1 MARKET I NSIGHT Cloud-Based Agent Performance Optimization Applications: The Last Great Shift to the Cloud
2 Frost & Sullivan Market Insight EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Cloud deployment has become the preferred method for companies sourcing their CRM and contact center applications for inbound and outbound contact handling. Agent performance optimization (APO) comprising analytics, quality monitoring (QM), and workforce management (WFM is no longer an exception. New research from Frost & Sullivan reveals a trend toward cloud-based APO applications. Indeed, pure cloud solution providers and, increasingly, traditional contact center vendors are pushing into the cloud APO market. This Market Insight examines the prospects for the market for these applications and discusses when it might be appropriate for contact centers to complete the move into the cloud with hosted APO. STATE OF THE MARKET More companies are sourcing their contact center applications from the cloud, particularly for ACD, chat, CRM, IVR, mobile, outbound customer contact, and social media applications. Frost & Sullivan estimates that the hosted/cloud contact center solutions market in North America will reach $2 billion by the end of 2014 and surpass $3 billion by Contact center organizations of all sizes see compelling reasons for adopting cloud-based solutions and are moving quickly to avail themselves of these offerings. Mid-sized enterprises were early adopters, but larger organizations soon followed as early cloud issues were addressed and solution providers matched the offerings of the premise-based market. Today, even more feature-rich yet affordable options, tailored to small to mid-sized companies, have come to market. Exhibit 1 shows the adoption of hosted/cloud contact center solutions by North American businesses. The data is based on a 2014 Frost & Sullivan survey of contact center organizations. Exhibit 1- Adoption of Hosted/Cloud Contact Center Solutions: North America, % 5% 0% 5% 8% 8% 2% 8% 2% 3% 1% 5% 41% 38% 55% 48% 44% 29% Don t know No, and do not plan to use within the next two years No, but plan to use within the next two years Currently use 52% 57% 30% 42% 51% 65% Total Sample United States Canada Small (10-99 seats) Medium ( seats) Large (>500 seats) Q: Do you currently use a hosted/cloud contact center solution? N = 305
3 Cloud-Based Agent Performance Optimization Applications: The Last Great Shift to the Cloud While 52% of all respondents said they currently use a cloud contact center solution, another 41% plan to use a cloud contact center solution within the next two years. This indicates that by 2016, more than 90% of contact center organizations will be using one or more cloud contact center solutions. There are regional differences in cloud adoption within North America, with Canada lagging behind the US in adoption. Such differences are attributable to everything from market conservatism in Canada, to differing sizes in markets and contact centers, and data security. Nonetheless, contact center vendors are addressing the needs and concerns of the Canadian market. As a result, more Canadian companies are expected to move their contact center solutions to the cloud in the next two years. CONTACT CENTER APPLICATIONS: PACE OF ADOPTION For years, contact center systems were deployed on-premise, but the lure of more natively integrated cloud options encouraged more enterprises to move some or all of their applications to the cloud. As the market evolved and enterprises adopted new applications in their contact centers, upgrade and replacement cycles varied. The result has been integration issues, particularly for those enterprises purchasing systems from different vendors. Meanwhile, each new additional channel tended to increase integration complexity. Moreover, not all contact center applications are moving to the cloud at the same rate, resulting in hybrid (mix of cloud and on-premise deployment) environments. 3 Consider that contact centers have been particularly slow to adopt cloud hosting for APO applications (analytics, performance management, QM, and WFM solutions). In essence, organizations have not found the same compelling business case for APO adoption that has been made for other solutions. For instance, many organizations have been slow to give up existing call recording equipment, preferring to keep call recordings on site because of the perception that it provides greater security. Importantly, customer interaction analytics are relatively newer contact center applications, resulting in a younger and minimally depreciated installed base. As such, many companies have held back on a wholesale movement to the cloud for APO applications. This result is somewhat confounding, as cloud-based APO applications can deliver equal or superior value as premise-based ones. After all, cloud-based APO tools enable more complex and nuanced operations, including the use of at-home agents, mixed in-house/outsourced arrangements, and non-contact center resources (such as bricks-and-mortar and field staff) in customer interactions. Moreover, cloud-based APO allows companies to improve employee productivity and enhance the customer experience by permitting companies to rapidly scale up applications and add staff, while keeping within acceptable service levels. In some cases, hosting frees up contact center management to focus on other business issues, such as business process, workflow control, and employee management. Above all, hosted APO enables contact centers to focus on their primary objective improving the customer experience.
4 Frost & Sullivan Market Insight FUTURE ADOPTION OF CLOUD SOLUTIONS Organizations are not unaware of the advantages of hosted APO. In the 2014 Frost & Sullivan Customer Contact survey, respondents were asked which contact center applications they plan to use as cloudbased solutions two years from now. The results, shown in Exhibit 2, indicate high adoption levels for cloud-based APO applications, particularly customer surveys, QM, and WFM. At the same time, survey results show a potentially lower adoption rate for hosted speech analytics, perhaps a realm where the business case for the cloud is not as clear as it is for other solutions. Even so, more companies appear to be sourcing speech analytics solutions from the cloud as vendors tailor their speech analytics offerings to a wider audience. Exhibit 2- Planned Use of Hosted/Cloud Contact Center Solutions (North America) by % 51% 52% 54% 55% 56% 46% 4 31% 36% 38% 40% 41% ACD IVR Speech analytics Outbound applications CRM Chat Mobile contact Social media contact Workforce management Web collaboration tools Quality monitoring Customer surveys Q: Which of these applications do you plan to use as cloud-based solutions in two years? N = 284 The survey results further validate what Frost & Sullivan considers key market trends: 1. Cloud Adoption in Stages. Contact centers are moving their applications to the cloud in stages rather than all at once. The need for an application upgrade from a premise-based system is the typical trigger for such a move. 2. The Rise of the New. Relatively new contact solutions such as customer surveys, Web, mobile, and social media have emerged as applications well-suited to cloud deployment. In such cases, legacy on-premise systems are not part of the equation. 3. Inexorable Transition. Traditional APO applications are also being moved to the cloud due to the clear business benefits, even if core contact routing applications are still on-premise.
5 Cloud-Based Agent Performance Optimization Applications: The Last Great Shift to the Cloud Taken together, these trends explain why the fastest-growing segment of the hosted market is APO applications. Indeed, Frost & Sullivan forecasts a 19% compound annual growth rate for hosted APO from 2012 to As the current generation of on-premise APO applications nears maturity and continues to depreciate, more companies will move to cloud APO solutions. DRIVERS TO THE CLOUD Customer contact is not simply an operational concern, nor is it just an opportunity in marketing and sales. It is a relatively neglected tool in the realm of strategy. The principal drivers pushing contact center applications to the cloud are reduced total cost of ownership (TCO), rapid time to deployment, scalability and overall business agility, improved business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities, and business value. All of these factors indicate a fundamental market shift from primarily cost-avoidance-based decisions, to a balanced, nuanced, and strategic mindset. This new paradigm means that contact centers will receive more corporate focus and investments going forward. The underlying currents for this paradigm shift are visible to keen observers. Many of the legacy contact center systems, including legacy APO applications, are becoming obsolete. As a result, contact centers now have to turn to a new generation of APO applications that reach higher up the value chain, particularly when it comes to driving business value for marketing and sales. And when contact centers consider those applications, they are less likely to allow themselves to be boxed into long-term budget and IT commitments. 5 In fact, IT cost management is at the core of companies cloud deployment decisions. Companies are moving many other applications to the cloud for the same reasons they are going to the cloud for their contact center applications. At the same time, small to mid-sized firms in particular may not be able to justify employing specialized IT professionals who can manage increasingly sophisticated contact center technologies. Such companies are therefore targeting niche contact center applications for hosting. The shift to this new, more holistic way of looking at customer contact won t always proceed smoothly. Historically, contact center managers have been focused on the operational issues related to managing often siloed and proprietary on-premise technology infrastructure. But, obviously, today s environment is presenting a new set of challenges. Providing customers with excellent service within, and across, a widening array of channels and devices, in an ever-disparate agent and supervisor deployment model, presents considerable challenges. At the same time, the technologies that support and manage new channels and ways of working are evolving so rapidly they are sometimes obsolete in an on-premise configuration by the time companies deploy them. Companies must therefore understand that incorporating the cloud and delivering excellent cross-channel customer experiences will be critical to business success. BARRIERS TO CLOUD ADOPTION Even as currents shift and times change, some companies may still be reluctant to move their contact center solutions to the cloud. Of the few respondents (5%) in the 2014 Customer Contact survey that were not considering moving contact center applications to the cloud, the top three reasons centered around reliability concerns, integration challenges, and a preference to maintain technology in-house.
6 Frost & Sullivan Market Insight Security concerns, while still important for some resistant companies, have moved down the ranks of barriers to cloud adoption, especially for larger organizations. Not surprisingly then, the survey results also show that larger contact center organizations have now taken the lead in terms of cloud adoption. This indicates that when a cloud solution provider can meet or exceed the stringent security, availability, and redundancy requirements of enterprises, these buyers are comfortable moving their contact center applications to the cloud. For those reasons, Frost & Sullivan expects more sensitive applications that have long stayed on-premise, like call recording, to move to the cloud in the not-toodistant future. Recent upgrades to existing on-premise systems are certainly barriers to cloud adoption as well. These barriers will only be overcome as each constituent system, in a suite of interlocking applications, comes up for refresh, or as contact centers add new technologies to the mix. In cases where the penetration of a mature tool is already very high, as it is for QM and WFM, there may be little rationale for buyers to move to a cloud-based solution. These companies will not change unless some other factor provides a push, such as new contact channels or new customer programs. In these situations, buyers are advised to evaluate the vendor s ability to support hybrid deployments. 6 For companies in mature, slow-growing industries with little variability in contact demand, a stable workforce, and relatively new on-premise applications, it may not make sense to move APO applications to the cloud, except in cases where new capabilities demand it. And for companies with ever-variable contact volumes and staffing, cloud APO solutions, either standalone or in hosted suites, will present a fitting choice. SUMMARY & RECOMMENDATIONS: WHAT S A CONTACT CENTER TO DO? Cloud-based offerings across product lines, including APO, are on the rise. From Frost & Sullivan s perspective, the waves of market demand and market response have gained their own momentum. Indeed, leading premise vendors also are now offering cloud contact center solutions. For such providers, migration paths from on-premise to cloud-hosted solutions, and vice versa, exist effectively within the same applications. Organizations should consider the following factors as they consider going to the cloud. All in One or Best of Breed? When it comes to the cloud, companies can choose to source modular, all-in-one suites from single vendors or select best-of-breed solutions from individual suppliers. The all-in-one suite approach has inherent advantages, especially for mid-sized organizations, over sourcing and integrating multiple best-of-breed systems. While most contact center applications are focused on routing, APO applications focus on data analysis, quality, staffing, and voice of the customer (VoC). Still, even when it comes to APO, in many other scenarios, a strong business case might be made for an integrated hosted contact center suite. Unified, end-to-end, cloud-hosted suites provide single, multichannel views of customers and agents while minimizing IT and vendor management costs. What about Carriers, SIs, BPOs? There are many third-party carriers, systems integrators, and business process outsourcers (BPOs) that also offer cloud solutions, but for whom hosted contact center services are not the principal profit driver. These vendors, carriers in particular, may offer attractive pricing bundles with other services, such as networked voice/data transport. As resellers, these
7 Cloud-Based Agent Performance Optimization Applications: The Last Great Shift to the Cloud vendors do not own and therefore cannot re-engineer the core applications. Companies that go to the cloud must be satisfied with the providers quality, delivery reliability, and support. The decision to consider a cloud-based solution is no longer based solely on the short-term need to rush technology into place without a big spend, nor is it due to managers needing to pilot a new technology on others servers before committing to full deployments. Instead, the decisions are based on changing customer engagement models and the need to adapt and keep pace with change. The job of a contact center (and its management) should be to manage customer relationships, interactions, and the agents who interact with the customers. Managing the technology infrastructure is akin to managing an IT network the job of talented but separate professionals. Ultimately, it does not make an operational difference where software resides. The decision on how to deploy and use software should be based on business criteria, including capabilities, costs, ROI, time to market, and the ability to drive greater marketing and sales value. The stronger the currents of change in the ever-shifting river of customer contact, the clearer will be the business case for cloud-based APO applications. 7 ABOUT GENESYS Genesys is the market leader in multi-channel customer experience (CX) and contact center solutions in the cloud and on-premises. We help brands of all sizes make great CX great business. The Genesys Customer Experience Platform powers optimal customer journeys consistently across all touch points, channels and interactions to turn customers into brand advocates. Genesys is trusted by over 4,500 customers in 80 countries to orchestrate more than 100 million digital and voice interactions each day. Visit us at or call us at
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