Magazine article CRM Magazine

Workforce Optimization Rises above the Recession: Automating and Optimizing Work Processes Will Boost the Market for the Foreseeable Future

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Workforce Optimization Rises above the Recession: Automating and Optimizing Work Processes Will Boost the Market for the Foreseeable Future

Article excerpt

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Regardless of who's conducting the research, the message seems clear: The workforce optimization (WFO) space continues to grow despite the effect of the recession on many companies' technology investments. DMG Consulting forecasts 2008 revenue figures for WFO to exceed $2.5 billion. Gartner predicts the sector's revenues will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3 percent through 2011, while Data-monitor places its CAGR at 10.3 percent through 2013. Gartner analysts Michael Maoz and Jim Davies wrote that, by 2011, 20 percent of Global 100 businesses will begin to dismantle their traditional contact centers and move to an increasingly distributed model in part because WFO will have made "the need for the agent to be physically located near a supervisor increasingly less important."

And there are still greenfield opportunities, as well. Keith Dawson, senior contact center analyst at Frost & Sullivan, says 35 percent of respondents to a recent survey are not using workforce management (WFM)--a key technology in the WFO repertoire. (For more on the modules that WFO comprises, see Scouting Report, page 48.) He argues companies must have WFM in place, especially today. "From an end-user perspective, you're penny-wise and pound-foolish not to be using workforce management," Dawson says, calling WFO one of four major challenges contact centers face in a down economy. "The worse it gets, the more important it is to automate and use the most-effective headcount management system you can find so you're not wasting precious resources."

Paul Stockford, chief analyst at Saddletree Research, stresses that recruiting, hiring, and retention are sizzling hot in 2009, which is helping advance the sales of WFO technologies. "The basic concept hasn't changed in the last six years," he says. "I think it's been refined to the point where WFO technology has become more accessible and not quite so intimidating from a financial and operational perspective."

Companies are also finding the benefits of WFO extend beyond the walls of the contact center, a factor which strongly appeals to businesses, says John Ragsdale, vice president of technology research for the Service and Support Professionals Association. …

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