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NICE inContact Ups the Bar with WFO

NICE inContact, the reigning leader in the contact center-as-a-service (CCaaS) market, according Gartner’s recently released CCaaS Magic Quadrant for North America, used the backdrop of this week’s ICMI fall conference for contact center professionals to highlight two elements of the Fall 2019 software update for its CXone platform.
 
Native Salesforce Lightning Integration
Having been to the user and analyst events of a few CCaaS companies in the past two months, I can say without fear of contradiction that each one reports that it has the tightest integration with Salesforce and the closest relationship with the Salesforce Service Cloud team. As my fellow No Jitter blogger Zeus Kerravala noted publicly in two of those meetings: “But everyone says that.”
 
Bragging rights aside, you can’t underestimate the importance of a CCaaS solution’s integration to Salesforce, which has held the number one CRM software ranking since 2014. From my point of view, what differentiates the NICE inContact CXone integration from that of other CCaaS players is that CXone goes beyond CCaaS to include an increasing number of workforce optimization (WFO) elements. With the release announced this week, CXone Agent for Salesforce offers embedded WFO capabilities for agent scheduling, coaching, and quality management. As seen below, these are offered in new packages.
 
The new Lightning-native interface for CXone Agent for Salesforce gives agents the ability to handle up to 25 interactions concurrently, NICE inContact said. While that may seem at first like an unmanageable number, when you think about an environment that supports persistent conversations that can last over longer periods, it makes more sense. And as more interactions become digital-first, it’ll also become important for companies to support longer conversations.
 
Digital First
In May, NICE inContact acquired digital channel company Brand Embassy. As I wrote on No Jitter at the time, being able to integrate Brand Embassy into the CXone platform would allow NICE inContact to take a digital-first approach for the first time. With the second of this week’s ICMI announcements, NICE inContact signals that it has completed the required integration. Worth noting is how quickly NICE inContact was able to move from acquisition to integration announcement — just over five months. I believe it shows that the agility promised with microservices-built solutions is more than just hype.
 
NICE inContact introduced an interesting construct about digital channels in its press release. “CXone now offers the most supported first and second generation digital channels,” the company wrote. For years, the contact center definition of digital channels was email and chat. CXone now offers dozens of pre-integrated messaging, social, and traditional voice/chat channels natively in the CXone platform. These include integrations for Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, and more. As seen below, CXone goes beyond the mere ability to route and report on omnichannel interactions to include the WFO elements companies need to manage the agent side of executing on a digital-first strategy.
 
What makes each of these announcements newsworthy is the seamless way CXone incorporates WFO into everything it does. It’s not an afterthought. It’s not done only through partners. It’s a new bar that has been set.
 
Given the increased importance of WFO in creating a full contact center solution, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve added a session on the technology to the Enterprise Connect 2020 Contact Center & Customer Experience track. The session, which will be moderated by Forrester industry analyst Ian Jacobs, is titled, “How Cloud and AI Are Reshaping Workforce Optimization.” Join us! (And, if you haven’t registered for EC20 yet, as a No Jitter reader you can save $200 off the cost of registration when you enter the code NOJITTER at checkout.)