This software segment, which has been clouded by uncertain marketing and competing definitions in the last few years, is poised to become a key part of the contact center’s default toolkit. In the process, its benefits will percolate out into the enterprise, but vendors will do well to remain focused on targeting contact centers, rather than going around the center to the rest of the enterprise first.
“Contact centers are eager to adopt performance management tools because they recognize the importance of coordinating multiple key performance indicators (KPIs) and turning them into prescriptions for better action,” says Frost & Sullivan Senior Analyst Keith Dawson. “Hence, there is a definite opportunity for vendors of contact center software to grow by adding PM tools to their suite offerings.”
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Interestingly, there has been a wave of consolidation and realignment among many of the top-tier contact center software vendors. This has left many of them looking to fill gaps in their offerings and performance management is one of the segments that offer the quickest value-addition for suite vendors to expand their footprints. At the same time, smaller niche vendors, often with roots in business intelligence (rather than the call center) are making the case for PM’s enterprise value. Both approaches show great promise for growth.
However, vendors have, in the past, muddled their message to the contact center market through many different approaches to the underlying technology of performance management. This consequently resulted in a good deal of confusion and slow initial uptake of the software.
“Software vendors offering performance management have to provide a much clearer sense of the value that this segment of software provides in order to increase sales,” says Dawson. “They need to explain clearly where PM fits into the overall picture of contact center software, including how it interacts with quality monitoring, training, and enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) tools.”
Although PM has been marketed as a tool that brings value to the enterprise, the vast majority of sales go through the contact center. Therefore, niche providers (those that offer PM as a stand-alone tool) have to create specific modules that address contact center needs, emphasizing particularly on how PM helps control costs. For their part, suite vendors need to work quickly to integrate the separate pieces of their contact center offerings, especially in light of the many suites that were created through acquisition of smaller companies.
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