Volume 5, Issue 3 - February 12, 2010

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David Butler
Executive Director

National Association of Call Centers
100 South 22nd Avenue
Hattiesburg MS 39401
Tel: 601.447.8300


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NACC Investment Portfolio

Original Value start 11/6/2007
=US$90.00 or US$10.00 per stock. 

The markets were down again the past two weeks due to a whole series of fears and levels of uncertainty. The NACC Investment Portfolio is down over $2.00 to $95.28. Verint has almost made it into positive territory so we are pulling hard for them and hope that NICE will follow them.

NACC Composite Index

The NACC Composite Index was down 3.56% during this past two weeks. The index is now 94.57, down over 3 points.


The NACC Composite Index was down 3.56% the past two weeks. The other indices were down as well, with the NACC Composite Index matching the NASDAQ most closely.


"There are a billion people in China. It's not easy to be an individual in a crowd of more than a billion people. Think of it. More than a BILLION people. That means even if you're a one-in-a-million type of guy, there are still a thousand guys exactly like you."
-A. Whitney Brown

Picture of the Week

It's time to take a tour of China. We all need to better understand this country which, in land mass, is about the same size as the US (except for Alaska), but has a billion or so more people. That's quite a market. And in many ways, Shanghai is the heart of it all. Certainly it is the financial heart of China and the city of the future. Here, we see a picture of, on the left, the tallest building in China, the Shanghai World Financial Center (completed in 2008) and, on the right, the 1999 Jin Mao Tower.

Reports from the NACC


The NACC has been burning the midnight oil and typing until our fingers are sore to bring out reports to our members. Each is listed below. If you are interested to see what we are writing about, click on the images below and download the executive summary of each. If you like what you see, join the NACC so that we can send you these reports and others that will be coming out soon to ensure you know the latest trends in the industry.

Verint Acquires Iontas -More Good News for the Industry

Paul Stockford, Research Director, National Association of Call Centers and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,

On February 4, 2010, Verint® Systems Inc. announced that it had acquired privately-held Iontas. Iontas is a provider of desktop analytics solutions that measure application usage and analyze workflows to help improve staff performance in contact center, branch and back office environments. Verint, as most readers already know, is an industry innovator and leader in Workforce Optimization (WFO).

Iontas has been a Verint OEM partner for a number of years so Iontas desktop analytics is already integrated with Verint's Impact 360® WFO suite. Verint will now start to work on giving Iontas a similar look and feel as other Impact 360 functions and will make desktop analytics an integral and tightly integrated part of a complete WFO solution.

Desktop analytics is a contact center solution that has been somewhat overshadowed by higher profile analytics solutions such as performance management and speech analytics. At the NACC we believe all that is about to change as the industry awakens to the power of desktop analytics and what it can reveal in terms of identifying cost savings and productivity increases via the tracking of worker time-in-motion and system performance. If you are not familiar with how desktop analytics works it will be worth your while to explore how it works and what it can provide. NACC members are welcome to contact us directly for a detailed discussion of desktop analytics.

In a nutshell, desktop analytics addresses the issue of consistency in process performance on the agent or back-office worker desktop. It allows managers to view and automatically analyze process steps in motion in order to identify potential workflow improvements and best practices. Desktop analytics can also identify problems such as software “hang-ups” that negatively impact productivity as an agent navigates his or her desktop software during a customer service engagement. The savings that desktop analytics has the potential to uncover can be stunning.

Beyond bringing desktop analytics into the workforce optimization mainstream, we find Verint's acquisition of Iontas to be significant in that it is further evidence that the contact center industry is rapidly gaining momentum and is working hard and fast to put the economic recession behind us. Verint was one of the few companies that continued to operate with confidence during the recession. The benefits of that strategy are now apparent to Verint's customers and prospects as it brings this powerful desktop analytics capability to its WFO solution suite.

From the Trenches

Business Process Optimization: The Contact Center is a Good Place to Start

Brian Hinton, Principal Consultant – Strategic Contact,

Organizations have understood the value of reviewing and optimizing processes for over 100 years. The focus started back in the 1890s with continuous process improvement, grew in significance after WWII with the manufacturing quality initiatives flowing out of Japan, and became Business Process Reengineering (BPR) in the 1990s. Yet moving process optimization out of manufacturing and into the enterprise as a whole has been difficult because:
-End-to-end process change requires total organizational buy-in and massive change. [You can't turn a ship on a dime.]
-End-to-end process change crosses organizational boundaries. [It's tough to break down the silos.]
-Organizations can be jaded by the ebb and flow of the latest organizational fad. [Not again!]

One hundred years of experience tells us that there is value in optimizing processes. The contact center can be a great place to break through the enterprise barriers. Why the contact center?
-Most centers have complex desktops that were cobbled together with less than ideal application integration and the associated processes.
-The contact center is a critical element for many of the organization's internal processes.
-The contact center is made up of labor intensive, repetitive, high volume processes. There is “low hanging fruit” that could generate results – in measurable payback - quickly and secure buy-in to go further.
-Business Process Optimization (BPO) is a way to improve service while reducing costs, breaking the historical tradeoff between better service and lower costs. You can have it all!

To begin a business optimization project, define the overall project in detail. Identify the opportunity for process redesign and develop the associated business case for the project. Define and document the business drivers for process redesign project and the goals for the specific project. A detailed project definition includes scope, budget and timeline.

Next, form a project team by identifying appropriate team members based on the project definition. Give the team the opportunity to refine the project definition during the initial team meetings. Then, to complete project preparation, develop a communication plan that starts with passing project details to the entire organization to begin preparing for change.

Over the next few weeks, we will provide a series of articles that provide an overview of the steps in a business process optimization project for your contact center. They include:
-Discover – understand your world, the possibilities and your current business processes
-Assess and analyze – look for improvement opportunities, identify options, define principles and assumptions, develop preliminary value analysis
-Define and Develop/Design – make a plan the defines what you can really change, including phasing, initial redesign and ROI
-Document and Validate – map your new processes and test
-Execution – define critical success factors, including a cross-functional team, a pilot, formal change management and monitoring/fine tuning

We hope that this series inspires you to explore process optimization in your own center and provides effective guidelines to get you started.

Who's Buying What? Survey Reveals Changing Interest in Specific Technologies

Paul Stockford, Research Director, National Association of Call Centers and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,

As reported in the last issue of this newsletter, we began this year by asking our readers and members about their attitudes and intentions relative to their businesses in 2010. In the course of the survey that we launched for this purpose we also asked respondents which technology solutions they had, wanted or intended to buy or replace during this year. The results, illustrated graphically in Figure 1 below, show that workforce productivity is still top of mind when it comes to acquiring new technology for the contact center. We also found it interesting that certain attitudes and intentions had changed somewhat since we last collected this sort of information during our more detailed mid-year survey in 2009.

Figure 1: Survey Responses to Questions Regarding Technology Acquisition Attitudes and Intentions

As the reader will notice, the voice logging and monitoring solutions dominate those technologies that respondents already own. That shouldn't be a surprise given the popularity of quality monitoring in the contact center and the fact that call logging has become common practice in many organizations even when it isn't required by law. What is surprising is that speech analytics, which brings a great deal of data-mining value to call logging scenarios, has lost traction in terms of interest as compared to our mid-year survey. In 2009 only 57 percent of respondents indicated no interest in speech analytics. In this early 2010 survey, 67 percent of respondents indicated no interest. Despite the glowing reports and enthusiastic market forecasts that speech analytics seems to garner, the buyers are telling us the market is not yet ready for widespread deployment of speech analytics.

The “Other” category in Figure 1 refers to Web 2.0 applications such as social media and social networking. With 57 percent of respondents indicating no interest in Web 2.0 applications, it rivals speech analytics for buyer indifference. We believe, however, that indifference will change to enthusiasm in the near future as the next generation of customer service professionals, not to mention the customers themselves, will rely more than previous generations on social networking tools to communicate and share opinions about products, companies, experiences and so on. Contact center professionals will have to follow suit in order to stay current with their customers.

The other result that jumped out at us when reviewing the numbers was how virtual queuing is viewed by the respondents. With 63 percent of respondents indicating no interest in virtual queuing, we were surprised to find that virtual queuing led the pack in technology solutions that had been funded for purchase by our respondents this year. Because virtual queuing is a double-edged sword in that it can simultaneously impact agent productivity and customer satisfaction, we would expect to see interest in evaluating this solution to be higher that it is. Perhaps that will change as industry-wide adoption rates for virtual queuing grow.

The interest in the various technologies by our survey respondents tracks closely the types of inquiries we have been receiving this year from NACC members interested in specific technologies and/or vendors. While the results indicate there is still a strong interest in agent productivity tools, as there was in last year's survey, we also see growing interest in tools that will allow more productive communications with customers in the future. There also appears to be the beginning of a robust replacement market developing for certain technologies, which indicates that buyers are ready to turn over older equipment in the interest of remaining competitive in 2010.

Call Center Comics!

If you like this comic and would like to see more write Ozzie at and visit his website at or just click on the comic to take you to his page. The NACC appreciates Ozzie letting us use some of his comics in our newsletter.


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