Wednesday, 20 July 2011 12:13

Not Your Average Acquisition

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I got word yesterday afternoon that Verint had acquired Vovici Corporation, the company that pioneered the concept of enterprise feedback management (EFM).  EFM essentially gathers customer insights through the use of various survey and feedback mechanisms on the web, in chat sessions and via social media applications.  Perfect complement, I thought, to Verint’s IVR-based telephone survey tool on its Impact 360 workforce optimization (WFO) suite.


At first glance, the acquisition of Vovici’s EFM solution seems to round out the capabilities of Verint’s Voice of the Customer (VoC) Analytics Platform that was announced this past May.  Adding EFM to Verint’s industry-leading text analytics solution creates a dynamic duo of VoC tools for contact centers with an eye toward understanding social media, and this is not an insignificant market segment.


According to the survey Saddletree Research undertook with the National Association of Call Centers (NACC) last summer, 36 percent of respondents are currently monitoring social media or plan to monitor social media in their contact center before the end of this year.  If we apply that to our estimate of approximately 68,000 contact centers in the U.S., that’s a prospect base of around 24,500 contact centers in this year alone.


An additional 27 percent of survey respondents reported that they will be monitoring social media applications in their contact center over the next two-to-four years.  We are talking big numbers, and these numbers are coming from the users and buyers, not from the over-active imagination of a flash-in-the-pan industry analyst who may or may not still be in the industry when it comes time to be called on the carpet over their forecast.  In other words, these are real numbers.


Obviously Verint did its homework before it set out on the path to achieve domination in the contact center social media market segment.  As I thought about this further, the strategic significance of this acquisition dawned on me.  This acquisition is about more than feedback management.  This acquisition puts Verint in a very strong position when it comes to moving from the front office and back office and into the rest of the enterprise.


This acquisition has the potential to open doors for Verint that simply may not have been open before.  The thought struck me that even if Verint can’t get into a prospect’s contact center due to competitive placement or whatever other reason, they now have the opportunity to get into that same company through the front door via the EFM offering.  If the back door to the contact center is closed, go through the front door to the rest of the enterprise.  If the front door is closed, go through the back door to the contact center.  In either case, Verint gets in.


This acquisition is a brilliant move on Verint’s part.  I think the competition will have a tough time matching this strategy, or coming up with something better.  In the meantime, Verint stands alone in a very strong position relative to enterprise VoC initiatives regardless of where in the enterprise those initiatives originate.

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