Have patience with my verbosity and allow me to preface this month's Technology Highlight. IEX's TotalView Workforce Management (WFM) software, which actually gives a total view (so it's not only a clever product name), provides a centralized platform for total visibility and optimization of contact centers. Customer Interaction Solutions has been knowledgeable of IEX and its product(s) for quite some time. Why does this fact matter? Since last year's regeneration of this monthly feature, I've intended to focus on IEX's WFM product early on. But, and here's the thing, it is incredibly comprehensive ' emphasis on 'incredibly.' There is SO much to it, all adding up to deliver the highest-quality customer service.
As mentioned previously, IEX TotalView Workforce Management software provides a centralized platform for optimizing the performance of the contact center. It is designed to assist contact centers in forecasting and planning more accurately and scheduling more effectively. The software supplies real-time information to allow better management of an agent's performance and the center's overall operation. WFM integrates data seamlessly across the enterprise and automates many time-consuming and labor-intensive processes.
TotalView Central encompasses the core features of TotalView, providing a solid foundation for effective workforce management in the contact center. The Central foundation includes automated forecasting, planning, scheduling (preference, bidding and management), change manager tools, an administrator, performance manager and the capability to plan and schedule for multiple-site call centers. Each of these tools within TotalView Central aims to enhance a call center's overall achievement of quick and meaningful results.
TotalView Advanced Features
Building upon TotalView Central's solid foundation, TotalView's advanced features deliver further performance for contact centers needing solutions to their advanced operational challenges associated with managing multiple agent skills, agent adherence and self-service capabilities, multiple customer contact media and enterprise-level data sharing and integration.
Myriad advanced features include those for each of the following functions: multimedia contact management; multiskill; WebStation; WebStation Plus; Adherence Suite; SmartSync Suite; and vacation and holiday planning.
TotalView's multimedia planning and scheduling aims to simplify the task of managing multiple customer contact channels, enabling companies' operations to both provide consistent service and optimize use of resources across channels. The TotalView Multimedia feature offers flexible service levels, channel-appropriate forecasting, multimedia service delivery, active backlog management and multimedia skills scheduling.
The TotalView Multiskill feature is a comprehensive solution that provides total visibility into staffing requirements, allowing for production of the best schedules possible for multiskill operations. The TotalView Multiskill process uses built-in simulation technology to create effective agent schedules by simulating ACD and network-level routing rules. The feature, with its set of management tools, also allows for analyzing how changes in contact arrival patterns, agent skills or routing rules will affect staffing requirements.
TotalView's Adherence Suite provides real-time and historical adherence features for supervisors to easily monitor and analyze agent activity:
' The TotalView Real-Time Adherence feature compares an agent's scheduled activity to current activity, using real-time data streams from ACDs and media routers to provide up-to-the-moment agent state information. The acquired information enables supervisors to make sure agents keep to their schedules throughout the day. Real-Time Adherence features include the following: automatic refresh; supervisor information; schedule access; user-defined colors and thresholds; multiple sorting options; and multisite support.
' The TotalView Historical Adherence feature provides comprehensive historical reports of agent schedule adherence, allowing supervisors and managers to view and document the performance of individual agents or agent groups. Reports show scheduled agent activities alongside actual agent activities. A summary of scheduled time, available time, and times and percentages in adherence is also included.
SmartSync Suite provides an open solution for easier data exchange between TotalView WFM and other systems. SmartSync Suite encompasses two powerful solutions, SmartSync Central and SmartSync Exchange.
' SmartSync Central provides standardized interfaces to more than 25 ACDs and other contact-routing systems for the collection of historical and real-time information on queues and agents. Further, it collects information from multiple sources for the same agent.
' SmartSync Exchange extends SmartSync Central's benefits to other contact center applications and systems. Providing full data synchronization between systems, SmartSync Exchange simplifies the process of consolidating information within the center.
The TotalView Vacation and Holiday Planner feature reduces administration efforts associated with agents' time-off requests and, therefore, ensures the contact center is properly staffed. The feature includes the following: flexible time-off categories; configurable rules; time-off requests; vacation viewer; automated bidding; and wait listing.
WebStation gives agents and supervisors Web-browser access for viewing schedules, monitoring performance and automating common contact center tasks.
WebStation Plus adds advanced workflow automation features to the core WebStation product.
TotalView Workforce Management system was recently updated in version 3.9, offering skill block scheduling features designed to make easier the management of multichannel contact types and other back-office work. The new version also aims to heighten agent empowerment with new time-off management and schedule preference capabilities.
The key advancement to IEX's latest version, according to IEX's product marketing manager Jose Martinez, is the Skill Block Scheduling feature, which automatically designates optimal time slots for agents to devote to a particular skill, whether it is outbound calling, e-mail, Web chat or other customer contact channel types. As well, centers can also manage offline tasks such as filing, fulfillment and other types of work. During these designated periods, the agent is only considered open to handle a defined subset of contact types; as a result, the center can manage multimedia and offline contact types much more effectively. The new Skill Block Scheduling features aim to ensure that every person in the center is aware of what he or she is supposed to be doing ' management, supervisor and agent, purposefully providing better efficiency, as well as a more satisfied workforce because of job variety.
The Time Off Manager allows agents to manage sick time, vacation, personal days and other schedule entitlements via any standard Web browser within the WebStation Plus module. This automates the process of managing, tracking, notifying and approving paid time-off. This feature also provides a 'wait list' capability for agents' desired days off.
Using the standard edition of TotalView WebStation, agents can view their schedules. In addition to that, with TotalView v3.9 agents are also given more influence over their start/stop times, days off, lunch time and break times; they can even view the status of their requests. New WebStation Plus agent preferences allow agents to indicate and input the desired characteristics of their work schedule. Preferences can be entered based on scheduling intervals defined by managers.
The WebStation feature now allows companies to specify whether they want agents to logon using either their ACD or TotalView identification information. So, if a company employs agents who work from their homes or from somewhere other than the company's primary call center sites, TotalView gives the company the option of enabling agents to view their schedules online without having to login to the company's call routing system.
WebStation Plus has further been enhanced to deliver ranking information to agents prior to schedule bids, so agents don't have to rank all schedules ' only the number equal to their ranking. Agent schedule preferences can now be entered based on default information, date range or group. The number of scheduled activities that can be added to the daily work rules has been increased from eight to 20, and forecasts and schedules can now be created and managed for an 18-month period into the future.
All aforementioned features and abilities of TotalView Workforce Management are merely key features and abilities. Visit the company's Web site to learn more about IEX WFM, as well as for reference of a fairly comprehensive document aid for potential buyers evaluating workforce management systems: www.iex.com/docs/wfm_eval.doc. CIS