How to Select the Best AI-Powered WFM Platform: 6 Critical Questions
May 20, 2022
by Michael Spataro
In my previous posts about how to start your journey on the Path to the Possible (see parts one, two, and three), I focused on the opportunities AI-powered workforce management (WFM) can open. Now let’s take on the big question: what is the right WFM platform to ensure your success? Many vendors claim to have solutions, expertise, and impeccable references – how do you sort through the noise? Here are six key questions that will help you evaluate.
#1: Does the Solution Fully Address Your Immediate Problem?
Workforce management solutions are evolving quickly, thanks to innovations in AI, machine learning, automation, and more. As you examine WFM vendors’ offerings, look for solutions that have advanced technologies built into the product, full functionality available today, and a vendor with a strong vision of how it will evolve in the future.
Whatever your top priorities are, begin by clearly defining the immediate pain point you want your WFM solution to solve.
- Have your forecasts about staffing requirements been off the mark?
- Do you need smarter labor scheduling tool software that gives workers more control?
- Are you looking for smarter solutions that ensure the right decisions are being made and implemented?
- Are you looking for sharper insights into what’s causing glitches in operational efficiency?
#2: Is the Solution Cost-Effective?
The term “cost-effective” has multiple dimensions. Be sure to consider both the initial subscription price and the total expenditure.
- Consulting fees and training costs
- Timing of cash outlays
- Additional retraining costs for each upgrade
- Timeframe to recoup your investment
- Long-term net present value (NPV) of the investment.
It’s important to consider the non-cash costs, including the opportunity cost of a long and disruptive implementation process as well as the impact on your store managers and staff. Ensure you clearly understand the expected time-to-value, the total elapsed time from project kick-off to User Acceptance Training (UAT), and the full-scale deployment.
#3: Will The Solution Scale, Expand, And Evolve?
Once you know the WFM solution can solve your immediate business challenge, look carefully at how well that functionality will scale as you roll it out.
Some innovative solutions have limited scalability for multiple locations and high volumes of users. Other solutions are difficult to upgrade once you complete your enterprise-wide rollout. So before you make your selection, ask this critical question: will it scale without excessive disruptions, added expense, or limited functionality?
#4: Is the Vendor Innovative?
It’s important to examine the vendor’s foundational approach to providing a WFM solution that is proven to meet your needs today and has an innovative vision of where it should be tomorrow. For example, some large vendors have been in the market for many years and continue to make incremental product changes. But they’re not built on a foundation of innovative technology. Others claim to use innovative technologies but are actually just using terms, such as AI and machine learning, as selling features.
Ask questions about the vendor’s leadership and technical vision.
- Is the leadership team made up of seasoned executives who have a successful history in this market?
- Is their technical vision filled with small incremental changes that won’t transform your business?
- Get a full understanding of how they leverage advanced technologies (Machine Learning and AI). Are these technologies built into all modules?
- Can they describe in detail how they will partner with your team to make innovative changes in your workforce management that you can manage easily and avoid massive disruption?
#5: Do Independent Analysts Validate the Vendor’s Claims and Long-Term Viability?
You can use analyst reports to get objective, credible assessments of a solution provider’s reliability. In-depth reports by Forrester Research, Gartner, IDC, and other leading firms provide granular, quantified information, including validated customer experiences.
For example, a Forrester TEI study quantified the total economic impact of the Legion WFM platform for a composite company with 10,000 employees over a three-year period, with specific findings for metrics such as ROI, NPV, forecasting accuracy, cost savings through schedule optimization, a net reduction in overtime pay, reduction in employee turnover rates, labor cost savings, and more.
#6: Is the Vendor Committed to Your Success?
One important way to validate a vendor will work with you to achieve your goals is the real-world results achieved by its customers. Ask every prospective vendor for a list of customer references tailored to your specific situation, including business needs, company size, industry, location, etc. Then contact them and ask detailed questions.
- Did the vendor work with you to deliver the WFM platform you expected?
- Did they outline the implementation milestones and work with your team through full deployment?
- What went well and what didn’t. How did the vendor resolve issues?
- Did the customer achieve their goals?
In the next article of this series, we’ll discuss what’s ahead on the Path to the Possible, and you’ll learn how AI-powered WFM is evolving at Legion.
In the meantime, book a meeting and share your WFM vision. We’ll tell you how we’ll help you meet your goals and show you our vision of your Path to the Possible journey.