We are happy to share some insights about Cisco, drawn from our Ventana Research Value Index: Agent Management, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. Ventana Research defines agent management as a set of tools that incorporate a core of traditional workforce management and quality management software, with the addition of recent components like intelligent virtual assistants, agent-assistance or guidance driven by artificial intelligence, and automation via workflows that streamline processes and provide connections to back-office functions. Agent management suites often include knowledge management, desktop integrations, gamification, and customer collaboration tools like co-browsing and bot-assisted chat.
In all of our Value Indexes, we utilize a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal and vendor selection process for agent management. We evaluated Cisco and 17 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (Adaptability, Capability, Manageability, Reliability and Usability) and two related to the vendor (Total Cost of Ownership/Return on Investment and Vendor Validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and on data derived from our benchmark research on agent management.
Cisco provides a wide-ranging technology portfolio in networking, business communications and collaboration, and a cloud-based contact center offering. Cisco was categorized as an Innovative Vendor, ranking eighth overall in this Value Index evaluation. It ranked eighth in Product Experience, where it performed best in Reliability, and ninth in Usability and Manageability. It ranked 10th in Customer Experience and performed best in TCO/ROI. Its overall performance was impacted by its lower rankings in Adaptability and Capability that, together, represent 35% of the weighting in the overall Value Index.
Cisco could perform better in Adaptability — where it ranked 11th — in the area of integration, specifically to provide better integration into business analytics tools, and in migration and synchronization of data. In Capability, where it ranked 11th, it could examine the strength of its knowledge management and real-time guidance tools. Cisco did not participate in providing material and support for this evaluation. This assessment was based on Cisco’s products for agent management that were available as of November 1, 2021.
The Value Index methodology is designed to provide potential buyers with a balanced look at vendors and products, rooted in an understanding of business drivers and needs. Buyers should consider reviewing their own processes to discern whether they are using a broad enough framework in their own request for information/request for proposal explorations, one that includes the qualities in all seven of Ventana Research’s evaluation categories that are designed to provide the best possible product and customer experience. The decisions that go into deploying an agent management toolkit cross multiple departmental and functional boundaries. The tools themselves are becoming more complex and connected to other parts of the technology stack. That suggests a need for buyers to examine more than just the features and functionality vendors put forward.
On the vendor side of the equation, we are seeing evidence that the provision of agent management systems can be a strong differentiator for vendors that articulate the use cases for extended agent management in terms of benefits. The challenge is to draw clear lines between the core tools used for basic contact center operations and the extended tools that have more nuanced value propositions lying outside the center itself.
This research-based index is the most comprehensive assessment of the value of agent management software in the industry. Technology buyers can learn more about how to use our Value Index by clicking here and included vendors that wish to learn more can click here. Read the report here.