Verint Acquires Contact Solutions

Verint Systems has acquired Contact Solutions, a provider of cloud-based voice and mobile customer self-service and business intelligence software, from North Bridge Growth Equity, a venture capital firm. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

North Bridge Growth Equity first invested in Contact Solutions, which is headquartered in Reston, Va., in August 2010. Since then, Contact Solutions has expanded its service offerings, including the launch of its patented digital customer engagement solution, My:Time, and Adaptive Personalization, a multilayered interactive voice response (IVR) solution driven by behavior-based business intelligence and predictive analytics. In September 2015, Contact Solutions acquired NexxPhase, a cloud-based provider of virtual customer engagement solutions that integrate communication channels, customer interactions, and back-office systems.

Contact Solutions services more than 1.5 billion minutes of annual call volume and employs 120 people in two U.S. offices. It has also grown to be one of the five largest hosted interactive voice response (IVR) providers in North America.

Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting, sees Contact Solutions as "a strong leader" in the IVR space. "They're very good at what they do, and they do it cost-effectively," she says.

The acquisition, Fluss adds, gives Verint a lot of new capabilities, but also enables Verint to enhance some of its existing offerings. "Verint is buying its way into some new channels, but also complementing its offerings. It can be a nice area of synergy for Verint if it's handled right," she says.

North Bridge Managing Director Doug Kingsley agrees. "We are thrilled to see the potential offered by combining Contact Solutions' strong self-service capabilities with Verint's advanced customer analytics, engagement management, and workforce optimization solutions," he said in a statement.

The addition of Contact Solutions advances the Verint Customer Engagement Optimization portfolio with cloud-based solutions that enhance voice and mobile self-service through automation and analytics-driven personalization. Backed by a robust set of analytics, Contact Solutions' personalization engine analyzes and adapts call flow and the pace of interactions based on caller behavior. For example, if a caller most frequently selects "account balance" from a set of menu options, the personalization engine can detect this behavior and dynamically rearrange the menu so "account balance" is always the first option presented to that caller.

The combination with Contact Solutions also will add functionality to Verint's Identity Authentication and Fraud Detection, which delivers passive voice biometrics to profile and recognize the voiceprints of fraudulent callers. Backed by advanced analytics, Contact Solutions brings advanced upstream fraud detection functionality that can identify suspicious caller behavior within voice self-service interactions. As potentially threatening interactions surface, red flag detection alerts users to problems and tailors appropriate responses.

"There are two major areas of access for fraudsters in the contact center—the agents and the IVR. Verint helps the agents, and Contact Solutions protects the IVR," Fluss says.

But there is a lot more that Contact Solutions brings to Verint's table, particularly as consumer and business use of social networks, mobile devices, and new digital technologies is driving the need for omnichannel customer engagement  and self-service applications. "We believe demand for these types of solutions is being driven in organizations by the need for intelligence that enables them to create more engaged workforces and more seamless, personalized customer experiences," said Elan Moriah, president of Verint Enterprise Intelligence Solutions and Verint Video and Situation Intelligence Solutions, in a statement.

This Contact Solutions announcement builds on Verint's August 2015 acquisition of Telligent, which provides community solutions in a self-service environment. Some of the company's other notable acquisitions have included Kana Software in January 2014,  voice biometrics provider Victrio in October 2013, and workforce optimization solutions provider Global Management Technologies (GMT) in September 2011.

By comparison, Fluss calls the Contact Solutions acquisition "a small deal that gives Verint a lot of capabilities in IVR, mobile, and cloud-based contact center infrastructure."

But while the acquisition might be relatively small, she adds, "it's significant because we're seeing a WFO vendor acquiring a transaction processing vendor. We'll need to see if Verint can truly leverage [Contact Solutions'] technology."

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Posted July 20, 2016