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Enkata, as I wrote not long ago is continuing to expand the range and capabilities of its products for optimizing employee actions while maintaining a firm foothold in analytics for the contact center and agents. Its latest release, Action Center, maintains this position with a focus on improving employee performance.

The product captures data about how employees use the systems on their desktop, and enriches this data using other sources, such as CRM, ERP and HR systems. At the heart of Action Center is a rules-based engine that users create to define what they want to look for in the data. The analytics tools use this engine to discover patterns in the data and determine how employees actually spend their time – for example, what applications they access, what data they access and enter, how much time they spend in each application and where they spend that time, and even how much time they are idle. The application has various options so that users can visualize the data in the format most useful to them. It also includes the ability to trigger alerts or workflows when it finds a requested pattern so that supervisors or managers can be alerted that action is required. This allows companies to close the loop between identifying what has happened and why it happened and taking action to improve outcomes in the future.

This is a very timely release, as my research on the agent desktop and customer service vr_db_how_agent_desktop_information_is_usedshows that agents have to use multiple systems to resolve most interactions. In fact, in 65 percent of companies this is the case for every interaction, resulting in an increase in average call handling time (65%), and negative impacts on the customer experience (49%) and agent satisfaction (31%). To address this issue, mature companies are capturing data on how agents use their desktop, which among other things helps them identify best practices as found in 58 percent of organizations, improve processes (53%) and identify training needs (50%) according to our Agent Desktop Benchmark Research. Since Action Center supports these capabilities, I recommend that companies evaluate how it could be used to improve their employees’ performance.

Furthermore, it can help companies realign how they monitor and assess employee performance. In my experience, and based on the results of my research, many companies focus on a set of metrics that doesn’t align well with their business objectives. For example, agent utilization remains an important contact center metric, but companies often don’t concern themselves with what agents are actually doing as long as they are busy and queue lengths stay short. Action Center will tell them what employees actually do and how they do it. Using this information companies can put in place programs to ensure employees follow best practices and deliver the best outcomes. This might seem a bit like Big Brother watching, but in today’s highly competitive markets, the most successful companies will tread this line, and their employees will continue to have jobs and be more effective at conducting them.

Regards,

Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

Enkata used to focus its products on improving agent performance in the contact center. It has gradually expanded that focus to include improving the performance of workers in the back office, an effort that has culminated in a suite of products that help companies improve processing of healthcare claims.

The process begins by tracking how employees who handle claims use their desktop systems. Enkata’s software is loaded on the desktop and captures key strokes, regardless of whether the user runs an application, starts a search or enters or retrieves data into or from a business application. Managers or analysts can group key strokes and the sequence in which they are used to represent a task; that may include, for example, opening a claim through to closing the claim or looking up customer information. The product can analyze the tasks users carry out, spotting variations in how they complete a task compared to how they are expected to do it, and noting when they do the tasks, any unproductive tasks they do and when they are idle. All of this information is displayed in graphical forms that, for example, show where each user spends time, a timeline that maps how each user spends the day, and timeline maps that show how different users spend their days. The analysis can go into greater depth and display the steps users take within a task to flag, for example, if a user misses a required step.

Armed with this information managers and analysts can pick out patterns and variations from the expected. This type of analytic inquiry is becoming important for many organizations. Our benchmark research shows that analytics is the most important business vr_bti_br_technology_innovation_prioritiestechnology innovation for 39 percent of organizations. Enkata’s claims processing product includes a software scripting tool with which users can develop tracking applications that search for defined patterns or exceptions and display the names of users who exhibit the specified behaviors as they carry out their tasks. The final step in the process is to use this information to identify improvement opportunities and display them graphically on forms that include “click to action” buttons showing how the user needs to improve; for example, they can instruct the user to take a training session, receive coaching or adhere to a best practice. Reviewers can use these charts to set out action plans. Broader analysis across multiple users helps managers and analysts identify process improvements and action plans to ensure that more employees follow best practices.

Enkata has always positioned itself in the performance management space, and this product fits there. The end-to-end process of capturing data, analyzing it and creating action plans closes the claims processing loop and enables manages to enforce best practices. Over time the analysis can help companies improve the overall process by informally following Six Sigma procedures: set targets, measure performance against target, identify reasons for not meeting targets and put in place improvement programs to get future performance on target.

The product runs in the cloud and can be run in isolation or integrated with business process management applications; in that case it can input information on activities (processes) completed (including by who and when) and provide granular analysis of tasks within a process or steps within a task. Although Enkata’s first release is focused on claims processing, the concepts behind it apply equally to other processes so I expect to see other packages from the company.

In a tough economy, companies not only have to operate as efficiently as possible but also need to identify the consequences of processes or employee actions, such as the long-term cost of an employee settling a claim incorrectly. Companies also need to know what remote employees are doing and the outcomes of their actions. The analysis produced by Enkata’s software enables companies to do both. I recommend that those involved in processing claims evaluate it as they look to optimize processes and employee performance.

Regards,

Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

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