August 2, 2011
The past three weeks have been quite busy within the enterprise feedback management (EFM) vendor landscape, with two major acquisitions. The first occurred on July 19th between Verint and Vovici; the second was announced today between QuestBack and Globalpark. These mergers make sense and are in line with how I see the EFM vendor landscape evolving over the next five years.
One part of the EFM vendor evolution will be the creation of what my colleague Andrew McInnes calls “comprehensive customer experience solution sets.” The Verint and Vovici merger demonstrates this. Here you have two distinct vendors, each with their own sweet spot within the EFM world. Verint is primarily known as an actionable intelligence solutions vendor that focuses on creating enterprise workforce optimization software and services to evaluate customer communications, especially in the contact center. Vovici is primarily known as an online survey management and enterprise feedback solutions vendor that focuses on helping companies obtain customer feedback from different channels and bring it all together to create a more holistic view of the customer. Essentially, Vovici had what Verint lacked — and Verint had what Vovici lacked. The result is now a more well-rounded and robust EFM offering.
Another part of the EFM vendor evolution involves EFM vendors with similar skill sets joining forces to become a larger presence in the market and present a stronger EFM offering. This is inevitable given that a majority of EFM vendors are relatively small companies or only have a presence in one region. The QuestBack and Globalpark merger is a good example. QuestBack has a large presence within the Nordic region in Europe, while Globalpark has a large presence in other European countries, especially in Germany. While each vendor brings unique EFM pieces to the table, thereby enhancing the overall EFM platform that they will develop, their merger will position them quite nicely against the other major European EFM vendor Confirmit. In addition, their combined company resources will allow them to be successful and grow very quickly in other markets like the US.
What does this mean for market insights professionals? It means that we are beginning to see the realization of a world where we can collect, analyze, and develop insights from customers with just one technology tool. For years, we have had to open a survey programming tool to create our surveys, export the data into SPSS to analyze the data, and then take the output and use PowerPoint to graphically display the insights we pulled. This time-consuming process is now further enhanced with the need to incorporate other new data tools like social listening platforms. While the treasure trove of data is a blessing, we spend a good deal of time navigating through different tools — only getting pieces of the consumer puzzle right but never the entire picture. EFM vendors merging to bring together disparate capabilities and/or having the resources to build robust platforms is where the industry needs to head if we are to take control of all the research data streams. The ability to create 360-degree views of the customer through various data channels within a single technology tool will happen. It is only a matter of time, and these mergers indicate that this new world will soon be upon us.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you think of these recent mergers? When do you think the next merger/acquisition will occur? Which vendors do you think will combine forces?