WFM vs. WFO: What’s Under the Hood

Now that we are a part of NICE, the industry leader in Workforce Optimization (WFO), it is more important than ever to understand our entire portfolio of offerings. One area where there has been confusion is Workforce Management (WFM) versus Workforce Optimization (WFO). So what is WFO? Is it the same as WFM? Does it even matter? Oh, friends. It does matter. It can be confusing, but let me help explain WFM vs. WFO, in the best way possible—a personal analogy.

When I was in college, my parents surprised me with a new (to me) car. Having driven my dad’s already-totaled Pontiac Bonneville for five long, rusty years, I thought I had won the lottery-- if the lottery prize was a 1995 Oldsmobile Achieva, of course.

Here’s the thing—that Achieva did exactly what I needed it to do. It got me where I needed to go, and was so much better than what I was driving before.

Still with me?

When you think of Workforce Management (WFM), think of it in two ways: there are contact centers that are still driving their dad’s old Bonneville--using Excel spreadsheets for scheduling and forecasting their staffing needs. Not optimal, but... technically drivable.

Here’s where we come in. NICE CXone Workforce Management uses some cool, patented technology from a company we acquired called AC2 This technology is my shiny, red Oldsmobile Achieva compared to my wrecked Bonneville. It’s a more dependable, more sophisticated way to drive forecasting and scheduling, using algorithms and machine learning. Actually, with its Omnichannel forecasting abilities, NICE CXone Workforce Management is more like a Range Rover—so take that, Bonneville!

So then, what’s Workforce Optimization (WFO)?

A couple of years ago, I test-drove a Buick Enclave. Having erroneously considered Buicks to be the stodgy old men of cars for most of my life, I couldn’t have been more surprised. Not only did the Enclave get me where I needed to go, like the Achieva, but it also had air conditioned seats to keep me cool on the way. It had a DVD player, BOSE surround sound, two sunroofs… all the bells and whistles. I bought it, and it was worth every penny.

My Enclave is a lot like Workforce Optimization. It includes the same functionality as my Oldsmobile Achieva (or WFM, for our analogy), but with even more good stuff. WFO includes WFM capabilities, but it also includes performance management, quality management/recording, analytics, customer surveys, and agent coaching and learning tools. It’s a suite of solutions. Even better, our WFO suite integrates directly with our NICE CXone ACD. Think of it as OnStar—all of the systems and components of your vehicle communicating with each other and with you.

So, the next time you hear someone use WFO and WFM interchangeably, remember my good old Achieva and my deckedout Enclave and ever-so-gently correct them. Workforce Optimization takes the way you manage your workforce and optimizes it for peak contact center performance and a smoother ride.