Alcatel Acquires Brazil's GMK
Alcatel, which owns Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, has acquired Brazil's GMK, a provider of contact center voice self-service solutions. GMK will be merged into Alcatel Telecommunicacoes S.A., Alcatel's subsidiary in Brazil, and GMK employees will become part of the Genesys center of excellence for the local contact center market. The acquisition is intended to enhance both Genesys and Alcatel's market presence and ability to serve enterprise customers in Brazil and throughout Latin America. GMK serves roughly 100 customers, and has a strong market presence in the financial services and outsourcing sectors, which includes the country's 17 of the 20 largest banks. All GMK customers will continue to be supported on their current platforms, according to Alcatel.
"The acquisition brings GMK and its people to the next level and will enable us to deliver our customers not only new voice self-service, but also the entire range of Genesys' contact center solutions," Edelcio Fazzio, president of GMK, said during a press conference today. "[It] marks a significant step in growing our enterprise business in Brazil, and we look forward to leveraging the strengths of GMK to further build upon Alcatel's success across the Latin America region," added Wes Hayden, president and CEO of Genesys.
Unlike most acquisitions, GMK approached Alcatel about being acquired, admitting its own weakening product line yet fearing abandoning its strong customer base. Accordingly, GMK's owners decided to allow a strong technology vendor to buy the company, instead of creating the next generation of self-service technology themselves. Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, says the migration of both product lines will be a smooth, given the fact the two companies have had a strong working relationship for the past three years. "[Genesys] bought a base of customers that can migrate easily. [Those customers] have a good product and were ready to go to the next generation, but their vendor doesn't have one," she says. "Genesys's voice platform, their big self-service offering, is already capable of supporting GMK hardware, which makes the migration story a sweet one."
McGee-Smith considers the move a recognition by Genesys of the importance of penetrating the Brazilian market, but for now, she sees the move as strictly a Brazilian play, as opposed to entering the company into the entire South American market. McGee-Smith cites the development of trade agreements and language barriers as significant barricades. "This is not a technology play, it's a market and customer play for Alcatel," she says. "Brazilians speak Portuguese, but nobody else in South America does. Plus, many countries are still developing trade agreements, the type of trade agreements that would help foster the call center market. For now, this gives Genesys a presence in South America and a jumping off point for the rest of the region."
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