If you have ever driven to TMC’s headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut from I95 North you know about congestion. You see there are two exits that are a stone’s throw away from each other – 14 and 15 – and just before exit 14 is an on-ramp. Let’s just say that there is always some hold-up at this area of the Connecticut turnpike. People from the left lane are merging to get off exit 14 and 15 while others are merging.
If you aren’t careful you will have an accident and the whole mess pretty much delays the entire highway. I got to thinking of the contention for resources and space and terrible inefficiency when I was speaking recently to Tim Kraskey of Spanlink.
You see his company Spanlink recently purchased Calabrio a workforce management and scheduling software company. I wish this technology could be applied to my morning commute but alas we aren’t quite there yet. The concept would be like an air-traffic control system for cars.
Spanlink has been in the call center market for many years and has generally been ahead of the curve – first integrating web-based callback functions into call centers before it was trendy. Over the years they have evolved their strategy and their solutions are closely aligned with Cisco’s line of products. They basically take Cisco’s products in the call center and make them better. They add features like multi-tenancy, collaboration, unified communications, and they really excel at deploying IP contact centers in multiple locations to enable a single virtual call center.
I am not sure I would have guessed Spanlink would get into the WFM business but the move makes sense as it further rounds out the company’s portfolio. In addition Calabrio applications are written in Java – just like Spanlink so integration issues were generally easier than if the two companies had chosen different development platforms.
In addition I am told the corporate philosophies are similar and Tim tells me the Canadian based WFM software company has a hard-working and dedicated team.
The acquisition makes a good deal of sense when you realize that contact centers are becoming more and more virtual. This is important as the more subject matter experts you hire and the more of them there are at disparate locations, the more difficult it is to maximize their productivity. By integration WFM and contact center applications you guarantee you are extracting the most productivity from a team.
According to Tim, “Spanlink is the first company taking workforce optimization and tying it directly to agent and supervisor desktop applications.” He continues by saying you can now go to a single vendor and get all apps integrated as a suite.
Another interesting twist is the hierarchical approach so for example a car company can have independent divisions but the parent company can make sure there is escalation coverage as well as skills and specialty-based routing. In addition the system can be used for follow the sun service.
Spanlink tells me customer reaction to the acquisition has been favorable so far and they can now provide more of an integrated solution.
The integration of companies like Spanlink are great for the industry as a whole as it allows a customer to worry less about disparate software interoperating. By the same token companies who specialize tend to do better. In the end if Spanlink can keep the innovation engine at Calabrio running they will be able to have a blend of best in breed software and integration.
The question is, when can we use Calabrio’s solutions to ease the traffic situation here in Connecticut and elsewhere?
While traveling on the road to IP contact centers and workforce management, make sure to make a stop in San Diego in a few weeks for TMC’s Internet Telephony Conference & Expo and especially the collocated Call Center 2.0 conference. As call centers become contact centers and evolve to the next generation of productivity and efficiency Call Center 2.0 is the place to learn where the market is heading.