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Workforce Management Solutions Playing Increasingly Important Role in the Budgeting and Planning Process

October 26, 2009

When people talk about workforce management software for the call center, they typically focus on the ability to forecast how many agents will be needed for any given shift, based on call volume, in order to arrive at labor efficiencies.

This is a key capability, and one that software vendors frequently emphasize because it helps companies hold down operating costs and see an immediate and demonstrable return on investment. After all, labor is the single biggest cost facing any call center – and there’s nothing worse than having a bunch of agents sitting around idly while they are waiting for calls to come in. Over-schedule agents and call center efficiency plummets – under-schedule and call hold times increase and service levels erode. But with WFM, call center managers can achieve this delicate balance more easily.

These powerful software solutions, though, can also play an important role in the budget planning process – which, since it is now October, many companies are embarking on. Through integration with the call center ACD, today’s workforce management systems can extract historical call data, analyze it and, by applying algorithms, generate forecasts for future call volume that are remarkably accurate. Company accounting departments can extend out these forecasts and combine them with other data to determine -- and justify -- call center staffing levels over the upcoming year.

In other words, today’s WFM systems are increasingly being used as long-term strategic planning tools – as well as for their short-term forecasting and scheduling capabilities. When you consider that most companies or agencies experience the same business cycles, year-after-year, it only makes sense that the call center would be the viewed as a central repository for the data upon which long-term strategic planning and budgeting can be based.

Call center managers are already using WFM systems for forecasting, staffing and scheduling activities on a daily basis – and all of the adjustments that are made to the forecasts and schedules are recorded and archived in these systems. Therefore, company managers in charge of budgeting and planning already have a repository of data that gives them better visibility into trends – including call volume and service levels – upon which they can base decisions about future staffing requirements.

It only makes sense that companies would want to use this data in their long term planning and budgeting processes. Company finance departments can use the reporting capabilities of today’s WFM systems to help them anticipate future staffing, technology and organizational requirements. What’s more, they can use these systems to generate their own “what if” scenarios for the purpose of bringing contingency planning into the budget process as well.

Monet Software’s WFM Live is a fully Web-based workforce management system delivering advanced forecasting and reporting capabilities. To learn more about Monet’s WFM solutions, check out the company’s newly-redesigned Website. Here visitors can access a Workforce Management Success Kit offering additional tips on how to select a workforce management system.

Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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