On July 20, 2016, Verint® Systems of Melville, NY, announced Verint Robotic Process Automation™, the company’s entrée into the use of software robots to automate, manage and execute high volumes of routine tasks in the contact center and back office, which shape the customer experience. Organizations deploying Verint Robotic Process Automation can significantly reduce manual processing of repetitive and routine tasks, improving the quality and consistency of transactions while freeing employees to address higher-value customer-facing activities.

Published in Research Briefs
Thursday, 24 September 2015 12:41

Roy, Gene, Dan, and Me

The B-Western movie heroes' cowboy code emphasized principles that still have value today.

So I wasn’t going to write about Avaya for fear of sounding unnecessarily negative, but the glaring differences between the Avaya of old the Avaya of today are crying out for commentary and I just can’t resist.  Avaya is the epitome of the old school contact center vendor.

Yesterday we saw record revenues and profits announced by ShoreTel, within hours of Avaya’s announcement of revenues that went up less than three percent over the prior quarter and were down eight percent year over year.  Avaya’s announcement credited revenues to increased demand in the U.S. and the U.S. federal government.  If anyone’s spending freely anymore, it’s the U.S. government.  These are good days to be GSA approved.

The failure of Nortel marked the beginning of what I believe is a period of major upheaval in the U.S. and, for that matter, global contact center industry.  Where Avaya was once the absolute industry leader, seemingly unbeatable with their massive market muscle and product innovation, it is now more like the fading industry star.  Rather than leading the market with product ideas it is chasing the market and the innovations of smaller, more nimble specialty companies like VPI, Nexidia, Calabrio, OpenSpan and many others.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011 12:13

Not Your Average Acquisition

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.

Last week I wrote a research note for Saddletree clients covering contact center industry employment numbers for the second half of 2010.  In the first half of 2010 there was a net gain of 2,292 jobs in the U.S. contact center industry.  That news in itself was pretty exciting, but it was blown away by second half employment figures.

The third quarter of 2010 saw a net gain of 3,929 jobs – more than the net gain of jobs in the first two quarters of 2010 combined.  It was the fourth quarter numbers, however, that blew expectations out of the water.  During the fourth quarter the industry realized a net gain of 9,695 jobs for a grand total of 15,916 contact center jobs gained during 2010.  Growth in the fourth quarter also mirrored normal pre-recession industry growth patterns, so it appears that the industry is on the right track.  Incidentally, all these employment numbers are gathered by the Call Center Lab at The University of Southern Mississippi.

 And speaking of blowing away expectations, Verint Systems released their fourth quarter numbers this week.  Earnings per share (EPS) were sharply ahead of consensus forecasts with workforce optimization playing a major part in these earnings.  As a category, Verint’s workforce optimization sales performance was up nearly 20 percent over last year.  Financial analysts expect to see a continuation of this strong performance into FY 2011 and have increased revenue expectations accordingly.

 All of this is good news for an industry that not only proved its value during the toughest of economic times, but is clearly demonstrating leadership in shepherding the U.S. economy out of its doldrums.  It is apparent that confidence has returned to much of the U.S. contact center industry, led by companies like Verint that have figured out the magic formula of delivering value for the money in order to increase revenues.