How Intraday Automation is different to Workforce Management
There has been quite a lot of confusion in the contact centre industry trying to define what Intraday Automation is and whether it’s just an improved Workforce Management (WFM) system or if it’s a new technology deserving of its own category. In their recent Product Leadership report, Industry Analyst Frost & Sullivan, has succinctly defined the difference between these two technologies:
Intraday management is a more sophisticated approach to optimising workforce utilisation and an extension to workforce management (WFM). Intraday management seeks to apply last-minute adjustments to contact centre staffing to address peaks and troughs in contact centre volumes when the actual traffic falls significantly outside the forecasts used to develop the schedule. Intraday automation (IDA) simply means that the staffing adjustments and similar daily contact centre management processes are automated.”
True Intraday Automation does come out of the WFM space, and it’s the “Automation” that is the real magic here. Using a traditional WFM solution with a small army of supervisors and analysts, intraday management is a near impossible task to do manually. We know that attempts to make adjustments manually, based on a manual view of available resources and staffing requirements across multiple channels, skill-sets, and training activities, is just too complex. And if it is attempted it’s unlikely to be done efficiently or effectively.
With a deep understanding of WFM and what the planning departments and effective real-time teams are trying to achieve, our Intraday Automation platform has been created to transform resource optimisation management in the contact centre. Not only does our AI and algorithms predict the performance for the day ahead and recommend actions to mitigate risks, it also identifies idle resources and recommends actions to use that time more productively. But we didn’t create a technology that just drives efficiency and productivity, we put employees at the heart of our intraday solution. Our customers tell us that our technology improves the lives of their colleagues working on the front line with customers and gives their management clear, up-to-the-minute visibility of performance.
QStory does not replace the WFM system. It is a wrap-around technology that addresses the significant WFM functionality gaps and complements the existing contact centre technology stack.
How does the magic work?
QStory’s IDA platform interfaces into all the different software systems in the contact centre; WFM, ACDs, chat, social media, back office systems, quality assurance systems, HR systems etc. The platform accepts inputs from all these systems including scheduling data from the WFM system, traffic volumes (call, chat, messaging, social) and agent availability in real-time.
We have an intuitive smart-phone app for the front-line colleagues – the second they notify QStory IDA that they are ill or running late, using the current traffic and number of staff available to serve the customers we reforecast the day ahead and determine how it will unfold. Automatically the system will make recommendations on how to adjust the schedule to ensure service levels across the day will be met. We also report in real-time how the day is going, not just what has happened but the cause as to why it happened the way it happened. The automation algorithms built into our technology is based on our deep knowledge of contact centres, planning activities, WFM functionality and real-time management.
There is much more functionality built into our system which improves the working environment of our users. Functionality such as:
- Front line staff able to move their shifts or start time or breaks to fit in with their personal lives
- Team-leaders are able to set-up coaching and staff huddles without consulting the planning department
- Training departments able to independently schedule training sessions
- Agents requesting holidays and get an immediate response
- Identification of idle time which can be put to more productive use
- And uniquely in our industry, all the while these activities are taking place, the customer service level is being protected.
Automation gives an organization true flexibility – it gives the contact centre an safe agility that has never been experienced before – flexibility with protected service levels. And with that flexibility comes positive agent engagement which in turn improves employee satisfaction, reduces churn and ultimately improves customer satisfaction. Intraday Automation is a transformative technology in our industry and QStory are delighted to be the pioneers setting the benchmark in this sector.
In their report, Frost & Sullivan put it nicely, “there are very few stand-alone intraday automation competitors to QStory, but QStory IDA also competes with the intraday capabilities of a number of notable WFM suites as well as with one of the world’s leading contact centre platform providers. In Frost & Sullivan’s opinion, QStory excels in its agent engagement capabilities, and no competing solution enables the same level of flexibility.”
Frost & Sullivan awarded QStory their 2021 award for Product Leadership in the Global Workforce Management and Intraday Automation Industry