Having truly engaged contact center employees presents an opportunity for differentiation and risk mitigation, and requires adjusting the mindset and technologies to manage agents’ day-to-day roles. This vendor evaluation will help application leaders committed to this change make the right choice.
Workforce engagement management (WEM) solutions expand on the already mature workforce optimization (WFO) market by also accommodating technologies that help drive employee engagement within the customer engagement center.
WFO is an established multibillion dollar software market. Its emphasis during the past decade has primarily been to help improve the operational performance of the contact center. Key functional domains facilitate the recording and assessment of employee performance, combined with the ability to forecast and schedule staffing levels to ensure that operational service-level targets are met. Its core value proposition arises from the tight integration and workflow across these various functional domains (see “The Top 10 Cross-Function Workforce Optimization Processes” ).
This need to be operationally “well run” is still an important consideration and is at the heart of a WEM solution. But various key market shifts have occurred since the inception of WFO that now need to be factored in. Each of these factors requires much more emphasis to be placed on the employee (see “The Essential Shift From Workforce Optimization to Workforce Engagement Management” ).
Key areas of WEM functionality include:
- Recruitment and onboarding
- Evaluation and improvement
- Time management
- Assistance and task management
- Metrics and recognition
- The voice of the employee (VoE)
In addition to the vendors that provide a suite of functions eligible for analysis in this Magic Quadrant, there are vendors that are active in each of the individual submarkets, such as WFM or performance management (see “The Gartner CRM Vendor Guide, 2017” ).
Vendor Strengths and Cautions
Aspect, based in the U.S., is a privately held company focusing on communications infrastructure and complementary WFO/WEM capabilities (it was included in the 2017 Magic Quadrant for contact center infrastructure). Gartner estimates that Aspect generated $110 million in revenue from WEM in 2017, reflecting a similar number to 2016. This can be partly attributed to an increase in the percentage of cloud bookings. Aspect is embracing the complementary aspects of WEM, and offers several capabilities. One example is the Aspect Mila natural-language interface, which allows agents to ask for information (such as the start time of their next shift) or to make requests (for example, a shift swap or vacation booking) by speaking/typing into their phone. Aspect is positioned as a Niche Player.
- WEM commitment: Aspect is committed to balancing the needs of the enterprise with the agent and the customer. Beyond the traditional WFO features that help drive operational performance, the company also offers engagement-centric features such as mobile support, gamification, real-time assistance, a natural-language interface (Mila) and RPA. Aspect is aligning its R&D to what it feels are the expectations of next-generation agents (such as “know me” and “fit into my life”).
- Workforce management: Aspect’s WFM and performance management offerings within its overall WEM suite continue to be market-leading products.
- Cloud focus: Aspect continues to grow its cloud revenue business, which now accounts for approximately two-thirds of its WEM revenue.
- WEM functionality: Aspect has some limitations in its engagement capabilities, such as functional limitations in the ability to push work tasks to remote agents on a mobile device, and limitations in interaction assistance and personalization capabilities.
- Solution maturity: Aspect is currently still migrating some role-based functionality across to its newer user experience platform. This migration is complete for agents and supervisors, but power users/administrative roles still require access to the (somewhat dated) previous UI.
- Go-to-market: Although Aspect regularly sells its WFM solution to non-Aspect CCI environments, WFO/WEM suite deals are primarily sold as extensions to new or existing Aspect CCI customers. In addition, the sales organization’s emphasis continues to be on selling WFO as opposed to the benefits of WEM.
Calabrio is a privately held U.S. company owned by private equity firm KKR. We estimate that Calabrio’s WEM revenue for 2017 was approximately $115 million, up 15% over 2016, and we expect this momentum to continue in 2018. Calabrio is a growing force in the WEM market. It has a strong vision for WEM and is rapidly evolving its existing leading WFO solution to better accommodate agent engagement. Calabrio focuses on providing a unified suite of functionality delivered through a single UI. Its commitment to the experience it provides customers has helped differentiate it from some of its larger competitors. Its solution provides solid capabilities across the main building blocks of WFO, but does have some omissions in terms of the broader WEM market. However, the vendor’s vision aligns well with WEM, and its R&D program is moving it toward a future leadership position, in Gartner’s view. Calabrio is positioned as a Visionary.
- Integrated WEM suite: Calabrio offers a unified WEM solution accessed through an easy-to-use, role-based UI. All core WFO functions are supported, but Calabrio has enhanced each one with a view to elevate employee engagement and not just drive operational performance. These include the introduction of dynamic scheduling to the WFM function, allowing agents to see what skills are needed when and to sign up for associated shifts.
- Deployment flexibility: The WEM suite is available either on-premises or via the company’s multitenant cloud platform, which is built on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) architecture. Calabrio has also partnered with multiple CCaaS vendors, including Amazon Connect, Five9, BroadSoft and Serenova.
- Customer-focused: Being customer-focused is one of Calabrio’s four foundational business mandates. Reference customers scored it the highest of any vendor in this Magic Quadrant in terms of its ability to understand customers’ needs and the overall experience provided, from implementation to ongoing support.
- Global execution: Although Calabrio is gradually expanding internationally, approximately three-quarters of its installed base are in North America and less than 10% of its customers are in Europe. This is reflected in the limited number of languages it supports and the limited awareness of Calabrio outside of North America.
- WEM functionality: Calabrio currently lacks some best-of-breed employee engagement capabilities that are not needed for WFO — but are key parts of a WEM suite. Examples include agent guidance and automation tools, cross-function agent mobility, and VoE.
- Sales execution: Calabrio’s sales model is still primarily indirect (25% came from direct sales in 2017) and, although its platform is technically ACD-agnostic, the company relies mainly on partners that focus on Cisco and Avaya environments. Of Calabrio’s approximately 160 reseller partners, over 140 of them focus on the Cisco environment.
Genesys is a privately held CCI software vendor based in the U.S., with offices and partners across the world. Gartner estimates that the company generated more than $1.3 billion in 2017, up from more than $900 million in 2016 (although 2017 revenue reflects the acquisition of Interactive Intelligence on 1 December 2016 for its SMB-oriented CCaaS and WFO solution). Gartner estimates that $150 million of the 2017 revenue came from its various WEM product lines. Genesys provides a comprehensive WFO solution. Its WEM vision is centered on providing agents with a flexible and unified working environment that is driven by embedded analytics, to ensure the right skills, motivation and knowledge are available for each interaction. AI-powered predictive WFM and further-integrated agent workspace features planned for 2018 demonstrate a continued focus on improving its WEM viability. Genesys is positioned as a Niche Player.
- Unified desktop and mobile: The Genesys Workspace portal provides a single UI for employees for all day-to-day activities, allowing them to engage with customers, be assigned tasks, receive relevant knowledge and view WEM information. Genesys has released an updated interface providing full WFM capabilities from mobile devices.
- Skills management: Genesys’ solution provides agents with insight into their knowledge profile and helps them identify outstanding training/learning. Skills can be assessed and the scheduling of relevant training can be automated. Employee assistance is also available in the form of “knowledge nudges” and e-learning to keep them up to date on new/special offers, unplanned events or current trends.
- WFO underpinning: Genesys’ WEM vision is built on an established multichannel WFO platform with strong core features across its WFM and analytics-driven Quality Management (QM) modules. The solution has gained momentum in the market, both on-premises and in the cloud.
- Engagement features: Much of Genesys’ suite has yet to be optimized from an employee engagement perspective. WEM doesn’t seem to be a driver in any customer reference beyond WFM shift visibility. The WFM, QM and coaching tools need to be more flexible and self-service-oriented, and the mobile application lacks functionality. Various partners are needed to provide features such as gamification and real-time communication for mobile schedule interaction. More out-of-the box employee personalization functionality is needed.
- Go-to-market: The Genesys WEM suite is intended to run only with the associated Genesys CCI platform both on-premises and in the cloud, limiting its addressable market. It is increasingly difficult for customers to benefit from interoperability with third-party systems due to the associated cost and integration complexity. Procurement is complicated by Genesys having three CCaaS platforms for different profiles of organization, each with associated WEM capabilities. R&D is committed to improving and sharing functionality across these offerings, but maintaining all three is not optimal and their individual long-term future is questionable.
- Market execution: Most customers are running only QM or WFM. Genesys reference customers scored value for money the lowest of any qualifying vendor and also cited the longest average deployment time — over six months. They perceived the solution to be complex to install and run, and having a high TCO. The sales organization is not yet positioning WEM over WFO, so customers are not yet buying it.
NICE is a large global company that we estimate generated revenue of approximately $1.3 billion in 2017, up over 20% on 2016, of which more than half came from WEM. NICE has a sophisticated WEM portfolio from which an increasing percentage of customers are purchasing more than one domain — WFM, recording/QM or performance management. NICE has cemented its move to the cloud with the launch of an integrated cloud platform that supports both its CCaaS (acquired from inContact) and newly developed WEM offerings. Some strengthening of the cloud-based WEM offering is required, but the gulf between the existing on-premises/hosted version and the more modern SaaS-based iteration will diminish through 2018. NICE is positioned as a Leader.
- Personalized approach: NICE differentiates by wrapping traditional WFO functions around individual employee personas — a powerful approach to driving employee engagement (although adoption has yet to accelerate). Scheduling, evaluations, training, performance goals and incentives are all driven by three key facets that make up each persona: metrics (e.g., adherence, fist-call resolution), attributes (e.g., knowledge, personality) and preferences (e.g., career aspirations, desire to work at home, mornings or afternoons).
- Advanced analytics: NICE’s strong analytic portfolio helps drive its WEM vision by providing key insights from a range of sources. In addition to operational goals, it also drives employee engagement. For example, speech analytics uncovers employees’ moods and perspectives, and desktop analytics gives a perspective on their tasks and day-to-day experience — both can then be used to assist with interactions, and automation tools can remove repetitive tasks.
- Broad suite: NICE’s suite has leading capabilities across all main traditional WFO functions as well as complementary engagement-focused features, such as VoE, gamification, interaction assistance and robotic process automation. The recent acquisition of WorkFlex Solutions adds an intraday management capability with strong agent communication functionality, helping agents keep in the loop with ad hoc things such as urgent overtime requests.
- Solution adoption and value: Customers predominantly view NICE as a leading WFO solution provider, and struggle to articulate how it drives engagement beyond its basic aspects (e.g., providing centralized performance data, flexible scheduling options). Customers are struggling to capitalize on the product’s depth and breadth of functionality, for which they have paid a premium, and consequently question the solution’s value for money.
- Customer support: Although NICE continues to evolve its support organization, Tier 1 support needs further improvement, as cited by its reference customers. Customers have also cited challenges with the current setup and claimed that NICE representatives lack knowledge and do little more than triage their issues. Tier 2 support is required more often than it should, which adds time and frustration.
- WEM technology consolidation: NICE has several platforms that each provide some form of WFO/WEM capability: a SaaS platform for CCaaS and WEM, an on-premises/hosted WFO solution, and various acquired solutions. The SaaS platform’s multitenant WEM functionality lacks sophistication versus the on-premises version — customers with complex needs that want to align their CCaaS and WEM portfolio would need to integrate a hosted version of the older platform for the time being.
OpenText is a large, Canadian, global provider of enterprise information management solutions. It entered the WFO/WEM market following the acquisition of various contact center technologies from HP Inc. in 2016. OpenText generated approximately $2 billion in revenue in 2017, of which Gartner estimates $40 million came from WFO/WEM functions. Brand awareness around these acquired products is still low, despite the underpinning platform once being a leading QM and recording offering. OpenText is doing much to address this, including forging new cloud partnerships such as with Amazon Connect to extend visibility. Significant development is needed to elevate its current offering to that of a leading WEM provider, but there are signs of this commitment. The main weakness for OpenText is its OEM reliance for WFM, which is a key building block of WEM. OpenText is positioned as a Niche Player.
- Evaluation and coaching: Based on the acquired Qfiniti platform, OpenText has a proven, scalable offering to help record, evaluate and analyze agent interactions. It helps elevate existing coaching programs with intelligent scorecards, automated scoring and coaching tips. In 2018, the company will add AI capabilities, allowing for a more intelligent and personalized approach to catering for individual employee needs and preferences.
- OpenText portfolio: OpenText has a broad portfolio of solutions spanning various information management domains. Several of these, such as process guidance and desktop unification, will be applicable to WEM. Alignment of these solutions with its WEM offering would help accelerate the evolution and viability of the current solution.
- Customer relationships: Reference customers and client calls throughout the year all cited having a good working relationship, with strong communication from OpenText. Support is often called out as an area that customers are particularly pleased with.
- Solution maturity: Given OpenText is catching up with more-mature peers, it understandably still positions the solution primarily as a WFO platform. Refinement of existing WFO capabilities and overlay of various engagement-oriented functionality have yet to occur. A lack of investment in the core offering over the past few years requires OpenText to balance its R&D across existing core WFO functions while innovating around WEM.
- Brand awareness: The core platform has struggled to blossom ever since the original owner was acquired by Autonomy a decade ago. OpenText’s commitment to the WFO/WEM product line is encouraging, but brand awareness is still very low.
- WFM OEM reliance: Given WFM is a core part of WEM, OpenText’s reliance on an OEM (WFMSG or Teleopti) for core WFM functionality compromises solution development, cross-domain workflow and the user experience. These OEMs have similar relationships with other vendors, diluting commitment and raising potential acquisition concerns.
Verint is a large, established, U.S.-based global provider of customer engagement (which includes CEC and WEM) and security software. We estimate that it generated approximately $1 billion in revenue in 2017, the same as in 2016. Approximately two-thirds of the revenue came from customer engagement functionality. Verint offers a unified WFO solution deployed by thousands of organizations around the world. The company has market-leading capabilities across most domains, including interaction analytics, but its main advantage is seamless integration of, and seamless workflow across, the various functions. This provides an ideal platform to build on and embrace WEM — which is now, importantly, also available as a multitenant SaaS model through Verint’s own data centers and its partner network. Verint’s vision is aligned well with WEM, and the company already has a range of complementary technologies that can help drive employee engagement, including some CEC capabilities not available from other WEM vendors. Additional development is needed to fully embrace employee engagement as an “overlay” to WFO. Verint is positioned as a Leader.
- Unified WFO suite: Verint provides a unified, workflow-driven suite spanning all core traditional functions, and with best-of-breed capabilities across many domains. The company has a large number of strong partnerships, including several CCaaS vendors, which all leverage Verint’s suite of solutions.
- Engagement capabilities: Verint provides various features beyond that of a traditional WFO suite, which help cement its position as a leading WEM vendor. A few key examples include gamification, mobile support, process automation and guidance, workflow, and VoE. Verint also has a frontline agent customer steering council to provide direct input into future WEM-related product design.
- CRM alignment: Verint is unique in that it can leverage functions from its complementary CRM portfolio, such as knowledge management and community, to further drive employee engagement — although we have yet to see much adoption of these. Acquired from Kana, the knowledge management capability allows the WEM solution to create “knowledge assets” based on speech analytics, QM and other relevant insights. These assets can be delivered to employees as needed in interactions — either manually or as determined by desktop analytics and/or real-time speech analytics. Acquired from Telligent, the community solution helps facilitate real-time peer-to-peer requests for shared insights, support and ongoing mentoring roles.
- Engagement capabilities: Verint has been refining its existing WFO capabilities to make them more engagement-oriented, such as adding flexibility to the WFM tool. However, further modifications are needed to help personalize aspects of employees’ work life based on their individual preferences and personality traits.
- Organizational needs: Customers sometimes claim to be overwhelmed by options, given the product is so broad and sophisticated. Verint needs to assign more resources upfront to better scope projects. Multiple reference customers cited their desire for more time during implementation to focus on the associated change management and training needs required to fully leverage the offering. Verint is addressing this with a new business advisory services offering.
- Portfolio complexity and execution: Verint continues to acquire vendors to strengthen its go-to-market offerings (most recently OpinionLab, eg solutions and Next IT), but this adds complexity to the portfolio and in some cases increases the company’s overall debt. Further, despite this broadening portfolio and associated increase in revenue from its customer engagement business, revenue for Verint overall remains flat.
ZOOM is a small U.S. contact center WFO software vendor selling exclusively through its global network of partners. Gartner estimates that it generated approximately $40 million in 2017, up 10% over 2016. ZOOM is an established provider of interaction recording and agent evaluation and coaching software. This is its core competency and it has hundreds of customer globally using it in this capacity. ZOOM is passionate about customer satisfaction and views this as its key differentiator in the market. The vendor is proven in the QM space but currently lacks credibility as a WFO vendor. It has yet to fully transition its roadmap and market positioning around WEM. ZOOM is positioned as a Niche Player.
- Evaluation and coaching: Complemented by its interaction analytics capabilities, ZOOM’s core software is a viable solution to help organizations understand agent performance traits, preferences and personas. It provides personalized guidance to help drive engagement.
- Cisco relationship: ZOOM has a long-standing relationship with Cisco: ZOOM is a Cisco solution partner, is available on the Cisco Marketplace and is compatible with Cisco’s new collaboration platform, Spark.
- Customer satisfaction: Despite currently lacking a formal reference program, ZOOM appears to have a high level of customer satisfaction across its customer base. It claims an overall customer NPS score of 86 for the first half of 2017. The customers Gartner have spoken too throughout the year and for this Magic Quadrant have all been complimentary, with ZOOM scoring highly in this area of our reference survey.
- Solution maturity: ZOOM is still evolving from being a QM vendor to a WFO vendor. Although this provides a good foundation for WEM, the solution currently lacks numerous WEM capabilities. In addition, the underlying architecture has yet to evolve to be fully multitenant. The company’s small stature and limited R&D budget will likely stifle rapid progress.
- Enterprise viability: ZOOM’s focus is primarily in the midmarket (50 to 500 agents). Although it claims that it can scale higher, this midmarket focus will impact the product and company direction, increasingly reducing its viability for large, complex organizations.
- Teleopti reliance: Given WFM is a core part of WEM, ZOOM’s current reliance on Teleopti for core WFM functionality compromises solution development, cross-domain workflow and the user experience. ZOOM plans to own its own WFM offering in 2018, but time will be needed for that product to mature.
Vendors Added and Dropped
We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant may change over time. A vendor’s appearance in a Magic Quadrant one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. It may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or of a change of focus by that vendor.
- Teleopti (did not meet the functional criteria for inclusion)
- Noble Systems (did not provide sufficient evidence to substantiate its inclusion)
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
To be included in this Magic Quadrant, vendors are required to have:
- A solution that ideally provides both workforce management (WFM) and employee evaluation software as part of an integrated offering. However, if only one of these is provided directly then the other one must be provided via an OEM agreement, not a simple partnership/reseller agreement, and they would need to be able to prove:
- Seamless integration between the two domains (including, but not limited to, single sign-on)
- A unified user experience
- Extensive in-house resources to sell, deploy, configure and support the entire suite
- A solution that provides two or more of the following functions:
- Recruitment and onboarding
- Coaching and e-learning
- Interaction assistance and task assignment
- Performance management and gamification
- Interaction analytics
- Voice of the employee
- A degree of integration among these core functional elements, such as a single administration environment and prebuilt workflows.
- At least $20 million in WEM revenue during the 12 months prior to the start of the process of producing this Magic Quadrant.
- A strategy and development roadmap for moving beyond the requirements of an operationally focused WFO platform to embrace employee engagement,* with supporting evidence of some existing engagement-focused capabilities.
- Five new reference customers that have deployed WFM and employee evaluation functionality in an integrated environment during the 12 months prior to the start of the process of producing this Magic Quadrant. All five references need also to be able to demonstrate credentials that helped elevate employee engagement above and beyond that provided by the core WFM and evaluation features.
- Financial viability — that is, sufficient cash to continue operating at the current burn rate for 12 months.
* Gartner defines an engaged employee as someone who feels that their work matters and is willing to invest discretionary effort.
As previously cited, the requirement to have a robust underpinning WFO platform that can drive operational performance does not go away. Gartner has therefore assessed each solution’s ability to optimally forecast, schedule, evaluate and train agents within an omnichannel customer engagement center. Each vendor’s ability to deal with non-phone-related activities, such as email, chat and social media, was scrutinized, as was its ability to deal with blended environments. In addition, an emphasis on solution integration/unification and supporting embedded analytics has grown in importance, as has the ability to support both on-premises and SaaS-based deployments.
However, with the shift in emphasis from WFO to WEM, we have also explored each vendor’s vision with regard to placing an increased emphasis on the employee. We looked at the associated functionality — both that available now and via the vendor’s roadmap — that will help elevate employee engagement. Specific areas explored include mobility, gamification, interaction assistance tools, user experience, VoE and the ability to personalize all core WFO functions to the needs of an individual employee. As an example of this shift of focus, we looked at WFM not just through the lens of “an operational tool used to drive cost reduction through head count reduction,” but also from the point of view of “a flexible platform designed to allow employees to self-manage their work-life preferences.”
Several other vendors are on the verge of inclusion in this Magic Quadrant, all of which provide WEM suite capabilities either directly or via OEM agreements. Their omission is a result of factors ranging from their revenue to the breadth of their functionality, to simply Gartner not being able to gather sufficient information to position them appropriately. Examples include:
- Monet Software
Ability to Execute
The WEM software market is only just beginning to merge after a decade of operationally focused WFO platforms. Some vendors have developed in-house solutions built on an established core competence, while others have acquired — or use an OEM to access — the necessary complementary technologies. This creates significant variation in product capabilities, which is reflected in the high weighting for the Product or Service criterion.
- Product or Service: This criterion assesses the depth and breadth of a vendor’s WEM-related functions, as listed in the Market Definition/Description section. The core (underpinning) operational-focused WFO elements are assessed in addition to the overarching employee engagement features. Additional emphasis is placed on the degree of integration and workflow across these domains, beyond their siloed provision. The architectural underpinning and provision of aspects such as role-based UIs are also evaluated. Credit is given for OEM solutions, but not for reseller partnerships. Support for SaaS is given additional credit, but is not yet deemed essential for leadership.
- Overall Viability: This criterion assesses a vendor’s ability to ensure the continued viability of its WEM suite by demonstrating that it has a strong product development team to support current and future releases, and a clear product roadmap. This criterion also covers a vendor’s financial health — its size, growth and profitability — with particular emphasis on the financial health of its WEM business (for those whose solutions extend beyond the WEM market). It also looks at aspects such as cash reserves and operational expenditure.
- Sales Execution/Pricing: This criterion assesses a vendor’s ability to provide global sales and distribution coverage of its WEM suite directly and/or through partnerships. Each vendor must have experience of selling a WEM product to an appropriate buying center. Each must offer consistent and comprehensible pricing models and structures — including contingencies for, for example, failure to perform as contracted, and mergers and acquisitions. Pricing structures that support large enterprises and SMBs, as well as in-house and SaaS-based deployments, are important.
- Market Responsiveness/Record: This criterion assesses a vendor’s desire to — and its expertise and organizational flexibility in being able to — perceive evolving customer requirements and communicate these insights back to the market, as well as to create future WEM products to meet customers’ changing needs.
- Marketing Execution: This criterion assesses a vendor’s ability to consistently generate awareness of, and demand for, its WEM solution through marketing programs and press visibility. The clarity, quality and creativity that go into this are just as important as the revenue assigned to generate new sales leads and increase brand awareness. Because some aspects of the value proposition supporting the adoption of WEM solutions are subtle, additional effort is needed compared with more traditional software markets.
- Customer Experience: This criterion assesses aspects related to ensuring that each customer has ongoing success with its WEM deployment. Aspects considered include a vendor’s global technical support (whether provided directly or via partners), account management, user groups and panels, and customer communities. Each vendor must provide sufficient proof of the ongoing viability and acceptance of its product in the market.
- Operations: This criterion explores a vendor’s ability to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure (taking account of skills, experience, programs, systems and other assets) that enables a vendor to operate. This criterion also covers management experience and track record, and depth of staff experience, specifically in the WEM market. Every vendor needs sufficient professional services — whether delivered by in-house staff or third-party business consultants and system integrators — to meet customers’ evolving requirements.
Product or Service
Source: Gartner (February 2018)
Completeness of Vision
Vendors in the customer engagement center WEM software market differ significantly in background and vision. Some view WEM as part of an end-to-end contact center solution that includes other CCI components. Others view it as an enterprisewide solution for optimizing employee performance and engagement. The immaturity of the market, as well as the potential diversity of engagement-focused features that can be added to complement WFO, result in extensive roadmap plans for many vendors. Consequently, we attribute higher weightings to factors such as market understanding, product vision and strategy, as well as WEM-related innovation.
- Market Understanding: This criterion assesses the degree to which a vendor understands the needs and wants of customer engagement centers and embeds them into its WEM product and service vision. We look for alignment between strategic customer engagement center goals (such as efficiency and revenue growth) and the specific functions and cross-functional capabilities within a vendor’s WEM solution. We still commonly hear of ongoing organizational concerns among clients, such as with ease of use, clarity of pricing, vendor footprint and proof of ROI. We also hear of clients’ desire to develop a relationship with their vendor, rather than just being its customer.
- Marketing Strategy: This criterion assesses the consistency and clarity of a vendor’s marketing strategy, the degree of differentiation associated with its positioning of WEM products (both internally and externally), and the relationship of these to its overall vision and brand values.
- Sales Strategy: This criterion assesses a vendor’s approach to selling WFO products directly and through global partnership networks. A diverse range of capabilities, from strategic account management to industry expertise and targeting, are assessed. In an emerging market such as that of WEM software, an awareness of the need for some education of customers about the role and impact of WEM products is crucial.
- Offering (Product) Strategy: This criterion assesses the strategic direction of a vendor’s WEM product and its R&D roadmap, as well as the impact these will have on customers. We assess factors such as commitment to a single codebase, product usability, support for SaaS, OEM partnerships versus internal development for missing functionality, industry specifications and prebuilt workflows.
- Business Model: This criterion assesses a vendor’s overall business proposition and its commitment to WEM.
- Vertical/Industry Strategy: This criterion assesses a vendor’s ability to provide both standard and tailored solutions for specific industries.
- Innovation: Some technologies, such as WFM technologies in the WEM software market, are mature, so the potential for significant innovation is limited. However, innovation can still be achieved. This criterion assesses, for example, the alignment of these agent-centric technologies so that they act as one solution through unification and embedded workflows. Beyond this, it assesses the significant innovation potential that can be realized by extending support for communications beyond audio calls to, for example, emails, chat sessions and social media dialogues, and by introducing advanced analytics and embracing mobile interfaces tailored to each role.
- Geographic Strategy: This criterion assesses whether a vendor understands the needs of the three largest markets — Europe, North America and Asia/Pacific — and knows how to build a strategy to focus on aspects of the overall market, whether directly or through partners. It also assesses whether a vendor delivers products and services that are in line with the needs and capabilities of buying centers.
Offering (Product) Strategy
Source: Gartner (February 2018)
Leaders provide functionally broad and deep WEM solutions that can be deployed and supported globally. Their software is suitable for enterprises of all sizes and complexity, and they have broad industry coverage. Their revenue is strong and new references are readily available.
Challengers tend to be viable, with good global execution, but they often lack an in-depth understanding of the true business value of WEM beyond a check-box-type provision for each functional domain and a likely historical focus on the operational objectives of a WFO solution. Challengers may lack control over each functional domain and may therefore find fully integrated workflow-driven capabilities more difficult to deliver.
Visionaries deliver innovative and potentially market-changing solutions, but they struggle to meet the needs of all organizations due to geographic limitations, company size constraints and/or specific product omissions.
Niche Players offer solutions that provide functionality associated with WEM, but perhaps as part of a different overall value proposition. They may also lack specific functional domain coverage. Niche Players may offer complete portfolios, but focus on only one size of organization or one region; they may have a limited ability or even desire to extend globally.
Gartner recommends that WEM solutions be considered strategically within customer engagement centers, as they not only help to improve operational performance but also elevate employee engagement. Key market and societal shifts require a repositioning of how organizations manage employee engagement within their contact centers. Organizations need to assess the potential needs, expectations and aspirations of the next generation of employees within their centers. The impact a motivated and engaged employee can have — not just on operational performance, but also on the customer experience — should not be underestimated and should help justify future investment.
It may take several years for an organization to adopt a unified WEM solution, depending on the organization’s current approach to workforce optimization and existing investments, protracted procurement cycles, and vendor maturity. Nonetheless, all customer engagement centers with more than 100 agents should be working toward this ideal.
As the market evolves, it is highly likely that the main providers of WEM software will be CCI vendors, with several appearing in this Magic Quadrant (and many more expected to qualify for inclusion in the coming years). Vendors with market-leading offerings, such as NICE and Verint, will likely remain, albeit with visions that extend beyond WEM in order to ensure their long-term survival.
WEM is a concept that most WFO vendors are only just coming to terms with. The majority of end-user organizations still view investment in these platforms as a means to drive operational performance. As previously stated, this objective will not diminish during future procurement cycles, but it will become a “given.” The benefits of deploying an integrated suite with strong core functionality and cross-functional workflows will not need to be explained, nor will it continue to be a means of differentiation in the long term. Instead, the need to drive employee engagement will become an increasingly important factor and a key means of innovation and differentiation for the vendors in this market during the next few years. Analytics will be at the heart of much of this new functionality.
All vendors have extensive roadmaps to change the nature of their rather cumbersome WFO solutions to become more agile and employee-focused WEM solutions. Some vendors have a head start in this change, but more investment is needed by everyone.
A key aspect overlooked with WFO is the notion of thinking about the employee outside of the office environment. When looking at the world from the point of view of an employee, a myriad of functional opportunities reveal themselves. For example, no vendor has yet considered the ability to support “commute-based coaching” — where an employee can undertake training from their phone or tablet while on the way to work, thereby freeing up their learning break that day for personal time.
A few interesting facts about this market:
- Adoption of WFO software has increased steadily during the past three years, with more than 2,000 purchases of integrated solutions.
- Interaction recording will ultimately become a commodity, associated with the CCI and CCaaS markets. What will be differentiated is the way software vendors can leverage these third-party recordings to evaluate employee performance and engagement.
- Adoption of WEM as a service is not yet mainstream, but is accelerating rapidly. The move of CCI to the cloud is resulting in a WEM technology refresh cycle and the common scenario of attaching WEM functionality to the CCaaS platform investment.
- Mobile support for agents is increasing, but adoption is low. Most solutions currently lack capabilities beyond the obvious WFM-focused ones, such as the ability to view schedules and make shift change requests.
- Agent recruitment and onboarding processes have largely been overlooked by WEM vendors, because they are perceived as requiring stand-alone technologies that are linked more closely to the HR domain. However, as WFO has evolved to WEM, there are numerous synergies and best practices that WEM vendors can provide, so this area is likely to see developments and acquisitions.
- Technologies that help drive engagement through interaction assistance (such as next-best action, process guidance and process automation) are not new, but have previously been niche markets with no obvious overarching “home” because they fall outside the scope of CRM, CCI and WFO. As an important dimension of WEM, we expect various OEM and acquisition announcements from WEM vendors to be made during the coming years.
- The VoE is seldom acted upon and usually relies on crude and infrequent mechanisms of capture. WEM requires that more-advanced features are available to capture both planned and ad hoc feedback from employees, which, of course, then needs to be listened to and acted upon.
Acronym Key and Glossary Terms
In researching this Magic Quadrant we drew on:
- Discussions with users of Gartner’s client inquiry service (more than 200 each year on this topic)
- Face-to-face meetings with Gartner clients
- Vendors’ responses to detailed questionnaires specific to this Magic Quadrant
- Interviews with vendors’ reference customers
- Vendor briefings over a 12-month period
- Generally available information, news reports, and data from financial and industry publications
- Knowledge acquired from vendors’ analyst conferences and industry tradeshows
- Discussions with other Gartner analysts
- Critiques by Gartner managers and during Gartner peer reviews
- Vendors’ reviews for factual accuracy
Evaluation Criteria Definitions
Ability to Execute
Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor for the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills and so on, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.
Overall Viability: Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization’s financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization’s portfolio of products.
Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor’s capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.
Market Responsiveness/Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor’s history of responsiveness.
Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization’s message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This “mind share” can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities.
Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.
Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.
Completeness of Vision
Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers’ wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers’ wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.
Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.
Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.
Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor’s approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.
Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor’s underlying business proposition.
Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor’s strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.
Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.
Geographic Strategy: The vendor’s strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the “home” or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.