The acquisition of Kana Software by Verint Systems is a bold move with potentially significant outcomes. However, work needs to be done to market and support the aligned offering without stalling market momentum.
On 6 January 2014, Verint Systems announced an agreement to acquire Kana Software for $514 million in cash. Verint expects to complete the acquisition by 30 April 2014.
The acquisition will have a significant positive impact on the market and both vendors due to the broader value proposition and increased financial position, provided they can execute. Stand-alone competitors on both sides, like Nice, Aspect, eGain and Moxie, may benefit if execution falters.
Kana will be run as a stand-alone business division with leadership and operational functions unchanged and R&D plans intact. However, Verint’s strategy is one of unification, and ultimately Gartner forecasts that Kana’s solutions will be merged. A sales overlay team will likely be set up for joint customers and customers wishing to explore the benefits of both vendors.
Verint, an established provider of workforce optimization (WFO) software, has recently expanded into interaction analytics through the analysis of voice- and text-based communications. When combined with other information linked to the agent and associated desktop activity, these analytics can assist the agent handling the interaction. However, Verint does not own the interaction routing, service process or the agent desktop. Instead, it provides complementary assistance, typically via screen pops.
Kana, on the other hand, was evolving to become a multichannel customer engagement center (CEC) solution provider but was still working through the unification of product lines from its recent acquisitions.
A combined offering will allow organizations to align and optimize what happens in the service process with those that perform the work. This powerful combination makes a lot of sense, and Gartner expects similar moves in the market.
At the same time, both vendors had challenges prior to the acquisition, as outlined in the CEC and WFO Magic Quadrants. Both vendors’ support and professional services organizations were undergoing expansion and improvement, and their alignment (such as cross-training) will further complicate this task. Also, Verint does not have experience running a CEC business, and Kana was a niche vendor in the CEC Magic Quadrant. Kana’s core expertise, if lost via employee attrition, would cause a dramatic loss of momentum.
Initial integration between the two portfolios will facilitate capabilities such as intelligent routing, linking the interaction to the best available agent based on their skills and same-day performance, and real-time assistance, providing the agent with key knowledge from Kana based on past performance and the real-time situation.
While Verint and Kana both have extensive experience with acquisitions, neither vendor has finished unifying what they already have. A truly aligned offering will take shape in 1H15.
Reconsider investment if there is a loss of momentum due to employee attrition. Monitor Verint’s ability to capitalize on Kana’s expertise by retaining key Kana employees.
If you require text-mining capabilities, consider delaying your investment until Verint indicates whether it will extend its current original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement for text-mining or terminate it in favor of the Kana text-mining product.