targeted training directly to the agent's desktop, which maximizes the use of the agent's time as well as providing training when it can be most helpful. The module provides businesses with a complete set of tools that streamline the creation and delivery of personalized training, based on the output from the quality monitoring process; it should help agents improve performance quickly at minimal cost to the business.
Envision Business Intelligence provides tools to access and analyze data from the various systems within the contact center, so businesses can make decisions based on all the available data about customer interactions. It provides information to spot trends, identify process issues and predict customer behavior patterns. Envision SpeechMiner adds a new dimension to the quality-monitoring process. It utilizes the latest advances in voice analytics technology, going beyond simple keyword-spotting to capture meaningful intelligence from the context and emotions of the conversation. As a result, it recognizes and pinpoints important content contained in recorded customer interactions, turning unstructured data that was largely underutilized into an important source of information about agents' and customers' behavior.
The contact center performance management market is changing as new suppliers enter the market, established suppliers expand their offerings and some change their supply models from traditional on-premises licensing to on-demand hosted services. Since its formation in 1996, Envision has grown organically and now covers several key areas of managing the performance of not just the contact center but enterprise-wide customer interaction-handling. Customers have told us the software more than met their expectations without unnecessary "bells and whistles" found in some specialized products. Envision Performance Suite delivers value by allowing a reduction in staff levels to a normal baseline rather than having to staff to peak demand.
Envision face tough competition in this market from Nice and Witness Systems. Nice's recent acquisitions of IEX and Performix have added workforce management and business intelligence (BI) to its portfolio of voice recording and voice analytics. Witness Systems is now well along in integrating the Blue Pumpkin acquisition, and its alliance with Cognos adds a strong BI capability. All of this is good news for contact center managers, who now can purchase more integrated solutions rather than buying separate applications that require considerable effort to integrate.
Our research shows that over the next 12 to 24 months businesses will have to pay more attention to managing their customer interaction-handling if they want to stay competitive and significantly improve their customers' experience. We believe Envision addresses some of the key areas required to understand customers better, understand how well agents are performing and understand how interactions are handled across the enterprise. Ventana Research therefore recommends businesses evaluate Envision's offering as they begin the journey to improve the performance of customer interaction-handling.
About Ventana Research
Ventana Research is the leading Performance Management research and advisory services firm. By providing expert insight and detailed guidance, Ventana Research helps clients operate their companies more efficiently and effectively. These business improvements are delivered through a top-down approach that connects people, process, information and technology. What makes Ventana Research different from other analyst firms is a focus on Performance Management for finance, operations and IT. This focus, plus research as a foundation and reach into a community of over two million corporate executives through extensive media partnerships, allows Ventana Research to deliver a high-value, low-risk method for achieving optimal business performance. To learn how Ventana Research Performance Management workshops, assessments and advisory services can impact your bottom line, visit www.ventanaresearch.com.
2006 Ventana Research
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