Historically, a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has obscured pay gaps and hindered the transparency of workplace wages. In today’s tight labor market, workers have choices in where they work, and are demanding equal pay for equal work. The goal of pay equity is to create workplaces that inspire loyalty, enthusiasm and trust by establishing an environment of transparency and equitable opportunity, ensuring fairness. The challenge for organizations is determining how to properly conduct bias-free pay equity analysis, including finding the right technology and identifying someone in HR to oversee pay equity on an ongoing basis.
Technology for managing contact centers is transforming quickly due to innovations like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). It is also splintering into multiple market segments that overlap: Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS), conversational AI (which is a modern form of self-service), cross-functional analytics, and integrations with tools for sales and marketing users. For buying organizations, it can be hard to identify exactly which vendors and market segments serve specific needs. For example, a business that needs a chatbot can go to dozens of suppliers with varying degrees of specialization, and with different approaches to the underlying business problems creating the need in the first place.
Organizations are looking for ways to enhance their tools for both internal and external communications. Several unified communications (UC) companies are now producing platforms that combine UC with contact center functionality, with varying degrees of underlying integration. Building up those contact center components is a way for some firms to differentiate their offerings, with some vendors trying to make the contact center platform more of a business toolkit, tying it to the back office. Dialpad is among the companies taking this approach, notably by building out its use cases for artificial intelligence (AI), as well as building an underlying automation toolset and continuing to develop its analytics offering.
The practical advancement of artificial intelligence is being realized by embedding it into applications across human capital management processes. Using AI to generate personalization enables workflows for managers to make quicker and better decisions, ranging from talent acquisition to engaging candidates to become more effective workers. The challenge for organizations is to find applications that use AI to support daily tasks of workers and HR teams, advancing the talent of the organization. Aside from finding the right software, organizations must also identify technology vendors that are equipped to properly train users for successful adoption. Companies like Phenom not only use AI for optimizing talent experiences to hire, develop and retain people into the workforce, but employ AI to change how talent is empowered to be talent.
While total compensation is not an area that can be handled by a one-size-fits-all solution, many companies lack dedicated compensation software. According to Ventana Research, many HR departments are not equipped to manage sophisticated programs that extend beyond the annual review process. Even among HR departments that do acknowledge the importance of total compensation management (TCM), many rely on outdated systems such as spreadsheets. The use of spreadsheets rather than dedicated compensation management software is a mistake though, considering only 15% of organizations that rely on spreadsheets can report that they do have errors. In the current environment, it is critical that organizations attract and retain productive members of the workforce. A key component of retention and recruitment is ensuring that appropriate compensation exists so employees feel like they are valued by the organization. One organization that is trying to address this issue by creating dedicated TCM software is beqom.
Contact centers are investing in a wealth of new ideas for better assisting their agents. These include engagement tools, better knowledge management and a more robust hiring pipeline and retention strategies. Also, a rising theme from many contact center users and providers is the availability of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies. Ventana Research asserts that by 2026, three-quarters of organizations will have expanded the stakeholders influencing customer experience software buying decisions resulting in greater accountability and better resource allocation. This suggests that contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) vendors need to be able to express the value of contact center tech more broadly, including the ability to boost customer acquisition, loyalty, value, and other outcome-based key performance indicators (KPIs).
Data is moving to the cloud. And as cloud applications are adopted, it means that many critical sources of data for analytics now, or soon will, live in the cloud. In fact, nearly nine in 10 participants in our research (89%) reported that they plan to use cloud-based analytics deployments, and the overwhelming majority of organizations (86%) expect that most of their data will eventually be in the cloud. But, as organizations look to embed analytics and reporting into their applications, they face many hurdles including high infrastructure costs, lack of domain-specific expertise and roadblocks that appear when scaling.
The current sales cycle software space is one of complexity. Business-to-business sales across all industries are becoming more complex and require more care in their management. The rise of the subscription economy is one example contributing to this complexity. Buyers are not just buying one product at a time, but rather could be buying multiple products over different periods of time, with renewals on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.
Contact centers are undergoing a radical reshuffling of the workforce, partly because the pandemic shifted agents to remote work. But the trends were in place to reorganize the world of work long before the pandemic. Digital contact channels, which are gaining popularity, require workers that are better informed and capable of handling more complex and interdependent interactions and processes. That’s changing the nature of training, management and even process design between departments. Organizations have to provide agents with appropriate tools to collaborate and communicate with peers and supervisors, and also with peers in the back office who participate in all sorts of customer-facing or customer-adjacent processes. It is also important to provide supervisors with visibility into agent activity. That means extending existing coaching and evaluation methods, and Ventana Research believes that by 2025, 9 in ten organizations will have deployed agent management systems with features specifically built to provide supervisors the ability to manage and coach agents working from home.