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Voice Print International recently announced it has selected Hewlett-Packard’s Autonomy to deliver speech and multi-channel analytics. This news means VPI joins a small group of vendors that can provide a view of customer interactions across multiple communication channels, which is of growing importance to companies. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows that companies now support an average of four to five channels of interaction with customers. Without a multi-channel view they are in danger of upsetting customers but not knowing what customers have tried before. The core challenge is that many interactions are either in the form of call recordings or text (email messages, forms, letters, chat and web scripts, and social media). Companies that cannot process all of these forms of data are left with an incomplete view.

VPI had previously worked with another partner, but wanted a solution that let them embed the partner’s product into its product and use it to process the basic data and integrate the results with its existing analysis and reporting engine. The Autonomy IDOL product fit the bill better than any other that VPI could identify.

Version 10 of IDOL is a software platform that, through a series of connectors, can extract information from unstructured data such as text and speech. It can recognize patterns within the data and so allows users to gain insight into the content beyond just extracting basic content, and it does this in multiple languages. VPI takes IDOL’s output and combines it with data from other sources, such as CRM, ERP and knowledge management software. Using other tools, such as desktop analytics, it integrates the data to provide insights into customer interactions across multiple channels.

This announcement represents HP delivering on one its promises post its acquisition of Autonomy to use the product to deliver customer sentiment analysis. HP is not known as a player in the contact center or customer management space so this announcement represents a significant step into this space. It also raises the profile of Autonomy, which has been quite quiet since the acquisition.

Multi-channel analytics has become a hot topic as companies begin using multiple channels regularly. Companies need to know what channels customers are using and how they are skipping across channels to try to resolve issues. The partnership between VPI and HP promises to deliver on these requirements, which makes it a solution companies should consider as they try to improve multi-channel customer engagement.

Regards,

Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

VPI, a well established vendor in the workforce optimization (WFO) space, was recently rated as a Hot vendor in the Ventana Research Agent Performance Management 2012 Value Index, which extends the traditional definition of WFO to include multichannel interaction capture, agent-related analytics, and agent compensation management. VPI’s Hot rating is a tribute to the functionality and architecture of its suite, even though it doesn’t include a WFM product (instead, workforce management is supported through integration with a number of the specialist WFM products) or compensation management.

The latest release from VPI does however support multichannel interaction capture, and its analytics capabilities have been enhanced and the architecture tweaked to support higher levels of scalability and performance. Every module within the suite now has embedded analytics, which deliver more than 150 standard metrics, many of which are produced in real time. They can be visualized as part of the agent desktop to help drive self-improvement, scorecards and other reports, all of which can be customized to individual user requirements. They can also be used to trigger alerts and workflow, allowing companies to link analytics with other processes such as quality monitoring, eLearning and coaching, and thus drive actions and performance improvement through a better understanding of agents’ performance against key metrics. Further analytics enhancements are in the pipeline.

VPI has evolved the product architecture into what it calls a hub and spoke model to make the product highly scalable. Functionality such as call recording can be distributed over several sites; for example, calls to and from branch offices can be recorded at the main office location without the need for servers in each branch.

VPI also continues to grow its third-party relationships, which enables it to provide additional capabilities and support other models for service delivery. The Ventana Research benchmark into likely adoption of cloud-based contact centers shows that companies are looking to this type of deployment to help resolve cost, functionality and integration issues as they enhance their centers. With this in mind, VPI has established an OEM-style deal with NEXXPHASE so that it can provided cloud-based contact center services through the integration of VPI, the Pipkins workforce management product, and intraday day agent management and eLearning from Knowlagent.

VPI has branched out into a new space and is now providing what it calls a virtual call center agent, which is a cloud-based software based service that uses voice recognition to solve customer issues instead of having customers talk to live agents. The system can be programmed to follow a defined process, driven by customer voice input. The beauty of the system is that it follows the same process over and over again, learning along the way, so customer issues are resolved more quickly and consistently over time. I am pleased to report that despite my and other people’s doubts about how customers would react to another type of automated service, VPI told me that it now has several customers, and the system is being accepted by their customers, and is delivering business benefits.

The contact center and customer service markets are developing quicker today than at any other period I have experienced during my time covering the industry. VPI continues to invest in its product portfolio to meet these growing demands as I have noted that VPI is making contact centers simpler to operate. As our Value Index finds, it is a vendor to not just watch but evaluate.

Regards,

Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

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