Based on its recent analysis of the contact center software market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Aspect Software, the world's largest company solely focused on unified communications for the contact center, with twin awards: 2008 North American Product Line Strategy, and 2008 EMEA Market Leadership in contact center workforce management (WFM). Aspect has proven itself to be a forward-thinking vendor in the mature contact center technologies market, providing enterprises with the entire set of tools needed to enhance customer experience, keep costs in check, and generate additional revenues.
While the economic ripple effects of the collapse of the housing market and the boom in fuel costs have dampened corporate spending and flattened growth rates, the rapidly increasing adoption of IP and a wholesale move towards more holistic enterprise communication technologies are refashioning the contact center industry. Unified communications is a buzz-word, aiming to integrate enterprise expertise with contact center-specific knowledge.
Clearly looking to take a leadership role in helping companies understand the benefits of unified communications in customer interaction organizations, Aspect Software launched a far-reaching and highly innovative Unified Communications for the Contact Center™ strategy. Unlike its cautious competitors, Aspect has realigned its sales force and created an overarching corporate marketing and product line strategy to support this initative.
Ever savvy, Aspect saw the need for a strong partner to actualize its aggressive strategy and signed a multiyear strategic alliance with Microsoft to assist companies in combining unified communications with contact centers. Aspect has made interoperability with Microsoft's platform for software-powered voice and unified communications a design priority, and plans to offer its Aspect® Unified IP™ solution built with Microsoft's unified communications functionality in mind as its lead offer to customers.
Microsoft's incredible reach and its desire to vigorously compete with some of the Aspect leading rivals make it an ideal choice of partner. Due to its extremely strong position in the enterprise market, almost every contact center company has been forced to work towards interoperability with Microsoft's communications product sets.
"The combination of infrastructure elements, such as presence and IP telephony, collaborative tools, such as shared directories and calendars, and contact center technologies is one of the keys for companies looking to provide a stellar customer experience," says Frost & Sullivan Research Director Ashwin Iyer. "However, the weak integration of the disparate elements of ACDs, CTI servers, outbound dialers, self-service technologies, such as IVRs and a new breed technologies like voice portals in legacy contact centers, Frost & Sullivan believes that it will take unified contact center suites, such as Aspect Unified IP, to truly tap the full potential of the contact center."
For realigning its entire product line towards meeting this goal, and forging a potent partnership with Microsoft, Frost & Sullivan believes that Aspect is the perfect recipient of the 2008 Product Line Strategy Award. The award recognizes a company that has demonstrated the most insight into customer needs and product demands, and optimized its product line by leveraging products with the various price, performance, and feature points required by the market.
The second Award – for Market Leadership in EMEA contact center WFM – recognizes the Aspect Software displayed excellence in all areas of the market leadership process, including the identification of market challenges, drivers and restraints, as well as strategy development and methods of addressing these market dynamics.
The Aspect business strategy in EMEA is resulting in a healthy level of competitive displacement that keeps it in the lead. Firstly, the company has expanded its software footprint to bring other agent-facing tools into the mix while continuing to develop and refine the core PerformanceEdge™ - Aspect® eWorkforce Management™ system that underlies the forecasting and scheduling of contact center agents.
"Aspect has successfully overcome barriers to uptake of WFM software in EMEA, which include a patchwork of local labor laws that affect the deployment and use of WFM systems, and a significant market presence among smaller, indigenous European companies that sell WFM as a point solution," explains Iyer.
To its advantage, Aspect has built a tight integration between the WFM system and the rest of the agent performance optimization (APO) suite, making Aspect eWorkforce Management a credible purchase both from the point of view of a best-of-breed choice, and from an integrated PerformanceEdge suite choice. Inside the suite, the WFM app has been tied together with the rest of the agent-facing suite through simplified administration and reporting, and customized to local languages and labor laws.
Aspect Software feature sets have been geared to emphasizing the cost-control capabilities of the system. Considering the high cost of labor in the EMEA market forces, this will encourage contact centers to use automation to reduce those costs. Another key differentiator for Aspect is the ability to integrate with the wide variety of platforms found in Europe's diverse call handling culture. This diversity gives the company the flexibility to compete both at the high end and for the emerging SMB contact center market in some of the less mature areas, like Southern and Eastern Europe, and among the outsourcing market in Northern Africa.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
About Aspect Software
Aspect Software Inc. (aspect.com) founded the contact center industry and is now the world's largest company solely focused on unified communications for the contact center. Our all-in-one, IT-ready solutions communications-enable customer service, collections and sales & telemarketing business processes for small and medium enterprises as well as for two-thirds of the FORTUNE Global 100.
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth. The company's TEAM Research, Growth Consulting and Growth Team Membership™ empower clients to create a growth-focused culture that generates, evaluates and implements effective growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan employs over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 30 offices on six continents.