• April 18, 2014
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Interactive Intelligence to Acquire OrgSpan

Interactive Intelligence Group, a provider of customer experience software and services, today announced plans to acquire OrgSpan, a privately held company that offers cloud-based enterprise social communications solutions.

Financial terms of the deal are being withheld until the companies close the transaction, which is expected to occur within 30 days.

OrgSpan, which is based in Durham, N.C., offers OrgSpan Select, which enables customers to search and view agent social profiles by multiple criteria, and OrgSpan Connect, a unified company directory that includes information-rich personal profiles designed to improve employee collaboration.

Both OrgSpan Connect and OrgSpan Select are fairly new products: the former was launched a year ago and the latter was just launched in the fall, but Joe Staples, chief marketing officer at Interactive Intelligence, is excited about what they bring to his company.

"There is a shift in the way that agents and customers are matched," he says. "The traditional way of routing and queuing interactions—and we've been doing it the same way for the past 20 years—is that you call in and you get the first agent available. That is not the best way to look after customers today.

"The ability for customers to select the agent they want to speak with creates a situation where the customer has so much more control, and that is a critical component of where things are going," Staples adds.

Interactive Intelligence plans to continue to sell and support OrgSpan Select and OrgSpan Connect, both as stand-alone products and as add-on applications to its cloud and on-premises IP business communications solutions, including its Customer Interaction Center (CIC). Interactive Intelligence will also incorporate these products into its future cloud offerings.

"We will make the OrgSpan products available as add-ons for existing customers and use them to open new doors with prospects and potential customers," Staples says.

OrgSpan customers will continue to use the same sales, support and service channels until further notice.

"We want our customers to know that they will continue to get the same high-quality service and support they've come to expect," said Jeff Swartz, co-founder and president of OrgSpan, in a statement. "In fact, we anticipate even greater responsiveness with the additional resources this acquisition provides. Plus, our customers will get easier access to Interactive's broad range of contact center, unified communications, and business process automation solutions."

The acquisition also is expected to streamline Interactive Intelligence's development efforts, according to Staples.

"As cloud offerings continue to evolve, OrgSpan has some really good developers of the technology," he says. "They've built a really good development team that was attractive to us."

OrgSpan also had a number of patent filings that were attractive to Interactive Intelligence, Staples says. "We're really excited about the applications and technologies OrgSpan has developed," he adds.

OrgSpan, which was founded in 2011, has quite a lot of history with Interactive Intelligence. Swartz was a former developer at Interactive Intelligence, and Donald Brown, Interactive Intelligence's founder and CEO, is a majority stakeholder in OrgSpan.

Further highlighting their previous relationship, Interactive Intelligence has been offering private-labeled versions of OrgSpan Select since October. At the same time, Interactive Intelligence began offering OrgSpan Connect CIC, a unified company directory of OrgSpan Connect users and users of Interactive Intelligence's CIC suite. OrgSpan Connect CIC is embedded into Interactive Intelligence's CIC desktop client.

Sheila McGee-Smith, president of McGee-Smith Analytics, wasn't really surprised by the announcement.

"On the one hand...that Interactive Intelligence is making an investment in enterprise social software is big news," she says. "On the other hand, it is not news. Interactive Intelligence has been working closely with OrgSpan since its inception."

"What will be bigger news is when OrgSpan becomes part of the CIC suite as another option for CIC customers and is delivered from Interactive Intelligence's data centers," she says.

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