Kana needs Ciboodle's assets to strengthen its own customer service application capabilities and to extend its reach in social CRM. In two related but confusing and crowded markets, success will demand near-perfect execution.
On 10 July 2012, Kana Software announced its acquisition of Ciboodle, a customer service software application provider, from the Sword Group for an as-yet undisclosed sum.
Kana released a rearchitected product for the CRM contact center desktop market in 2010, but has seen only moderate uptake. Ciboodle's products share Kana’s Java orientation, while adding Ciboodle’s proven application aggregation capabilities and business process principles to Kana’s stronger screen workflow and modern graphical user interface. Kana must convince the market that it has the expertise and commitment to develop deeper functionality in the core Kana customer service desktop application, despite a shortage of industry-specific templates or ownership of the underlying informational databases. The work of bringing Ciboodle and Kana together for customer service should yield benefits to prospects and customers of Kana by 2Q13.
The combined products will leave gaps in proven competency in the mobile customer experience and in a proven, scalable cloud-based application set in a multitenanted software as a service (SaaS) delivery model. In the area of social media, the combination should produce synergies. In 2Q11, Kana acquired Overtone, a provider of social media and customer listening platforms. This is now marketed as Kana Experience Analytics. Together with Ciboodle Crowd and external community management products, this moves Kana closer to a social CRM solution as a part of a customer service suite, with applicability for marketing.
Kana will be challenged to excel at either the CRM customer service or the social CRM market while selling and marketing multiple product lines: Kana Express (Trinicom), Lagan Local Government, Kana Enterprise (core Kana with Ciboodle technology and the Kana Web Customer Service line), and Kana Experience Analytics (Overtone).
Sword Ciboodle customers: Expect the Kana acquisition to bring a potential infusion of funding for software development, especially for a SaaS version of the product, but not to impact ongoing operations or deployments.
Ciboodle prospects: By 2Q13, Kana will be the lead brand, with Ciboodle technologies built in. Monitor Kana’s three-year plans for Ciboodle and its integration of customer service desktop products from each company.
Kana customers and prospects: Do not expect setbacks to any ongoing implementations. The acquisition of Ciboodle could have benefits to customer service contact centers that need greater desktop integration and workflow. Expect social CRM capabilities to improve in 2013, and mobile capabilities and SaaS availability to continue to lag industry leaders.
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"Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Service Contact Centers" — The market for customer service and support applications for the contact center is fragmented, based on the complexity of the information required to support the customer and of the business rules or processes that form the steps in a customer interaction. By Michael Maoz
"Magic Quadrant for CRM Web Customer Service" — Buying behavior now favors the goal of deploying new channels to reach new customers rather than saving costs, which was the primary decision driver in 2010. By Johan Jacobs