Nuance Scoops Up Varolii

Nuance Communications has acquired Varolii, a cloud-based outbound customer engagement solutions provider.

The companies already share roughly 45 percent of their customers. With the acquisition, Varolii brings a full outbound communication portfolio to the Nuance OnDemand Customer Service Cloud, which provides inbound hosted IVR and Nina virtual assistant solutions for mobile and Web applications.

“Our customers wanted integrated inbound and outbound. We didn’t have some of the unique technology that Varolii has, such as personalization and analytics, which is a value add to what we’re doing,” says Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance's Enterprise Division.

Weideman says while Nuance has a large presence in the inbound and hosted IVR cloud systems markets, over the past few years its customers wanted more support for inbound channels.

“That’s when a year ago we introduced Nina Mobile, and six months ago we released Nina Web,” Weideman says. “As we’ve been doing this, what we’ve also been hearing from our customers is that they could do a lot more with outbound if Nuance had more capabilities.”

Weideman says companies were asking Nuance for the capability to have more proactive customer engagements that could lead to inbound activities that could then also be automated.

“More and more we’ve been seeing the convergence of inbound and outbound,” Weideman says.
“Over the course of the last five years we’ve looked at a lot of different players, like SoundBite before they were acquired [by Genesys in May], and we even looked at Varolli four years ago."

Weideman says Nuance was impressed by Varolii’s modernization of its platform for contact centers. “They’ve developed a unique capability, Varolii ID, that keeps track of the way people respond to outbound communications by tracking what channels they use. With this they can personalize messages and the channel they’re delivered to.”

In addition, Nuance was interested in Varolii’s Incident Communications (IC) business that is aimed at first responders. Weideman said that with Nuance’s $1 billion healthcare business and its automated solutions for hospitals and clinics, the first responder capability is a new opportunity.

“We liked the contact center solution that they have," he adds. “They have this really nice personalization analytics capability and the Incident Communication side is a new thing that we don’t do. This is going to give us more of a market opportunity and a stronger competitive position.”