Wednesday, September 17, 2008

UK Contact Centre Expo Day 2

It was a good day in Birmingham today at the UK Contact Centre Expo.

My impression was that this year's Contact Centre Expo was smaller than last year's, but it was still a good show. I got very positive feedback on the presentations at the Cisco stand.

We had some of our partners; JAMIP, British Telecom, Cable and Wireless and Dimension Data presenting on how they use the Cisco Contact Centre portfolio. These were short, punchy ten minute presentations and as I say, they seemed to be well received by the audience. It generated a decent number of leads, so that is always good news.

Otherwise, there were a few interesting things at the show. I was interested in the Teleopti stand. I've blogged on them before (see "Workforce Management - Part 2 Vendor Selection
"), as their one of the interesting European Workforce Optimisation vendors. One of the issues with workforce management tools is that one size (American) does not fit all and Teleopti were stressing that their solution had "change management with union involvement, full support for European labour laws, different types of employment and annual hours of work". I'm not sure what Teleopti is like to use, but it does seem to be addressing a significant area for European contact centres.

It's also interesting to see who are the offshore providers at the show. This year Bangladesh had a big stand as did Egypt. I was interested to learn more about Bangladesh as I've not seen them before. Egypt had a very good stand and seemed an interesting option. For the French market there has always been North Africa as a relatively near pool of lower cost language skills (see the post: "Offshoring and mainland Europe "), so it will be interesting to see if Egypt could fulfill that role for the English speaking market.

Otherwise I was interested to see the Contact Babel stand. I'm going to be interested to see their research as it looked like it had a lot of good detail on the state of the UK contact centre market.

All in all, a profitable day.


Gareth said...

Hi Alex. Positive feedback on CC Expo? It's clear that you're not averse to taking a bold, provocative stand on the issues of the day!

i thought it was desperately it has been for some years. The same tired-looking IT vendors pushing their "me too" widgets with minimal real customer management inovation. The same "Offshore Consultants" trudging around in their polyester suits with bulging bags of free stress-balls. Maybe I just failed to understand how impactful those widgets might be to my customers' and prospects' experience?

Did you really think it was a good expo? Having canvassed (using no science whatsoever) the opinion of my associates and colleagues, I felt that the consensus was broadly negative about expo...again.

Alex said...

Hi Gareth,
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated. The blog is generally happy to say what it thinks even if it isn't necessarily in line with industry thinking. Outbound, for example, is one area where I think the contact centre industry either puts its own house in order or (as is happening now) it gets its image trashed and outside regulation.

As to CC Expo, I think it depends which bits of the Expo you saw. I agree to a point with what you say. I thought that the offshorers were particularly unimaginative this year. As someone who's been on the service buying side, I was impressed last year with South Africa's stand (see post: "Offshore - why I would go for South Africa over India") but you're right there was nothing comparable this year. On vendors I agree to a point, there quite a lot of messages very similar to last years, but I thought there were some good examples of innovation in places.

I think that some of the challenges are that a lot of vendors are still working through the legacy of TDM and CRM from the 1990s and these need to be overcome for things to get really interesting.

Best wishes,