A few months after its acquisition of Nexidia, NICE in late May announced plans to acquire inContact, a provider of cloud contact center technology, for $940 million.
This latest deal brings together NICE’s workforce optimization (WFO) and analytics solutions with inContact’s advanced contact center cloud offerings, which include interactive voice response (IVR) systems, voice recording, speech analytics, call routing, and dialer technologies, among others.
Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting, calls the deal “a market changer for the entire contact center space.”
“This is a very big deal,” she says, not just because of its dollar value but also because of its impact on the market. Through the acquisition, NICE will, for the first time ever, be able to offer both contact center cloud infrastructure and a full range of WFO and analytics applications, she says.
Included in inContact’s Cloud Contact Center platform is an IVR with full speech recognition and text-to-speech capabilities in multiple languages; skills-based routing; an IVR configuration tool; and the My Agent eXperience (MAX) interface for handling inbound and outbound calls, voicemail, unified communications, performance monitoring, call queuing, and many other features.
InContact also offers a full WFO suite, with call recording and speech analytics, among other capabilities; the Voice as a Service voice quality monitoring and measurement tool; and an open API platform that lets other developers plug into its technology.
NICE and inContact will jointly offer a full range of solutions for the fast-growing contact center as a service (CCaaS) industry that is substantially larger than NICE’s current addressable market.
That has traditionally been an area where NICE has come up short in the past, according to Fluss. “NICE now has a cloud infrastructure. That was always one of NICE’s weaknesses. It was lagging behind other vendors in the cloud,” she says.
For that reason alone, she calls this acquisition a good move for NICE, and one that “makes a lot of sense.”
Barak Eilam, CEO of NICE, in a statement looked ahead to the “transformation” of the contact center: “Today, we are embarking on the most transformative move within our industry in decades, for both NICE and the customer service market. Together, inContact and NICE are making history by reinventing customer service as we know it, combining our best-in-class contact center applications and analytics with a cloud contact center. This unprecedented integration is at the core of our vision for the transformation of the legacy contact center into the new era of the experience center.”
Fluss expects other companies to follow suit. “This sets the future of the contact center infrastructure market,” she says. “I expect similar things to happen from other vendors now that NICE has done this.”
But despite the acquisition, it seems to be business-as-usual at inContact, which just last month released version 16.2 of its Customer Interaction Cloud.
As part of the system upgrades, inContact added a Regional Latency Reduction solution to its voice-as-a-service platform. The solution can evaluate each call to ensure that high-quality voice service is delivered to every customer. InContact’s agent interface, My Agent eXperience (MAX), was also enhanced to enable agents to handle routed voice calls through integrated WebRTC-enabled smartphones.
“It’s all about helping agents be more productive without sacrificing the customer experience,” says Chris Bauserman, vice president of product and segment marketing at inContact. “Agents can now handle more channels more efficiently.”
The release also offers new and improved integrations to leading CRM systems and automatic call distribution systems.