NICE Acquires inContact

NICE Systems yesterday entered a definitive agreement to acquire inContact, a provider of cloud contact center technology, for $940 million. The deal brings together NICE's workforce optimization and analytics solutions with inContact's advanced contact center cloud offerings, which Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting, calls "a market changer for the entire contact center space."

"This is a very big deal," Fluss says, not just because of its dollar value but also because of its impact on the market. Through the acquisition, one vendor 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.

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 re-inventing 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. I am excited about this landmark acquisition and about NICE's unique leadership position in writing the next chapter in customer service."

Paul Jarman, CEO of inContact, who will continue to lead inContact as it becomes part of NICE, said in a statement that the move will lead to a service "re-invention":

"We are looking forward to the unique opportunities that our two companies can bring to the market. Together with NICE, we will accelerate the move to contact centers in the cloud for organizations of any size. Our current customers will be able to enjoy the benefits of the most complete suite of contact center applications, and we will continue to work closely with our large partner network and outstanding dedicated employees to enable this re-invention of customer service."

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."

NICE in January acquired Nexidia for $135 million.