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Selecting Agent Management Solutions – are you asking the right questions?

Ross Daniels at Calabrio looks at the recently published 2022 Agent Management Value Index Report from analyst firm Ventana Research, for insights into how to structure software selection processes – to help organizations pose the right questions to get the right answers.

In its recent report, Ventana Research came to the conclusion that, “The pandemic created the circumstances for a complete reassessment of the tools and processes used in contact centers to manage agents”.1 Based on this insight, it is likely that many organizations will be considering business improvement projects and software selection processes to enable the changes driven by hybrid working, increased demand and employee churn.

Unless you use the most relevant selection criteria and pose the right questions, you can easily choose solutions which aren’t right for your operation, can’t address the most pressing issues and won’t prepare you for the future. Selection of the right platforms and technology is vital for the success of a modern business, however it is not an activity that is undertaken regularly. Often the solution choices and technology options evolve so rapidly that the criteria used in previous selection processes have become outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

With this in mind, it is great to see analysts, with close to two decades of experience, provide some independent advice on how to structure RFI/RFPs and selection processes for Agent Management solutions. The 2022 Agent Management Value Index Report “provides a baseline of knowledge that organizations can use to evaluate vendors and products, to manage and improve agent management processes.” Access the report reprint here.

A process for evaluating vendors

Ventana Research believes that “business improvement efforts should be based on best practices that research indicates deliver value quickly”. The analyst firm has developed what it calls the Value Index which can be used to evaluate agent management business systems and tools. It advocates using the index as part of a structured approach to ensure the right choices are made to provide the required results.

In its Value Index for Agent Management, Ventana Research evaluates software against seven key categories, of which five are product experience related and two cover customer experience. The categories are:

    • Usability
    • Manageability
    • Reliability
    • Capability
    • Adaptability 
    • Vendor Validation 
    • Total Cost of Ownership and Return on Investment (TCO/ROI).

Ventana Research used its own index categories to evaluate agent management solutions from 18 vendors and I’m pleased to say that Calabrio was placed in the leader tier as an Exemplary Vendor and a Value Index Leader for Capability, Usability and Manageability.

Build the categories into selection processes and weight them as needed

The Index categories are also useful to build into your own organization’s RFI/RFP software selection process. The categories can be weighted to match their importance to specific needs. In this way, you can evaluate and score solutions and vendors objectively against common criteria to help drive a structured and documentable selection process. This step provides the evaluation tools necessary to move from a long list of vendors and solutions to a shortlist which can be evaluated in depth to make the final selection.

An ordered, transparent and auditable selection can be useful to:

  • Speed up the selection process itself
  • Reduce the cost of the selection
  • Drive a common understanding across your organization
  • Gain sign-off from Purchasing and Senior Management for the selection made
  • Provide criteria to measure success.

The Ventana Research report provides an evaluation of vendors and a methodology, built on almost 20 years of research experience, which can be used in your own evaluation and selection processes.

A framework for a technology-driven business improvement project

The report also outlines eight steps which should make up a technology-driven business improvement project. These include the importance of establishing technology evaluation criteria and how to evaluate and select the right technology to match the specific business requirements of your organization more efficiently and accurately. The report in particular helps readers to complete these two phases.

Download the report to help you ask the right questions

As operations reassess the tools and processes used in contact centers to manage agents, it is vital to ask the right questions to gain the right answers. To learn more about how your organization can utilize Ventana Research’s approach, go to Calabrio’s reprint of the Agent Management Value Index: 2022 Vendor and Product Assessment to download your own copy.

As Chief Marketing Officer, Ross is responsible for Calabrio’s global marketing efforts, including digital marketing, demand generation and pipeline marketing, content strategy and creation, customer marketing, partner marketing, and corporate communications. Ross is also responsible for supporting Calabrio’s partners–driving strategic technology and platform partner relationships, channel programs and marketing, and developer and services partners. Prior to joining Calabrio in 2017, Ross spent 18 years at Cisco in roles encompassing product management, product marketing and marketing, including serving as the Senior Director of Collaboration Marketing for Cisco’s nearly $5B Collaboration business. Ross holds a BA in English from Harvard University and an MBA from Babson College.
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