KANA swoops for contact centre provider Sword Ciboodle

10th Jul 2012

KANA has acquired contact centre customer service company Sword Ciboodle in a move to solidify customer engagement through merging web and contact centre customer service. 

Continuing to operate under the KANA name, the firm intends the acquisition to enhance KANA’s value proposition particularly around agent desktop, business process and case management in the contact centre, and social CRM communities on the web.

KANA and Ciboodle both focus on customer experience but with different approaches. KANA offers web customer service through email response management, knowledge management, web self-service, and live chat, whilst Ciboodle brings business process management, dynamic case management and agent desktop solutions, sometimes referred to as contact center customer service. 

The end result of the merger is to provide comprehensive customer engagement, said KANA. 

No financial details of the deal were disclosed. 

KANA president and CEO Mark Duffell said: “KANA is creating a new global customer service leader that is increasingly the choice for mid-sized and large enterprises alike, serving both the public and private sectors, with solutions available on-premise or in the cloud.

“With the acquisition of Ciboodle, we are bringing together two significant enterprise players in the customer experience management arena with strengths in depth for both the contact center and for web customer service."

Duffell added that the partnership will accelerate each company’s product roadmap by an estimated 12-18 months.

Sword Ciboodle CEO Mike Hughes said: “Going forward, the combination of these two companies who share a very similar culture, will fuel increased dominance in a wide array of markets including retail, communications, financial services, utilities and government, with the ability to grow in emerging and adjunct markets as well.”

Paul Greenberg, author of the seminal CRM at the Speed of Light, said of the acquisition: “While it’s probably too new to really judge, this is one acquisition that has a lot potentially going for it IF the two companies can make it work the right way. And that IF is a big one.

“Linearly, they can be seen as complementary - the strengths of one support the strengths of the other. I've worked closely with Ciboodle and I know the quality of their product - and its strong - and they have marquee customers who show how well that strength works. KANA has some progressive products that are quite advanced - even by contemporary social customer service standards.”

He added: “Where my concern comes in is the meshing of cultures. That is never easy and in this case the cultures are not particularly similar. However, that said, if they deal with that well, and they spend a good deal of time recognizing where the non-linear strengths are going to be, rather than just recognizing where their products are complementary to each other, this could be powerful.”

Constellation analyst and founder Ray Wang believes the acquisition will result ina stronger BPM tool for KANA and a new future in a much larger organisation for Ciboodle.

“But the larger point is that KANA's willing to invest in customer engagement whether through acquisitions or organically. While engagement is one aspect of delivering customer experience, it's an important pillar,” he said. 

Ovum analyst Aphrodite Brinsmead believes the acquisition highlights a key trend in customer service: the integration of web services with the voice driven contact center.

She said: “Enterprises need to connect customer touchpoints and channels in order to improve the customer experience and ultimately increase customer loyalty. But in order to do this they need better tools to manage and match interactions across web chat, social media and communities with those through email and voice.

“KANA gains a strong position in this space if it can successfully integrate Ciboodle’s customer service focused case management and business process tools with its knowledge management and web services solutions. It has an opportunity to provide a more complete customer experience management solution and compete against Oracle, who acquired RightNow and InQuira.” 

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