Contact Centers

Aspect Analyst Summit 2015 – Phoenix Rising out of the Ashes – Part 2

by Nancy Jamison 03 Feb 2015
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Aspect held its annual Industry Analyst Summit in Cancun, Mexico the week of January 21st; a sharp change in scenery from 2014’s event in Phoenix, Arizona. I couldn’t resist entitling this blog Phoenix Rising out of the Ashes- Part 2, as the content delivered in the summit only confirmed that Aspect is on the approach to landing with the turnaround the company embarked on a little over two years ago. Phoenix a bird from Greek mythology, rose from the ashes of its predecessor, and is regenerated or reborn. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Aspect is headquartered in Phoenix as well.

What stood out for me the most was the fearlessness the company has had in creating company-wide change. This change started and has been continual since Chairman and CEO, Steward Bloom, came on board in 2012. Lest anyone thinks I’m writing this after too many Mai Tais on a sunny beach (although if you read Tim Dreyer’s very funny blog on How to Put on an Analyst Summit you might think otherwise) or drank the corporate Kool-Aid, my judgment of what I heard at the event is based solely on some key factors:

  • Prior to this turnaround the company had falling market share, with employees fleeing a sinking ship
  • The company delivered as promised on the details shared at the 2013 Analyst Summit where new executive management outlined the company roadmap and plan for change
  • The company delivered as promised on the plans detailed at its 2014 Analyst Summit

Last, but not least, was the progress Aspect has made over the course of the past year, from making new management hires to introducing product releases, as follows.

Stew Bloom started off the conference by continuing the theme from the 2013 Summit of ‘everything is changing’ at a high rate of speed in business and understanding those shifts is the way to corporate survival. As he vividly put it, when the company embarked on this change, it was heavily in debt and was the “organ donor of the industry”, but two years later they have built a team, built out products and the cloud, navigating the waters of these changes. He then went on to detail how business models have shifted to being disruptive, noting the success of several companies including Uber, AirBNB and LendingClub, and how companies such as Aspect need to change to thrive in this disruptive market.

In 2012 Aspect started down the path of remaking the company, bringing on seven new executives in six months, including President, Stewart Bloom, as well as new CFO, head of sales, CMO, and CIO, to name a few. In 2013 this continued with the introduction of “Tiger Shark” UIP 7.1, (ten products in total), the hiring of hundreds of new people, and some key acquisitions; most notably Voxeo. 2013 was also the year the cloud really took off for Aspect, along with uptake of the company’s WFO solutions.

Fast forward to 2014 and even more new talent has been hired. Stew noted that Aspect is now recruiting talent that they couldn’t get two years ago, such as Laurent Delache – Regional VP of Brazil from Genesys, and Mike Bourke from Verint.

But it’s more than just hiring key personnel that is revitalizing Aspect. New products, changing sales models and an invigorated professional services team are also keys to its turnaround. With the introduction of new management in 2012, the company doubled down on R&D, drawing up plans to eliminate old products, consolidate into a new platform and streamlining from the hodge podge of products that was the result of a decade of acquisitions. In 2013-2014 the company focused on building out the Aspect Cloud, acquiring and developing broad cloud capabilities. Jut in the last quarter of 2014 the company introduced:

  • Zipwire in Europe
  • Cloud WFM
  • Aspect Mobility Suite
  • WebRTC platform
  • Aspect Back Office Optimizer

One success driver is that the company transformed its already strong WFO offering, completely revamping the user interface, and strengthening other capabilities, particularly analytics. In the past two years Aspect has moved the dial from providing workforce management to full-feature WFO, and as a result WFO 8.0 adoption is surging. In addition, Aspect also added global data centers, telecommunications and managed services capabilities. As of Today the company has six global data centers and expects to deliver 1.5 billion minutes of voice calls in 2015. This along with continued fine-tuning of its professional services practice is really paying off for Aspect. I look forward to hearing the results of 2015 at next year’s summit.

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