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'Customer--Engagement' software is a goldmine for CIOs: Stewart Bloom,Aspect

Yogesh Gupta | April 11, 2014
Workforce optimisation is a secret weapon that gives 25 percent of our revenues. There is a great need for today's organisations to invest in an effective and robust customer-engagement solution, said Stewart Bloom, CEO, Aspect.

You joined Aspect in August 2012 as CEO. What has gone well according to the initial plan and what are your priorities for 2014?
Many things have gone well for us since the launch of our transformation program. There has been the shift to build around customer needs whereas we might have been little more product centric. But to compete differently and become the best company in our industry, we listened to and understood their pain points. And focused on verticals like banking, BPOs and healthcare to adapt to the local markets. We increased R & D by 12 percent wherein many competitors were turning back their investments.

We also shifted our operating philosophy that not every product we bring to market has to trade internally. We could accelerate, gain market share and introduce better products quicker to market through partnerships and strategic acquisitions. In 2013, we had partnership for Aspect social with Lithium software. We acquired Voxeo for self-service mobile platform cloud. In 2014, we are lined up to expand our cloud offerings outside of US and Western Europe into Asia pacific.

Your competitors Cisco, Avaya, Polycom have downsized their workforce globally and in India in past couple of quarters. Is it really a good time to Aspect?
One of big drivers for our business is emerging from the global economic downturn which has seen minor to moderate recovery across the globe. It is very easy for CEO or CFO to look at technology investment and say can we go one more year or more years.

They stopped to rationalise all the things they have today before investing more in technology. Eighty percent of all IT budgets is spent to run what you have. It is a complex problem as the customers want more value for less price and the cost of operating business shoots up. Our clients can infact afford to pull back by competing strategically in a differentiated manner on their engagement with consumers. And that's the area they are spending their investments. Thus it is great time to run a customer engagement software company.

Our competition like Avaya had tough time to digest Nortel and Genesis is struggling to digest many disparate architectures. Aspect has not only the real advantage of cost of management of R & D platforms but all the different combinations to serve the verticals across the globe.

Are solutions around workforce optimisation and back office optimisation on the check list of CIOs?
It is significant as many CIOs have either written home-grown back office optimisation systems to deal with process flow that become very complex ,very brittle and hard to maintain (people who architected may have left the company). Or they bought into a BPM modelling platform and the adoption rate becomes complex. Customers prefer the elegance and simplicity of our back office optimisation platform and within 10 weeks we can start producing business value.


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