After a strong 2015, industry veteran NICE showed no signs of slowing down in 2016, staying a potent enough force to warrant its third consecutive Rising Star award.
Perhaps its biggest move came in May when it acquired inContact for $940 million, uniting the vendor’s cloud contact center software with its own workforce optimization and analytics offerings, giving it the cloud-based capabilities it had been missing.
When the deal broke, Barak Eilam, NICE’s CEO, said it was “the most transformative move” in the industry in decades. “Together, inContact and NICE are making history by re-inventing customer service as we know it…. 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.”
Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG consulting, agreed, calling the move a “market changer for the entire contact center space.”
That blockbuster deal followed NICE’s January 2016 acquisition of Nexidia for $135 million. A year later, NICE launched Nexidia Analytics. The solution uses deep learning to identify what customers are saying during omnichannel interactions and then analyze those conversations so that experiences can be tailored to their stated needs. It also aids cross-channel workflow via a single administration tool for phone calls, chats, email, surveys, and other interactions.
The inContact acquisition also brought to NICE a number of elements from Uptivity, which inContact acquired in 2014. NICE took some of those elements to create its new Uptivity WFO for SMBs, providing an integrated suite of next-generation WFO solutions with critical contact center functions created just for small and midsize firms.
But that’s not all NICE was up to. In February 2016 it partnered with the Boston Consulting Group to provide companies with better insights into client behavior as they hop across channels during service interactions. Miki Migdal, president of the NICE Enterprise Product Group, said in a statement that the alliance would “help leading organizations across different verticals and geographies extract and apply business insights from their customer data to drive measurable results.”
A year ago, NICE updated its Real-Time Solutions suite, geared toward boosting productivity and operational efficiencies within enterprises at a time when their needs are continually evolving. The system includes features that keep system administrators updated regarding potential breaches or issues with website connectivity.
In May, NICE improved its workforce management tool set, releasing a new version with tighter integrations and usability. In September, the company launched Evolve WFM, a continuous-delivery workforce management solution with analytics-based forecasting and user-defined scheduling in an elastic cloud-based deployment model.
On top of all that, NICE, through partnerships with companies like Speakerbus and on its own through organic product developments, improved its call recording technologies.
Other product releases included Scenario Analyzer, which helps companies enhance customer journey analytics with business intelligence; Authentication-IQ, which uses analytics to make dynamic, customer-centric authentication decisions; NICE Performance Management (NPM) Essentials, an off-the-shelf solution for managing front- and back-office personnel; and CX Intensive, a tool kit to help organizations strategize, implement, and manage customer experience programs.
“NICE has reinvented itself over the past 10 years and is now firmly focused on analytics as its path to continued growth in [the workforce optimization] market,” where it is already one of the coleaders along with Verint Systems, says Dick Bucci, principal and chief analyst at Pelorus Associates. “The company’s acquisition of Nexidia solidifies its position as a technology leader in speech analytics and brings a bevy of new brand-name customers. The company has traditionally concentrated on the high end of the contact center market, but with the acquisition of inContact and the launch of EVOLVE WFM the company is signaling a desire to aggressively pursue all opportunities within the contact center space.”
CEO: Barak Eilam
Headquarters: Ra’anana, Israel
Revenue: $1 billion
Customer Count: N/A