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Cloud-based Workforce Management Solutions Poised for Growth

 
December 09, 2009



In yet another testament to the increasing popularity of software-as-a-service or “cloud-” based call center applications, “cloud computing” is number one Gartner’s (News - Alert) recently released top 10 strategic technologies and trends for 2010.


While the report doesn’t specifically address the increasing adoption of cloud-based call center software, it does indicate that cloud-based, “on-demand” solutions, in general, are here to stay. This, of course, includes cloud-based workforce management solutions, such as Monet Software’s Monet WFM Live offering.

Although many organizations are still struggling with the decision whether or not to outsource their primary call center software platform (typically including core applications such as IP-PBX, ACD and IVR) to a SaaS (News - Alert) provider, or keep it on-premises, the decision to outsource certain “secondary” applications, such as workforce management, is less daunting due to the ease and speed with which these applications can be implemented, as well as the simplified integration and reduced “risk” that is inherent to the SaaS model.
 
The advantages of SaaS or “cloud”-based call center solutions have been well-documented: This model of delivery allows organizations to deploy call center technologies quickly and easily, with minimal upfront investment. Because the vendor is responsible for maintaining all hardware and network infrastructure, as well as application performance, this model reduces the strain on company IT departments

In addition cloud-based solutions offer superior scalability – as well as improved integration capabilities. What’s more, organizations automatically get the latest and most advanced call center applications without having to perform expensive upgrades or purchasing new software licenses.

With the cloud-based model, applications are delivered on a subscription basis, thus enabling an organization to “trial” a new piece of software for a few months to see how it works -- and if it doesn’t meet the company’s needs, it can simply cancel the service.

In November, Gartner released a report estimating that global SaaS revenue will reach $7.5 billion this year, a 17.7 percent increase from 2008 revenue of $6.4 billion.

The report, “Market Trends: Software as a Service, Worldwide, 2008-2013, Update,” predicts the SaaS market will show consistent growth through 2013 when worldwide SaaS revenue will total more than $14 billion for the enterprise application markets.

"The adoption of SaaS continues to grow and evolve within the enterprise application markets,” said Sharon Mertz, research director at Gartner, in a release. “The composition of the worldwide SaaS landscape is evolving as vendors continue to extend regionally, increase penetration within existing accounts and ‘greenfield’ opportunities, and offer more-vertical-specific solutions as part of their service portfolio or through partners.”

More specific to the call center software market, in September DMG Consulting released a report predicting that the SaaS or “cloud”-based call center solutions market will grow by 30 percent in 2009, 35 percent in 2010 and 20 percent in 2011, due mainly to the impact of the recession. Many companies, the report finds, are turning to cloud-based call center solutions because they can get the latest, cutting-edge technology without having to make a large upfront capital investment in new hardware, infrastructure and software licenses.  

“It is interesting to note that many of these companies are not risk takers in the classic sense, but rather companies that see hosting as an opportunity to do business differently, without a significant initial investment,” a release from DMG Consulting states.

Monet Software’s Monet WFM Live offering is a fully web-based workforce management solution that helps organizations significantly reduce their call center operating costs. This SaaS-based solution sports advanced analytics capabilities which enable call center managers to forecast, with a high degree of accuracy, how many agents will be needed for any given shift, based on call volume. This is key, since labor accounts for 60 to 80 percent of a call center’s operating budget.

Through integration with the call center ACD and other systems/databases, the software can generate accurate forecasts, not only based on past call volume (for example, how much volume the center saw last holiday season), but also on a wide range of other factors, such as a recently launched marketing campaign or promotion, or the demise of a competitor. This is in addition to the system’s basic scheduling capabilities, which can help call center managers increase schedule adherence, reduce shrinkage, boost agent satisfaction and improve overall call center performance.

To learn more about the Monet’s WFM Live offering, be sure to check out its newly-redesigned Website. Here visitors can access a Workforce Management Success Kit offering white papers and other resources designed to help organizations select a workforce management system.

Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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