Recently NewVoiceMedia announced that it has raised $50 million to fund its growth. The company was founded in 2000 in the U.K., initially offering call management and routing as cloud-based systems. Until then, most companies built their contact centers using on-premises private branch exchange (PBX) or automated call distributor (ACD) call management systems, with on-premises call routing and business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM). Some companies offered off-premises business application services, and salesforce.com had just begun to push its CRM in the cloud offering.

My first direct contact with NewVoiceMedia was at the London Call Center Expo in 2011. There, to my astonishment, five minutes after stepping into its booth, I had been set up as an agent on its contact center in the cloud and was receiving support calls on my mobile phone. This was something that had taken days, if not weeks, on centers I had helped to build. Earlier this year, it went one step further, and using the latest versions of its products, it now can create a complete multichannel contact center in a matter of hours.

This new funding allows it to accelerate the company’s international expansion, develop its portfolio of true cloud solutions and strengthen its infrastructure, sales, marketing and professional services capability in North America, Asia Pacific and EMEA. All of these are important for the company to continue its financial success and compete in what is now a highly competitive market. At this year’s Contact Center Expo in San Diego, there were 16 vendors demonstrating contact center in the cloud services, and  several more were not at the show. Not all of them offer the same services, but all position themselves as offering contact centers in the cloud.

NewVoiceMedia now offers two products, ContactWorld for Sales and Marketing and ContactWorld for Service. These support similar capabilities that have been extended from the original call management and routing to include call recording, click-to-dial, pop-up screens, outbound caller identification, dynamic routing based on caller ID or CRM data, ContactWorld Connect and reporting. ContactWorld for Service also includes post-call customer surveys and has been expanded to handle multiple channels of communication. From day one, NewVoiceMedia has had a close relationship with salesforce.com so it not surprising to see that some of the latest funding came from salesforce.com. The two companies continue to work closely together to provide tight integration between the two products, including Salesforce1 mobile integration, and joint sales efforts, which going forward are likely to help it win more sales.

vr_CCC_actions_to_improve_customer_interaction_updatedOur benchmark research on next-generation customer engagement shows that two of the biggest problems companies face in providing consistent multichannel customer engagement are that communication channels are managed separately (by 47% of companies) and there is little coordination between business units (in 33%).Our research on the contact center in the cloud also shows that a large percentage of companies plan to address these issues by adopting applications in the cloud (63%) and communications technology in the cloud (44%). There is no doubt in my mind that consumers will keep changing their communication habits, so more companies will need to ensure they provide superior multichannel customer engagement. This will expand across the enterprise, and more business units will need integrated management of multiple types of interaction. This demand is beyond the capability of on-premises centers and bodes well for companies that offer cloud-based services. The latest round of funding should help NewVoiceMedia invest in new product capabilities that meet market expectations and expand its global presence. If you want to examine contact center in the cloud applications, take a look at NewVoiceMedia.

Regards,

Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director


Now available from Ventana Research is our Value Index on Total Compensation Management for 2014.  Total compensation management directly addresses one of an organization’s largest investments – employee pay. As such it is a critical activity for supporting other human capital management and talent management processes.

VR_TCM_VI_2014Our Value Indexes are informed by more than a decade of analysis of how well technology suppliers and their products satisfy specific business and IT needs. For each we perform a detailed evaluation of product functionality and suitability to task in five categories as well as of the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. In this case the resulting index gauges the value offered by each vendor and its products in supporting total compensation management, which is necessary for running an organization efficiently and managing its largest controllable expense.

Total compensation management has evolved significantly over the four plus years in which we have published a Value Index on the topic. From both conversations with reference customers for this report and analysis from our benchmark research on this topic we conclude that it is still evolving as practice in organizations today. The research shows that spreadsheets are still the primary tool for compensation planning in one out of four (26%) organizations and used often by an additional one-third (35%). But it also shows that others use stand-alone compensation management products and still others have integrated the process and technology within a human capital management application suite. Regarding the latter our benchmark research shows that three in four (76%) participating organizations said that it is important or very important to have compensation management and talent management systems integrated; in addition lack of integration to talent management is the most widespread impediment to successful compensation management, selected by two-third (66%) of participants.

For compensation management to be fully effective in today’s organizations it also must include several next-generation technologies in use in other parts of human capital management. The most important of these is analytics that help managers make better compensation decisions. The increasing importance of compensation analytics is evident in our human capital analytics benchmark research, which reveals that the metric most often used by executives (75%) today is compensation.

Mobility and collaboration are becoming important to total compensation management.  Mobile capabilities are found in six of the compensation management products we reviewed for the Value Index; our human capital analytics research reveals growing adoption: one-third  of companies are using mobile technology for these analytics today, and more than half (52%) intend to use it. Collaboration, though less widely adopted, is important in larger organizations to enable managers in various roles to comment on the correct total compensation for their employees.

The 2014 edition of the Total Compensation Management Value Index evaluated both products that are part of a larger suite of talent management products, which was the most common type, and others that stand alone. In general, we find several benefits to a suite. Among them are analytics integrated with other talent management applications, a common user experience and centralized administration, which make ownership and adoption somewhat easier for the customer.

TCM_2014_Weighted_OverallAmong the compensation management products we evaluated, all cover core compensation management of salaries or hourly wages as well as merit pay, bonus pay and some kinds of incentive pay. Functionally, the differences among the nine products appear in areas such as support for complex plan rules, the number of geographies covered and the ability to support various types of compensation plans (for example, focal vs. anniversary plans) as well as the implementation of next-generation technologies. Some products offer more effective application management tools and better product documentation for support and business case development. While we recognize that some organizations may need only basic salary or hourly wage capabilities, we believe that many organizations with 1,000 or more employees will require more advanced functionality.  Therefore we based our overall assessment partly on the array of capabilities that comprise total compensation management.

Based on these evaluation criteria, the top vendor in our 2014 Total Compensation Management Value Index is SAP SuccessFactors, followed closely by PeopleFluent. This finish mirrored the ratings in the 2012 Total Compensation Value Index. Eight of the nine vendors in this year’s Value Index we rated Hot; this close grouping indicates the general maturity of this market. In this year’s Value Index following the two leaders are those also rated Hot who are: Oracle, Towers Watson, beqom, IBM, Decusoft and SumTotal Systems, and then ADP who was rated Warm. Two new vendors to this Value Index are Decusoft and Towers Watson, and then beqom who was previously known as Excentive.

In today’s competitive business and employment environment, more companies see compensation as a differentiator for their employer brand and want technology that can help them advance their compensation programs to attract and retain top talent. Next-generation technologies such as mobility and analytics enable employees to understand the total value of their compensation packages. As compensation plans become more complex, the need for capabilities like integrated budgeting and modeling become greater so finance departments can ensure that plans adhere to budgets. Furthermore, integrating compensation and performance management, as well as other key talent management applications, helps businesses judge and motivate their top performers. If these critical issues affect the performance of your own business, I urge you to utilize our 2014 Total Compensation Management Value Index for insights on how to address them most effectively.

Regards,

Stephan Millard

VP & Research Director

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