dvsAnalytics Makes Strong Showing in Workforce Optimization

Having covered workforce optimization systems for more than 10 years, recently I was contacted for a briefing by dvsAnalytics. I quickly learned that the analytics mentioned in the company’s name are focused on workforce optimization. Founded in 1983, dvsAnalytics is headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., and has thousands of customers in various industry sectors. Its Encore suite of products includes standard workforce optimization applications for call recording, quality management, workforce management and coaching as well as post-contact surveys, live monitoring, multiple forms of analytics and a range of APIs to support integration with third-party products, especially telecommunications systems. The products have mostly been developed in-house although workforce management is provided through integration with Community Workforce Management from WorkForce Management Software Group. vr_NGWO2_06_use_of_agent_workforce_applicationsDvsAnalytics makes its products available on-premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid environment; unlike some vendors, it builds all three options on the same code base. Most of its sales and post-sales support are provided through a network of partners in various locations.

Our 2015 Workforce Optimization Value Index shows that this market is mature and highly competitive: We rated seven of the 10 vendors we evaluated – which did not include dvsAnalytics – at the highest Hot level, and only 3 percentage points separate the seven Hot vendors. In addition, our benchmark research into next-generation workforce optimization finds that user companies expect any workforce optimization vendor to support core capabilities such as call recording (78%), quality management (70%) and workforce management (59%).

For its part, dvsAnalytics supports all of these, and some other capabilities are noteworthy. As well as phone calls, its recording product captures email and chat sessions, plus agents’ use of their desktop systems. Thus companies can assess how well agents are handling these newer forms of customer engagement. Encore Desktop Analytics enables companies to spot inefficient processes and difficulties in accessing information to resolve interactions, and to identify the best- and worst-performing agents. These capabilities make it easier for companies to understand which agents are delivering the best customer experiences and determine process changes and training or coaching that could improve performance, which in my view is essential for companies to remain competitive. Encore Live Monitor allows supervisors to monitor interactions from smart mobile devices, making it possible for them to take action in real time if, for example, an agent isvr_NGCE_Research_11_key_metrics_for_customer_engagement not meeting customer expectations or the caller is becoming abusive.

Its business analytics can ingest multiple forms of data such as CRM records, calls, survey data and desktop usage. A combination of data, speech and desktop analytics allows companies to gain a fuller insight into agent performance, its impact on customers, and the business outcomes of interactions. It also supports searching through interaction data to extract information from specific interactions, which can become part of the quality monitoring and coaching processes. Our research into next-generation customer engagement shows that companies increasingly deploy these types of analytics and guiding metrics to better understand interaction handling from agent, customer and business perspectives.

Several of these workforce optimization  capabilities cannot function fully without tight integration between them, and with external systems such as communications channel management systems. To meet these requirements dvsAnalytics has worked to ensure its products are closely integrated and built a portfolio of standard integration capabilities with the most common communications platforms such as those from Avaya, Cisco, Mitel and NEC. Like other vendors it needs to continue these efforts as companies deploy more channels of communication and turn to communications platforms emerging in the cloud. It also is developing visualization capabilities for analytics which, along with modernizing its user interface, are essential to continue competing in this market.

Overall I find that its products meet most companies’ requirements for workforce optimization. It also has broad analytics capabilities that it is continuing to enhance, and the products are tightly integrated for ease of administration and of taking actions that cross product boundaries. As noted, dvsAnalytics has clients in various industries. I therefore recommend that companies seeking to enhance the people side of handling customer interactions add it to the list of vendors they evaluate.


Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

New Generation of Recurring Revenue and Billing Inspired from Cloud Computing

vr_bti_br_importance_of_cloud_computingMuch has been written about how cloud computing changes the way businesses source their software and services. For software companies, instead of being installed inside the company, software like business applications run on a computer installed at an external site. If the external site is not shared with any other business, this is called a private cloud; if it is owned and operated by a third party and supports more than one business, it is called a public cloud. In the case of public clouds, users access the applications via the Internet, and increasing they can do this while out of the office, using laptops or mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The main advantages of this model are that companies don’t need to invest in hardware or support staff to install and maintain hardware or software like these applications, the vendor handles system updates and users can work anywhere (including on the move) by logging in through a Web browser or an application designed specifically for mobile technology. Our research confirms that the overall importance is overall important in more than half (57%) of organizations.

With cloud computing and a shift to pay for what you use approach, it is not surprising that the billing model changes. Companies no longer pay an upfront license fee, followed typically by annual maintenance and support fees but pay on some type of usage basis. These can include a regular “license to use” fee plus charges based on the number of users, the amount of use, the volume of transactions and other factors depending on the supplier’s model. Such a model also changes the relationship between the supplier and the company into a subscription billing process. The parties typically agree on a contract for a fixed period of time and in many cases with an auto-renewing basis. The cloud vendor’s aim is to optimize usage (and the fees accruing from it) and if not auto-renewed, persuade the customer to renew the contracts and perhaps extend it by adding additional services; for its part the customer company wants support and maintenance taken off its hands during the life of the contract. This is complicated when customers want to use more support channels, such as self-service and mobile apps, and the supplier has to not just support them but continue to develop and build for evolving technology.

In any case the cloud model creates billing issues for the vendor that must be managed properly within commerce processes. For cloud vendors billing becomes more complex than in the old on-premises model. It now is based on recurring revenue, calculated by usage over a determined period but billed in intervals. The vendor has to produce invoices that include both regular periodic and event-driven usage charges; for the latter companies have to collect usage data from multiple devices. They also must include charges for packages of services (such as fixed-line telephones, mobile phone and data access and television). Charges may vary depending on events (more or less users), and the billing system must recognize discount periods, premium rates if usage goes beyond agreed levels and other factors. Invoices and payments likely will have to be enabled through online channels, and account management has to recognize the current state of the contract – for example, recognizing free offers at the beginning of the contract and special offers later to entice the user company to extend the contract.

For the cloud vendor, customer service also changes. It becomes a continuous, proactive process that has to blend with marketing, sales and commerce processes to achieve contract extensions and up-sales; because of this business units that have tended to work separately and keep their data in silos need to cooperate more. Customer service must be provided through more channels, and responses must be consistent regardless of channel. Customer engagement should be personalized and  take into the current state of the relationship; for example, at the start of a contract there will more emphasis on advising on how to set up the system, whereas during the life of the contract, the vendor should try to up-sell as well as resolve issues. To meet users’ growing expectations, vendors are likely to have to support a wider variety of self-service such as capabilities to self-administer the software, and access to support services and invoices via the Internet and mobile devices. All-in-all these new recurring revenue models offer the opportunity to extended the active customer relationship and increase customer value, but they also generate new invoicing and customer relationship challenges.

Along with its advantages the cloud model also creates challenges for businesses that use it. There are technical issues such as security, scalability, performance and integrating cloud-based data with on-premises data to, for example, create a complete view of the user company’s customers. There are also relationship issues such as expected levels of support, extending the contract or, in the worst case, terminating the contract and moving to another supplier.

vr_bti_br_top_benefits_of_cloud_computingThe cloud model is enabling more businesses to adopt such potentially lucrative revenue models. Consumers already subscribe to video rental services and pay for what they download. Photographs can be uploaded to the cloud, processed and shared online, and charged for by volume. Hardware can be rented in the cloud and paid for by usage, size and services. Looking ahead, purchasing a car might become obsolete as more people choose to lease cars or subscribe to a service that allows them to rent a car on demand and pay by miles driven and/or days hired. With a broadening set of devices and technology on the Internet from wearable computing to transportation vehicles that is classified in the new term called The Internet of Things. This will  open up further opportunities as more devices become connected through cloud computing and companies offer to provide services through them or by connecting with them. Our research finds that cloud computing delivers a wide array of benefits from lowered costs (40%) to improved efficiency of business processes (39%) and within specific line of business areas and processes even more specific benefits as the adoption and utility of it becomes a standard method for organizations.

Recurring revenue is a rapidly developing market, and although issues are emerging, so are solutions. Ventana Research is seeking to understand current and emerging practices for billing and customer engagement for these business models and the changes such models are generating. If you already offer such services or are planning to do so in the next couple of years, please visit our benchmark research on recurring revenue. We will share the results to help guide you to business success in this business application and process category.


Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director