Aspect Software Recognized by Frost & Sullivan as the Workforce Optimization Industry 2016 Global Company of the Year

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Frost & Sullivan has awarded Aspect Software with its Global Company of the Year Award for the WFO industry. This annual award goes to “companies that are true industry leaders, delivering best practices in growth, innovation, and leadership.” Frost & Sullivan uses “Visionary Innovation & Performance” and “Customer Impact” as the two primary criteria for the award, and Aspect scored higher in both of these categories than any other competitor in the industry. Read this Best Practices Research article to understand what is happening in the WFO industry and why Aspect leads the pack.
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  • 1. 2016 Global Workforce Optimization Solutions Company of the Year Award 2016
  • 2. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2016 2 “We Accelerate Growth” Contents Background and Company Performance ........................................................................3 Industry Challenges..............................................................................................3 Visionary Innovation & Performance and Customer Impact........................................3 Conclusion...........................................................................................................7 Significance of Company of the Year.............................................................................8 ..........................................................................................................................8 Key Benchmarking Criteria ....................................................................................8 Best Practice Award Analysis for Aspect ........................................................................9 Decision Support Scorecard ...................................................................................9 Visionary Innovation & Performance .....................................................................10 Customer Impact ...............................................................................................10 Decision Support Matrix ......................................................................................11 The Intersection between 360-Degree Research and Best Practices Awards.....................12 Research Methodology ........................................................................................12 Best Practices Recognition: 10 Steps to Researching, Identifying, and Recognizing Best Practices .................................................................................................................13 About Frost & Sullivan ..............................................................................................14
  • 3. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2016 3 “We Accelerate Growth” Background and Company Performance Industry Challenges Analytics is an integral part of customer contact today. It is central to the process of effectively managing applications within the contact center as well as live agents. Data related to performance and workforce management can be the difference between agent satisfaction and defection – and also between customer satisfaction and churn. Still, workforce optimization (WFO) is relatively new in the contact center. It developed from various related segments of customer contact – call recording and quality monitoring (QM), performance management (PM), workforce management (WFM), and analytics. WFO tools allow contact center managers to closely monitor and measure the effectiveness of their staff, from an overall perspective down to a single interaction between an agent and a customer. This solution allows for accurate staff planning. While WFO aims to get the most out of an often fickle and transient workforce, it is also meant to increase performance in the back office. Above all, Frost & Sullivan points out that WFO should improve agent engagement, empowerment, and satisfaction - and ultimately lead to increased client satisfaction and an improved Customer Experience. Yet Frost & Sullivan notes that WFO suppliers have faced numerous significant challenges. Longstanding providers have been faced with the choice of integrating premise-based system silos of core WFO components, or starting from scratch to create suites of integrated applications. Adoption of these suites took off slowly due to the steadfast belief that call recording systems should remain on-premise for reasons related to customer security, cost, etc. Meanwhile, providers of cloud-based solutions needed to develop WFO cloud-based applications as feature rich as their premise-based counterparts. Suppliers have also had to evolve their solutions to match the needs of a changing consumer landscape that favors self-help over live assistance - and that is increasingly tech-savvy, social, and mobile. This new consumer also represents the next generation of contact center agents and supervisors. Finally, suppliers have had to market to a sometimes daunting competitor – the contact center owner who would rather not change and prefers to stay married to spreadsheets and the onerous, manual manipulation of schedules and data. Visionary Innovation & Performance and Customer Impact Aspect Software provides a complete suite of contact center solutions, available in the cloud, on-premise, or as a managed service. These solutions cover all components of the contact center – from core routing functions, self-service, outbound dialing, and workforce optimization.
  • 4. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2016 4 “We Accelerate Growth” Visionary Scenarios Through Mega Trends At Aspect Software, a guiding tenant within R&D for WFO is addressing the changing dynamics of the workforce. While the complete portfolio of Aspect products addresses the changing consumer base, it is not lost on Aspect’s R&D staff that younger consumers are also the new generation of workers. Aspect clearly factors both realities in the design of its products. Much has been written about “Millennials as Consumers.” They like to self-help and prefer self-service to live agent assistance. They research before they buy - and are therefore typically more informed than prior generations before their inquiries get to the contact center. Millenials live on social networks and are mobile. And they tend to aim for a better work-life balance. Frost & Sullivan notes that Aspect addresses all of these trends in unique ways. Perhaps the best example is the recent introduction of Aspect Mila, a self-service chatbot for the workforce. Bots themselves are an emerging trend within customer service, but until now were directed at self-service for customers - not supervisors and agents. Mila is an automated assistant specifically designed to assist supervisors to more easily manage their centers, and empower agents to manage work from anywhere. In designing Mila, Aspect targeted the expectations that make up today’s agent – “know me, make it mobile, let me do it, make it social, fit into my life, save me time, make me smarter, help me discover.” Mila combines self-service and natural language text communications to provide an intuitive, conversational interface to WFO applications, enabling agents to complete work tasks while mobile or from their desktop. For instance, agents can request time off, view their schedules, request schedule changes, inquire into the balance of their paid time off (PTO) hours, and view bulletin board messages. Mila allows agents to manage their schedules, including calling in sick. It also has automated WFM scheduling rules that can approve scheduling requests in real-time, and can trigger automated tasks to keep operations running smoothly. Mila also provides supervisors with mobile access to contact center statistics - such as number of agents out of adherence, current call volumes, average handle time, service level, etc. Frost & Sullivan also feels that it’s worth noting that gamification is now a part of Aspect’s portfolio as well, helping to provide a deeper level of engagement and connection with existing Customer Engagement functionalities. Addressing Unmet Needs Frost & Sullivan recognizes that Mila is a perfect example of how Aspect is at the forefront of WFO innovation – improving functionality of its existing products to directly address the unmet needs of customers, as well as developing innovative new products that anticipate client needs.
  • 5. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2016 5 “We Accelerate Growth” One of the hallmarks of Aspect’s WFO suite is the depth of functionality it provides compared to the rest of the competition - particularly in the realm of flexibility and ease- of-use. For instance, when the company decided to revamp its agent and supervisor desktops, it brought in a premiere UI design firm, Frog, to completely overhaul functionality across applications, not just change the look and feel of the product, as some others have done. The result is a modern, widget-based UI that is both intuitive and easily customizable for a business. Agent engagement and empowerment are key differentiators in design. In addition to gamification and Mila, its core WFO applications are designed to give agents more control over their schedules. For instance, consider sophisticated, yet easy-to-use scheduling functionality. Rather than just allow the agent to pick the start time for shifts and preferred days of the week to work, agents can put in additional preferences such as shift length and end time, allowing them the ability, for example, to take a shortened lunch break so they can pick up their kids. Aspect is API driven and provides simple customization for businesses without having to adjust the company’s core product. This addresses an issue that plagues the WFO market – the vast amount of customization and changes customers request to help run their centers. Aspect’s use of APIs has enabled it to be quite flexible in answering the needs of customers. For instance, in working with German companies, which are subject to myriad rules and regulations around work equity, Aspect can easily customize business rules - such as being flexible on shift requirements, not just by country, but by individual company. Price/Performance Value The depth of functionality in the WFO suite, coupled with the benefits it offers, provide a strong ROI for customers. Aspect has introduced solutions that reduce TCO as well. For example, the product supports software-based recording of customer interactions, so that hardware boards are no longer required, and there is no need for recording servers when integrated with UIP, which reduces TCO. In addition, for PCI compliance AES 256-bit data encryption is included in its bundles, for secure transmission of all audio and screen data over the network, and a “SecureAgent” feature is available for intelligent pause/resume of voice and screen recordings. This increases security, but also reduces potential costs due to security risks. Another clear differentiator is the product’s ability to accurately predict staffing requirements through a method of calibration. The solution also allows supervisors to create multiple trial schedules without copying databases to a separate system. As just one example, a supervisor can create scenarios for split shifts, or a change in length of shifts and days, to see what would be the effect of changing agents or groups from 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, to four days a week, 10 hours a day. It gives supervisors the ability do very granular simulations, which can drive ROI by quickly picking the best
  • 6. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2016 6 “We Accelerate Growth” approach for a given situation, reducing time and effort for the supervisor and increasing employee satisfaction, which ultimately reduces costly churn. Customer Purchase Experience WFO is just one component of a comprehensive portfolio of customer functionality. As one of the most well-established solution providers, Aspect offers customers a complete range of capabilities, available on-premise, in the cloud, or as SaaS deployments. It’s also the depth of functionality that is quite attractive to customers. The WFO suite provides one of the richest feature sets in the industry, but is also flexible in its design, with the tools that allow customers to quickly and easily modify parameters in each application area, reducing reliance on professional services. Several years ago, Aspect introduced “scrum development”, tighter defect classifications, and a heavy focus on test automation. Customers are now experiencing the highest levels of quality in Aspect history. Meanwhile, the company is in its fourth year of its initiative to revamp customer service, and it truly shows. An independent audit of service and support demonstrates that the company is now five times faster at resolving issues and three times faster than the technology industry average - with 70% more cases closed than before. In Aspect’s own case closure surveys, it scored a customer rating of 5.5 out of 6 overall. Customer Ownership Experience Aspect customers truly benefit from consistent product enhancements across all product areas. Indeed, Aspect recently moved to an Agile development process, enabling it to release feature enhancements to products without waiting for long release cycles, while still keeping up with quarterly releases of major feature enhancements and new products. In 2015, the company introduced 40-plus new features or products, with a healthy product roadmap. This is especially true within its WFO portfolio. For example, the initial release of Mila utilizes core features of a mobile workforce assistant; by the end of 2016, it will be expanded to utilize Facebook Messenger as an endpoint as well. This also gives Aspect customers another rich channel of customer interaction. The customer ownership experience is further enhanced due to Aspect refreshing its customer support and professional services – a process started in 2012. The company has created centers of excellence for customer support, with customer support managers who start at the sale and stay involved after implementation. Aspect also has created best practices in numerous areas of professional services including product implementation, technology customization, feature optimization/adoption, and others. It provides staff
  • 7. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2016 7 “We Accelerate Growth” augmentation and managed services. In addition, the company performs regular business reviews and health checks. Financial Performance Aspect is growing across all of its product lines. The 100% increase in 2016 WFO first half product bookings year-over-year is particularly notable, with strong growth around the globe, particularly in the UK, Australia, Japan, and India. The company’s recurring revenue stream (67% of total revenue) also impresses Frost & Sullivan, along with a 95% customer retention rate (cloud revenue and on-premise maintenance). Aspect’s retention rate for cloud is almost 99%, and the company started the year with a $100 million backlog in cloud bookings. This shows a strong movement away from reliance on legacy hardware for revenue, which is something that all traditional on-premise contact center providers have been challenged with. However, during 2015, the company’s premise business experienced a 64% year-over-year increase in UIP v7.x installed systems; and quality monitoring grew 112%. Finally, while many software companies have pulled back in R&D spending, Aspect reports more than $41M in annual R&D investment. Conclusion Aspect’s broad range of contact center solutions, including its impressive and deep WFO capabilities, backed by excellent customer support services, has greatly increased adoption of its WFO applications. This and its continuous track record of leading innovation are just some of the reasons that Frost & Sullivan is proud to present Aspect with the 2016 Global Company of the Year Award.
  • 8. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2016 8 “We Accelerate Growth” Significance of Company of the Year To receive the Frost & Sullivan Global Company of the Year Award requires a company to demonstrate excellence in growth, innovation, and leadership. This kind of excellence typically translates into superior performance in three key areas: demand generation, brand development, and competitive positioning. These areas serve as the foundation of a company’s future success and prepare it to deliver on the two criteria that define the Company of the Year Award (Visionary Innovation & Performance and Customer Impact). Key Benchmarking Criteria For the Global Company of the Year Award, Frost & Sullivan analysts independently evaluated two key factors—Visionary Innovation & Performance and Customer Impact— according to the criteria identified below.
  • 9. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2016 9 “We Accelerate Growth” Visionary Innovation & Performance Criterion 1: Addressing Unmet Needs Criterion 2: Visionary Scenarios Through Mega Trends Criterion 3: Implementation Best Practices Criterion 4: Blue Ocean Strategy Criterion 5: Financial Performance Customer Impact Criterion 1: Price/Performance Value Criterion 2: Customer Purchase Experience Criterion 3: Customer Ownership Experience Criterion 4: Customer Service Experience Criterion 5: Brand Equity Best Practice Award Analysis for Aspect Decision Support Scorecard To support its evaluation of best practices across multiple business performance categories, Frost & Sullivan employs a customized Decision Support Scorecard. This tool allows our research and consulting teams to objectively analyze performance, according to the key benchmarking criteria listed in the previous section, and to assign ratings on that basis. The tool follows a 10-point scale that allows for nuances in performance evaluation; ratings guidelines are illustrated below. RATINGS GUIDELINES The Decision Support Scorecard is organized by Visionary Innovation & Performance and Customer Impact (i.e., the overarching categories for all 10 benchmarking criteria; the definitions for each criteria are provided beneath the scorecard). The research team confirms the veracity of this weighted scorecard through sensitivity analysis, which confirms that small changes to the ratings for a specific criterion do not lead to a significant change in the overall relative rankings of the companies. The results of this analysis are shown below. To remain unbiased and to protect the interests of all organizations reviewed, we have chosen to refer to the other key players as Competitor 2 and Competitor 3.
  • 10. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2016 10 “We Accelerate Growth” Measurement of 1–10 (1 = poor; 10 = excellent) Company of the Year Visionary Innovation & Performance Customer Impact Average Rating Aspect 9 10 9.5 Competitor 2 8 8 8.0 Competitor 3 7 7 7.0 Visionary Innovation & Performance Criterion 1: Addressing Unmet Needs Requirement: Implementing a robust process to continuously unearth customers’ unmet or under-served needs, and creating the products or solutions to address them effectively Criterion 2: Visionary Scenarios Through Mega Trends Requirement: Incorporating long-range, macro-level scenarios into the innovation strategy, thereby enabling “first to market” growth opportunities solutions Criterion 4: Implementation of Best Practices Requirement: Best-in-class strategy implementation characterized by processes, tools, or activities that generate a consistent and repeatable level of success. Criterion 3: Blue Ocean Strategy Requirement: Strategic focus in creating a leadership position in a potentially “uncontested” market space, manifested by stiff barriers to entry for competitors Criterion 5: Financial Performance Requirement: Strong overall business performance in terms of revenues, revenue growth, operating margin and other key financial metrics Customer Impact Criterion 1: Price/Performance Value Requirement: Products or services offer the best value for the price, compared to similar offerings in the market Criterion 2: Customer Purchase Experience Requirement: Customers feel like they are buying the most optimal solution that addresses both their unique needs and their unique constraints Criterion 3: Customer Ownership Experience Requirement: Customers are proud to o
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