NICE Systems will acquire IEX and Performix; is it the start of a major trend in the contact center solutions industry?
Posted Apr 28, 2006
NICE Systems today announced its acquisition of workforce management vendor IEX and Performix Technologies, a pioneer in the field of performance management. These acquisitions mark a movement by NICE into the field of workforce optimization, the crossroads of workforce management, quality monitoring, performance management, and e-learning. Some analysts posit this initial step will turn into a major trend in the contact center solutions industry. Both the IEX and Performix transactions are subject to customary approvals and closing conditions and are slated to close as early as Q2 2006.
"This couldn't be more exciting in terms of bringing another new player with a major recognized name into the workforce optimization competitive arena," says Paul Stockford, chief analyst at Saddletree Research. "The price they paid for IEX shows that there is recognition on the part of the market in the value of workforce optimization strategy and product offerings."
NICE purchased IEX from Tekelec, a high-performance network applications company and the previous owner of the workforce management vendor. Per terms of the definitive agreement, NICE will acquire all shares of IEX's stock for about $200 million in cash. The deal on the table for Performix is $13.2 million in cash, however, the price could go as high as $19.35 million, due to certain performance criteria.
Tekelec expressed satisfaction with the sale. "We are very pleased with this transaction," wrote Frank Plastina, president and CEO of Tekelec, in a statement. "The price and terms of this transaction confirm IEX's position as a leading solution provider in a rapidly consolidating industry. We believe that NICE Systems is best suited for the IEX acquisition due to the clear synergies in market leadership, technology innovation, engineering enterprise, and management experience."
This consolidation will significantly expand NICE. The adoption of IEX and Performix will not only increase its contact center business by over 30 percent, but also expand its offerings to create a more fully integrated, holistic approach to contact center offerings. The development will allow NICE to go beyond its current position as a leader in quality monitoring to providing workforce management and performance management as well, thereby enabling it to create a comprehensive workforce optimization suite.
The acquisition is markedly similar to Witness Systems' acquisition of workforce management vendor Blue Pumpkin in 2005, a parallel that has one analyst characterizing the moves as an industry trend. Joe Outlaw, principal analyst for contact center solutions at Current Analysis, says, "The broader market perspective is that what NICE has done today is following the lead that Witness took in the end of 2004. I certainly think this is an event that should cause some additional concern among standalone workforce companies and perhaps trigger another round of consolidations."
Analysts agree that more acquisitions are in the future. The reason, Stockford explains, is the high value of integrated systems. "How quickly a return on investment is realized is almost unmatched in the industry. You can measure the results of an e-learning session, take action on the results of a quality monitoring session and track it through performance management and schedule it through workforce management," Stockford says. He adds, regarding company consolidations, "I don't think this is over yet."
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